New Haven Edges Football, 23-22

Bona led a solid defensive effort from the Skyhawks with six tackles, including the 200th of his career. (PHOTO BY Jan Volk/SportsPix)

Chargers answer late Skyhawks touchdown with one of their own with 1:47 remaining

WEST HAVEN, Conn. (October 14, 2017) – Sophomore Damon Rodgers (Charlotte, North Carolina/Cheshire Academy) scored the deciding touchdown off a 48-yard pass from senior Ajee Patterson (Neptune, New Jersey/Neptune) with 1:47 remaining to lift the University of New Haven to a 23-22 victory over Stonehill College in Northeast-10 Conference football action at DellaCamera Stadium today.

New Haven's touchdown answered a Stonehill touchdown from a yard out by sophomore Brian Kearns, Jr. (North Arlington, New Jersey/Saint Joseph Regional) a minute earlier that put the Skyhawks in front. It marks the fifth time over the last six encounters between these two teams that the game has been decided by less than a touchdown and the sixth time in the series all-time history the matchup has been decided on a team's last possession.

Patterson finished with 295 total yards, completing 19-of-27 passes for 280 yards and a touchdown, while Rodgers caught five of those passes for 99 yards and the deciding touchdown. Sophomore Ryan McCarthy (Montclair, New Jersey/Bergen Catholic) rushed the ball 17 times for 103 yards and a touchdown, while postgrad Greg Orekoya (Billerica, Massachusetts/Billerica) chipped in with three carries for 41 yards and a score.

Junior Jordan Francklin (Queens, New York/Holy Cross) led the New Haven defense with a game-high 17 tackles (eight solo), including 1.0 tackle for a loss of a yard, while freshman Javeon Ensley (Plainfield, New Jersey/Hudson Catholic) added 11 stops (eight solo), including 1.0 for a loss of three, and an interception. Senior Nigel Davis (Williamsville, New York/Saint Joseph's Collegiate Institute) contributed four tackles (two solo), four pass breakups and an interception with 26-seconds remaining to seal the win.

Senior quarterback Matt Foltz (Mount Joy, Pennsylvania/The Hill School) completed 31-of-54 passes for 222 yards and a touchdown. Kearns, Jr. finished the day with 75 yards on 12 rushing attempts, with the score, while senior Malachi Baugh (Stoughton, Massachusetts/Stoughton) added six carries for 49 yards and a touchdown. Junior Justin Lamb (Plymouth, Massachusetts/Plymouth North) caught five passes for 53 yards and a score.

Foltz's 31 completions are the third-highest single-game total in program history behind his own school-record mark of 37 against New Haven last season, giving him 573 in 30 career games to break the program's career record of 545 by Logan Meyer '14. Foltz's 54 pass attempts are a career-high and the second-highest single-game total in program history behind Meyer's 63 against Southern Connecticut State University in 2012.

Foltz completed 31 of a career-high 54 passes, breaking the program's career completions mark. (PHOTO BY Andrew Katsampes)

Senior safety Nick Bona (Peabody, Massachusetts/Bishop Fenwick) posted a team-high six tackles (two solo), including the 200th of his career, with an interception. He is the 19th player in program history to surpass 200 career tackles, finishing the night with 203. Sophomore Miles Strickland (Teaneck, New Jersey/Saint Peter's Prep) added a career-high six stops (two solo), while junior John Ejiofor (Burlington Township, New Jersey/Burlington Township) also totaled six tackles (one solo), including 0.5 for a loss. Sophomore Malik Wiggins (Long Branch, New Jersey/Monmouth Regional) collected an interception for the second straight game, while junior Nicolau Coury (Lowell, Massachusetts/Lowell) recovered a fumble.

Stonehill took the lead on four separate occasions in the contest, as neither team led by more than a touchdown all afternoon. The Skyhawks struck first when Foltz connected with Lamb for a 17-yard touchdown pass with 3:45 remaining in the opening quarter, capping a 15-play, 89-yard drive that consumed nearly six minutes. New Haven answered right back with McCarthy ripping off a 69-yard touchdown run two minutes later on the fourth play of the Chargers' ensuing drive.

Stonehill took the lead again five minutes into the second quarter on a 22-yard field goal by sophomore Matthew Haite (Kingston, Massachusetts/Silver Lake Regional), capping another 15-play drive, which yielded 76 yards and ate 6:33 off the clock. New Haven again answered just four plays later with a 39-yard touchdown run by Orekoya to take a 14-10 lead with 7:55 to play in the half. The Skyhawks held a halftime lead (16-14) with Baugh's 17-yard touchdown run with 3:27 remaining after Coury's fumble recovery on the New Haven 41-yard line.

After a scoreless third quarter, New Haven regained the lead 12-seconds into the fourth, with a 26-yard field goal from senior Danny Stock (North Massapequa, New York/Plainedge) at the end of the Chargers longest scoring drive of the afternoon at ten plays and 86-yards over 5:03. Stonehill grabbed what looked like a clutch late lead with 2:49 remaining on Kearns, Jr's one-yard plunge, but the Chargers replied only a minute later with the Rodgers touchdown.

Stonehill still had plenty of time, needing just a field goal in 107-seconds to claim a second-straight win over New Haven, but Davis intercepted Foltz on second and 15 at midfield on the Chargers 27-yard line to seal the win.

Stonehill (3-3, 2-3 NE10) is back in action next Saturday, when it returns to W.B. Mason Stadium for the first time in nearly a month to host rival Bentley University as part of Family Weekend at the College at 6 p.m. New Haven (5-1, 4-1 NE10) visits nationally ranked Assumption College in a battle for first place in the NE10 next Saturday at 1 p.m.

For the latest on Stonehill Athletics, follow the Skyhawks via social media on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Fans can also download the Stonehill Skyhawks "Front Row" mobile app, powered by PrestoSports, on iTunes and the Android Market.