Football Finishes Strong at Merrimack, 17-14

Senior Corey White caught a career-high matching five passes for a career-best 111 yards and a touchdown. (PHOTO BY Andrew Katsampes)

Grzywacz caps record-breaking career with game winning 25-yard field goal

NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. (November 14, 2015) – Senior kicker Steve Grzywacz (Manchester, New Hampshire/Manchester Central) drilled a 25-yard field goal as time expired to lift Stonehill College to a 17-14 triumph over Merrimack College in their Northeast-10 Conference Championship Weekend football matchup at Martone-Mejail Field this afternoon.

Grzywacz, Stonehill's all-time leading scorer who finishes his career with a record 212 points, capped the Skyhawks second fourth quarter comeback win over Merrimack this season with his gamewinning field goal. Grzywacz also leaves Stonehill holding the program's career records for field goals (33) and PATs made (113), converting both attempts this afternoon.

Stonehill's defense keyed the win by limiting Merrimack to 214 yards, while the Skyhawks finished with 194 yards, forcing four turnovers and posting three sacks. Junior Ryan Doherty (Methuen, Massachusetts/Central Catholic) paced the defense with eight tackles (three solo), an interception that he returned 28 yards to set up the Skyhawks tying touchdown in the fourth quarter, with a quarterback hurry. Senior Peter Catal (Cornwall, New York/Cornwall) added six stops (five solo), including 1.0 for a loss of four yards, while junior Vincent Burton (Randolph, Massachusetts/Blue Hills Regional) chipped in with three tackles, including 1.5 sacks for a loss of five and a QB hurry.

Senior Steve Grzywacz delivered the game winning 25-yard field goal as time expired. (PHOTO BY Andrew Katsampes)

Senior wide receiver Corey White (Bergenfield, New Jersey/Bergenfield) shined in his final game for Stonehill with a career-high matching five receptions for a career-best 111 yards, including a 64-yard touchdown catch and run. Sophomore quarterback Matt Foltz (Mount Joy, Pennsylvania/The Hill School) completed 12-of-31 passes for 166 yards and two touchdowns, finishing one shy of the program's single-season record with 25 touchdown passes this season.

Senior Colin Markus (Monroe, Connecticut/Masuk) rushed the ball 20 times for 51 yards, while classmate Cody Page (Sylmar, California/Notre Dame) chipped in with a touchdown reception.

Senior Jere Brown (Freeport, New York/Freeport) led Merrimack with 163 all-purpose yards, including 103 yards on six receptions with a touchdown and another 60 yards on four punt returns. Junior quarterback Nick Davis (Oxnard, California/Pacifica) completed 15-of-36 passes for 164 yards and a touchdown with two interceptions, while freshman Juwan Hall (Waterbury, Connecticut/Holy Cross) chipped in with 32 yards on six carries, including a 23-yard touchdown run.

Senior linebacker Jon Hooper (Pembroke, Massachusetts/Pembroke) led the Merrimack defense with a game-high ten tackles (seven solo), including 2.5 for a loss of five yards and a pass breakup. Junior defensive lineman Josh Hill (Glastonbury, Connecticut/Glastonbury) added seven stops (three solo), including 2.0 for a loss of 19 yards, with 1.5 sacks for a loss of 16, a forced fumble and quarterback hurry. Junior Kristian Jackson (Shrewsbury, Massachusetts/Shrewsbury) contributed six tackles, including 2.0 sacks for a loss of 15, while classmate Devonte Jones (Baltimore, Maryland/Mount Saint Joseph) chipped in with an interception, two pass breakups and six stops.

After a scoreless first half in which the teams combined for just 103 total yards, including 32 by Stonehill, the Skyhawks broke through on the opening drive of the second half. Foltz connected with White for a short pass on third and nine from the Stonehill 36 and then White did the rest, racing 64 yards for his fourth touchdown of the season (10th career) 2:40 into the third quarter.

Junior linebacker Ryan Doherty led a strong defensive effort with eight tackles and a key interception that set up a game-tying touchdown in the fourth. (PHOTO BY Lewis Glass/SportsPix)

Merrimack answered with 2:36 left in the third as Davis completed a one yard touchdown toss to Brown to cap a 13 play, 84-yard scoring drive. The Warriors converted three times on third down during the possession, including the touchdown play. Davis and Brown also connected on a 37-yard passing play on third and seven at the Merrimack 49 to set up the touchdown.

Merrimack took the lead seven seconds into the fourth quarter two plays after Brown fielded a Stonehill punt near midfield and returned it to the Skyhawks 27. Hall rushed the ball once on each side of the change of quarter, the second a 23-yard touchdown run up the middle.

Stonehill drove to the Merrimack 28 on its next possession, but a Hill sack for a loss of 11 and a false start penalty back the Skyhawks up to the 44 on third down. After an incompletion, Merrimack got the ball back at its 35 following a nine yard punt out of bounds. Stonehill got the ball back in excellent field position three plays later when Doherty picked off Davis at the Warriors 42 and returned it 28 yards to the 14. The Skyhawks leveled the score three plays after that as Foltz hit Page for a 13-yard touchdown with 7:26 left.

Merrimack was forced to punt on its next possession and Stonehill marched to the Warriors 22 before a sack took the Skyhawks out of field position. Stonehill chose to pooch punt on fourth and 19 from the Merrimack 31 with 1:26 left, but Foltz attempt rolled into the end zone for a touchback. The Warriors were unable to move the ball and thus run out the clock for overtime and then on fourth and ten at the 20 the Merrimack punt was blocked to give Stonehill the final chance with 58-seconds to go.

Merrimack was hit with a pass interference on third and ten to give Stonehill a first down and then Foltz found White for 12 yards to the Merrimack six on first down. The Skyhawks spiked the ball and then Markus gained four to the two before Foltz was sacked for a loss of six to the Warriors eight. Stonehill took a timeout with two seconds left before sending Gryzwacz onto the field for the game winning 25 yard field goal.

Stonehill caps its season with a 7-4 record overall, marking its second winning season over the last three years, going 5-4 in the Northeast-10. Merrimack finishes at 6-5 overall, including 6-3 in the NE-10.

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