By Matt Noonan
NORTH ANDOVER, MA – Merrimack College’s varsity football team made history on Saturday evening, as they not only defeated the WPI Engineers (Worcester Polytechnic Institute) 60-3, but also, recorded the most points scored in a regular season game in school history.
“The kids came out and executed tonight, [which was] the big key,” Merrimack’s head coach John Perry said after his team’s first win of the season.
“I think we executed on some things [and] obviously, we’ve got to work on some things. We had a couple turnovers that we shouldn’t have had, but for the most part we were very pleased with the way the kids effort was and we got a lot of kids [that played], so we’ve got good film to watch on some young kids as well.”
Warriors senior quarterback James Suozzo tossed four touchdown passes in the fist half, as well as sprinted for one in the second half, while junior receivers Shane Ferguson and Isaiah Voegeli each registered two receptions in the end zone. Also, junior running back Jimon Hill tallied 89 yards on 13 carries and managed to score his first touchdown of the season in the third quarter on a one yard draw play.
“We’ve been preparing very hard [the past few weeks]. We had a great camp and it [happened] to be the most successful camp we’ve had in a long time. Coach Perry and some of the players came out here putting some of our best efforts on the field and it showed tonight,” Suozzo said.
“[It was] very important [to win our first game],” Voegeli said. “Going back to last year when we started the year off with a loss, it kind of set us back a little bit, but now, starting with the win, we have our front foot forward and we got our confidence and we’re ready to roll.”
WPI’s offense struggled to move the ball, yet, somehow managed to muster a field goal in the second quarter thanks to senior place kicker, Cody Beckel.
“WPI is a very good team who presents some problems, but I think our kids just really responded, so I was glad that we played as hard as we did and every week, we just concentrated on winning that week and that’s what the kids did tonight and we were able to do that,” Perry said.
Besides earning their first victory of the season, the Warriors improved to [10-6] all-time in season openers, as well as [2-2] under Perry. They also extended their scoring streak to 105 consecutive games, which happens to be the 20th-longest active winning streak.
The Warriors will travel to Pennsylvania next Saturday to take on the Fighting Scots of Edinboro University, which promises to be a challenging contest.
“[Next week] I think we’ve just got to hold onto the ball. We can’t turn the ball over that’s something we’ve talked about. That’s plagued us in the past, so we’ve got to make sure we don’t turn the ball over and if we do that and execute the way we did on the other stuff, I think we could be a tremendous team,” Perry said.
“You have a win under your belt, it brings a lot more competitive edge to the guys and it makes them want to go out and keep that winning record, week in and week out. [I’m] not saying, we want to win every week, but winning and keeping a winning record is something big and we just hope we can do it,” Suozzo said.