New Hampshire Football Report

Saint Anselm collects second win

MANCHESTER – The Saint Anselm College football team celebrated Senior Day with a victory, as the Hawks picked up their second-straight win following a 28-17 decision over Merrimack on Saturday afternoon at Grappone Stadium in Manchester.

In a pregame ceremony, the Hawks honored the 18 members of their senior class in Joe Hayman, Zach Bartak, Yianni Gavalas, Shaun Callahan, Kyrel Jaundoo,Michael Mello, Ryan Monette, Zach Morgan, Jeremy Betts, Andy Klouda, Josh Garrett, Sean Poole, Ryan Barry, Mitch Martin, Demetri Strange, Eric Wilson, Mike Ryan and Richie Curran for their contributions to Saint Anselm College and its athletic department.

Yianni Gavalas ended the day going 26-for-45 for 271 yards and two touchdowns. Kyle Hill hauled in eight of those passes for 143 yards – his fourth-straight 100+ yard receiving game – and had a touchdown. Zach Bartak had nine catches for 64 yards and a score, while Ryan Monette caught four balls for 48 yards and Connor Schoske had three grabs for 28 yards.

On the ground, Joe Hayman carried the ball 22 times for 102 yards and two scores. He also returned one kick for 20 yards.

Defensively, Eric Wilson recorded eight tackles, including a sack, while Eric Mercer had seven stops. Andrew Vogl had five tackles with Nate Lewis and Eddie Matovu adding four stops apiece, with Matovu recording an interception.

The Hawks accumulated 376 yards of total offense and held the Warriors to 272 yards, including just 119 yards through the air. Saint Anselm converted 44 percent (8-of-18) of its third downs, compared to 14 percent (2-of-14) for the visitors. The Hawks also held the ball for 37:12 and limited Merrimack to 22:48 of possession.

Saint Anselm received the opening kick-off and used a balanced attack of rushing and passing to drive 83 yards leading to a Joe Hayman 6-yard rushing touchdown to put the Hawks on top 7-0.

After the two teams traded possessions, the Hawks drove the ball all the way to the one-yard line at the end of the first quarter. After Hayman was stuffed at the goal line, Gavalas was picked off in the end zone to give the ball back to the Warriors, but Saint Anselm escaped any danger as they forced another Merrimack punt.

With 10:24 to play in the second quarter, Gavalas hooked up with Kyle Hill for a 39-yard completion, and eventually a seven-yard reception by Ryan Monette set the Hawks up at the Merrimack eight-yard line. Hayman used back-to-back rushes, the second a 5-yard touchdown to score, to put the Hawks on top 14-0 with 7:51 to play. The Hawks defense would keep Merrimack out of striking defense to take the two-score lead into the half.

Saint Anselm scored the only touchdown of the third quarter as Gavalas tossed the ball to the back corner for Kyle Hill, who made a juggling catch and hung on to extend the Saint Anselm lead to 21-0.

The Hawks opened the fourth quarter with a lengthy touchdown drive that ended with a 5-yard score for Zach Bartak to put the Hawks on top 28-0 with 11:10 to play in the game.

Matovu got the ball right back for Saint Anselm as he stepped in front of a Brenton Martin pass and took the ball to the Merrimack 35-yard line. The Hawks drive would stall there, however, leading to a punt inside the Warriors’ 20-yard line.

Merrimack finally got on the board when Shamik Perry took a carry down the right side and through a handful of tackles for an 85-yard touchdown run to make it a 28-7 ballgame. The Warriors got a little closer as the snap on the next Saint Anselm possession went through the back of the end zone for a safety, making it a 28-9 game.

Merrimack got the ball back and needed only two plays to pull to within 28-17 as Martin connected with Justin Mount for a 51-yard touchdown strike, and then converted the two-point conversion with a pass to Nashua’s Armond McRae with 1:09 remaining.

The Warriors went for the onside-kick and Kimothy Bynum was able to recover for the Hawks and help Saint Anselm kneel out the clock on their second victory of the season.

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