Winston-Salem St. tops New Haven
Defense holds NHU to season-low seven points and 330 yards
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- New Haven fell to Winston-Salem State 27-7 Saturday afternoon in the NCAA Division II Football Championship quarterfinals. With the loss, the Chargers concluded their season with an 11-2 overall record while the Rams improved to 13-0 overall and advanced to the semifinals.
The Chargers' offense struggled to get started all day. Quarterback Ryan Osiecki led the squad with 209 yards on 16 of 32 passing with one touchdown and two interceptions. Running back Mike DeCaro added 74 yards on 15 carries, while Anthony Tillman added 40 yards on six carries.
The Chargers won the opening toss and took the ball right out of the gate. After one first down conversion, the Chargers were forced to punt and the Rams took over at their own 31-yard line. WSSU then took the ball 69-yards and capped a nine-play drive with a 48-yard touchdown pass and 6-0 lead after the failed extra point.
New Haven immediately answered with its own 58-yard touchdown drive. The six-play drive was highlighted by a 36-yard touchdown pass and catch from Osiecki to Demetrius Washington-Ellison. Chris Scifo connected on the extra point and the Chargers took a 7-6 lead with 6:35 left in the first quarter.
Each team struggled offensively in the next two series. The UNH defense stopped the Rams’ offense on back-to-back series, but a mishandled punt reception was recovered by Winston-Salem on the Chargers’ own 21-yard line.
On the first play of the second quarter, Nicholas Cooper's hard-faught 12-yard touchdown run put WSSU up 13-7 with 14:49 left in the first half. On the next five series, neither team could mount a sustained drive.
It was similar action through the third quarter as neither team could score despite long drives. Four plays into the fourth quarter and the Rams expanded their lead with a 33-yard touchdown pass at the 14:20 mark. Consecutive UNH drives came up short before the Rams intercepted an Osiecki pass at their own one-yard line. With just over 3:30 left, the Rams went 99 yards on eight plays, including a long 72-yard run by Cooped, and punched in the final score with just 39 seconds remaining in the fourth.
The UNH offense struggled most of the day to find its rythem as the Chargers amassed a season-low seven points and 330 yards.