DII games to watch: New Haven riding a 4-game win streak
After New Haven picked up a 45-14 victory at Merrimack last week for its fourth straight victory, the Chargers didn’t sit around most of Sunday watching NFL games. Instead, they watched film and began early preparation for their next game at Stonehill.
Actually, this is common for most college football teams. But since the first couple of weeks, the Chargers take these early film sessions on Sunday very seriously.
“We are together,” New Haven senior quarterback Ajee Patterson said. “We really came together after those two losses. We had to figure out our identity as a team. I feel like we did that. We come in on Sundays to watch and break down film. We are doing our job right now. We are starting games fast and playing as a unit. If we keep doing that, I think we are unstoppable.”
Patterson knows the Chargers, 4-2 overall and 4-1 in the Northeast-10 Conference, will need to be focused throughout when they play Stonehill (2-4 overall, 2-3 in conference). Kickoff is 6 p.m. (ET) Saturday and the game will be televised on ESPN3.
“We are going to be in a dogfight,” Patterson said. “It is not going to be easy to get a win.”
The Chargers understand the consequences when they don’t have their full attention for an entire game. They opened the season with road losses at Slippery Rock, currently ranked No. 16 in the AFCA Top 25 and a loss at LIU-Post, ranked No. 14.
MORE: AFCA Coaches Top 25
“The first one against Slippery Rock, we had a two touchdown lead in the fourth quarter,” said New Haven coach Chris Pincince. “Hopefully, we learned from that. We have to play all the way through to the end. The following week, we suffered a little bit of a hangover from two long trips. We didn’t come out ready to play at the beginning of the football game.
“Hopefully, what we have taken out of those games is to start a little faster and finish the whole game," Pincince said.
Patterson, who is in his second season starting under center for New Haven, is one of the reasons the Chargers have won their last four games. In six games, he has thrown for 1,570 yards, 14 touchdowns and only one interception.
“The offensive line gives me a lot of time,” Patterson said. “We barely give up sacks. We have great receivers. They always run where I need them to be at a certain time. I give most of the credit to my O-line. They give me a lot of time back there so I can go through my reads and my progressions. If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be able to protect the ball like I should.”
The Chargers are also playing well on defense. They have not given up more than 21 points in the four victories.
Pincince points to senior inside linebacker Tyler Condit, a two-time All-American, as one of the leaders on defense. He ranks third in conference history in tackles and is just 20 tackles shy of breaking the record at New Haven in tackles in a career.
“In my years here, he has been one of the real rocks we can count on at the inside linebacker position, said Pincince of the two-time team captain.
In the secondary, junior Nigel Davis helps the Chargers with his versatility.
“He does just about everything for us,” Pincince said. “He plays some corner, some safety and outside linebacker at times. He is multi-talented player for us in the secondary."
“Upfront, we have eight or nine guys play on the defensive line," he added. "They have all contributed in various different ways. We have been without our best defensive lineman, Dean Tsopanides. He played against Slippery Rock. He got hurt at the beginning of game two. Some of the other guys have really stepped up, especially a couple of freshmen.”
Patterson has enjoyed his four seasons at New Haven, but he said the team this year is taking it game by game, adding that he is trying to savor these moments.
“The students really support us,” said Patterson, who is a criminal justice major. “I have been able to bond with a lot students who are not athletes. It is great to be a Charger. After I graduate, I want to be a police officer when in my hometown in New Jersey just to help make my community better."
|2016 Statistics||New Haven||Stonehill|
Running Back Robert Healy Helping East Stroudsburg to a Winning Season
When senior running back Robert Healy steps onto the field at Eiler-Martin Stadium 7 p.m. (ET) Saturday for his final Homecoming game, he has a pretty good idea of the type of atmosphere he will encounter.
“It is awesome,” said Healy of the game that will be broadcast on American Sports Network. “We get a good crowd all the time. It is a good week leading up to it with a bunch of events. It is exciting. It is nice to be televised, but nothing special to us. We will just go out and play the way we play every game.”
East Stroudsburg has won its last two games and is 4-2 overall (2-1 in the East Division of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference). Kutztown University is 3-3 overall (3-0 in conference) and in the first place in the East.
“No week is an easy week,” Healy said. “That is what is awesome. You have to come in and work hard, especially in the PSAC East. There is no easy competition.”
Healy, though, has managed to navigate through the rough waters of competition quite smoothly. Last week in East Stroudsburg’s 38-23 victory at Millersville, Healy rushed for 163 yards and three touchdowns. It was the 15th time Healy has rushed for 100 yards or more in a game, a new school record.
“It is awesome to get records, but all I care about are the victories,” Healy said. “So far the offensive line is playing great, unbelievable even when they stack the box. It is just amazing the numbers we are putting up so far with the O-line playing the way they are."
"Our defense is playing great," he added. "Our offense is playing great and our special teams are playing great. It is an all-around team effort.”
|2016 Statistics||Kutztown||East Stroudsburg|
Another Important PSAC Game
The West Division PSAC also has a must-see game when No. 16 Slippery Rock, (5-1, 2-1), plays at No. 13 Indiana (Pa.) (4-1, 2-1) at 2 p.m. (ET). Slippery Rock and Indiana (Pa.) are in a three-way tie for second with Edinboro, one game behind No. 7 California (Pa.).
It is the only game in Division II this week that pits two ranked teams against each other.
Last week Indiana (Pa.) suffered its first loss of the season at California (Pa.), which is undefeated through five games. California (Pa.) also beat Slippery Rock two weeks ago. It is Homecoming for IUP. In their last 12 Homecoming games, the Crimson Hawks are 10-2.