Hawks fall short on Family Weekend: 31-28 loss to Merrimack

Michael Coughlin, Crier staff

The Saint Anselm Hawks fell to 1-5 on the season after a close 31-28 bout on Saturday of Family Weekend at home against Merrimack.                                                                                      

The Hawks started off hot on defense as they forced a quick three and out, which would allow the Hawks’ offense to take advantage and lead to a four-play 47-yard touchdown drive.

Senior quarterback Eric Fairweather capped off the drive with a two-yard touchdown run to take a 7-0 lead. After Merrimack received the ensuing kickoff they once again were met by a stalemate from the Hawks defense leading to another three and out. However, this time the Hawks offense could not capitalize on their defense’s stellar play, turning the ball over on downs, as Merrimack would find their footing on offense and go on to tie the game 7-7.              

The Hawks then responded to this score from Merrimack a few drives later with an efficient seven play 77-yard touchdown drive to put themselves in the driver’s seat up 14-7 entering the second quarter. The lead did not last long as Merrimack responded with a 7 play drive of their own for 74 yards and a touchdown to tie the game early in the second quarter. After both teams mounted drives again at half, the game would be tied 21-21.

After halftime, the game was mostly Merrimack as they put up ten unanswered points in the third quarter. The Hawks could not mount much on offense until a late score in the fourth quarter cut the deficit to one possession. The Hawks ran out of time, however, and were handed their fifth loss of the season.

In a tough loss, there were good aspects to look at in this game as Seniors Eric Fairweather and Kyle Hill both hit career milestones during the game. Fairweather scored his 20th career rushing touchdown and Hill caught his 20th career touchdown pass for the Hawks. Hill is only the second player in Saint Anselm history to reach 20 career touchdown receptions.

Along with a milestone Fairweather had a great performance under center as the senior quarterback threw for three touchdowns with 359 yards and also accumulated 80 yards on the ground with a touchdown.

The Hawks now look on to their next opponent Bentley to get their second win of the season. Bentley enters the bout 2-5 and this will be a good opportunity for the Hawks to pick up a win if they can play efficient, mistake-free football October 27 at home.