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September 10, 2013

Merrimack still on a high after stunner over Wagner

But Warriors will be underdogs again this week on road against rival AIC

(Continued)

Merrimack saw a 28-10 lead late in the first half disappear, with Wagner scoring 24 straight points. Merrimack, though, got the lead, 35-34, in the fourth quarter before Wagner got it back, 41-35, with 5:06 remaining in the game.

Merrimack botched the return, starting on its own 4-yard line, needing 96 yards for the win. Merrimack got all of those yards on 15 plays — Clancy was 8 for 9, 77 yards — which included a huge 32-yard run by Armond McRae on 3rd-and-4 on the Warriors’ 10-yard line.

The final play was a 3-yard pass from Clancy to Shane Ferguson with 30 seconds left to tie the score at 41-41. Nick Zwaan, who was 6 for 6 on extra points, added the game-winner.

Merrimack’s defense ended the game with a sack by Josh Hill, forcing a fumble, which was recovered by Billerica’s Justin Hood.

Curran admits, after seeing his team up close and personal the last month or so, he wasn’t shocked by the result.

“We have a passionate group of players,” said Curran. “I’ve been around a lot of teams at all levels and this group has that special quality. Just like the bus ride down there, and all of the problems we had, our attitude is great. Our players focus on what they can control. And that’s doing their job.”

The irony in all of this. As incredible as Merrimack’s accomplishment was last Friday. on Saturday they travel to Springfield, Mass. to play AIC, the preseason favorites to win the Northeast-10 this fall.

“We are going to have to hop on a bus again, as the underdogs, playing another great program,” said Curran. “The win over Wagner was incredible. And there was a ton of excitement on the bus coming home. But we have a tough foe ahead of us. This is a very big game for our program.”

Wagner coach impressed Wagner College coach Walt Hamline said this about Merrimack to the Staten Island Live after the game: "We gave them opportunities to do some good things and they converted. It's a credit to them. They made more plays than we did. (Clancy) had a heckuva day passing the football. We were obviously exposed at some things and it showed."

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