Merrimack footbaoon stifles LIU Post to finish year 6-5

Former Central Catholic standout Mike Mercuri led the Warriors with 11 solo tackles Saturday in Merrimack College’s 24-10 win over LIU Post. Merrimack College photo

Redshirt-junior Michael Mercuri and redshirt-senior Marquis Spence of the Merrimack College football program earned postseason recognition on Monday as the duo were named to the 2019 New England Football Writers College Division I All-New England Team.

Mercuri was one of the best overall defensive players in the NEC in 2019. The starting middle linebacker was a two-time NEC Prime Performer selection, and finished the year with a conference-high 62 solo tackles. He finished the year with 92 total stops, which led Merrimack and also was a career high. He posted the 10th season of least 90 tackles in program history, and finished third all-time in solo stops.

Mercuri ranked sixth in the league with nearly eight tackles per game, adding five contests with double-digit tackles. The Lowell native was one of six players across the NEC with at least 90 tackles on the year. He also registered three sacks, 6.5 tackles-for-loss, one forced fumble and one interception that he returned for his first-ever score at Central Connecticut.

Spence was one of three wide receivers named to the exclusive team encompassing every Division I football program in New England while Mercuri was one of five linebackers honored by the organization. Merrimack joined institutions such as Dartmouth, Boston College, Central Connecticut, Harvard, Maine, Sacred Heart, Yale, Rhode Island and Holy Cross as programs with multiple All-New England selections. Thirty-three players in total were recognized.

A four-time Northeast Conference (NEC) Prime Performer including a NEC Offensive Player of the Week honoree following his 16-catch effort at Lehigh, Spence enjoyed a career season with career highs in receptions (73), yards (760) and touchdowns (9). Nationally, he finished tied for sixth in receptions per game while ranking second in the NEC (7.3/game). In program history, Spence

He added a league-leading 13.60 yards per punt return in addition to ranking in the top five in receiving yards per game and total yards. He caught at least six passes in seven of 10 games, posted 60 yards or more in seven contests, and added a pair of 100-yard games. Spence posted a career-best three receiving touchdowns at Central Connecticut, and his effort at Lehigh gave him the third most catches in a game at the FCS level in 2019.

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