NE10 First Round Playoff Thoughts

November 22nd, 2021 3:00am

NE10 First Round Playoff Thoughts

Rinse and Repeat

For the second time in three weeks, the New Haven Chargers were the dominant team in easily defeating Bentley 38-13.  This time, it is the playoffs, and the loser sees their season come to an end.

There were a lot of similarities from the game on November 6th.  The Chargers won the game in the trenches as they dominated on both sides of the ball and Connor Degenhardt scored three rushing touchdowns.

Bentley came to play as they had a lead early in the second quarter, but it was all New Haven after that.  35 straight points sealed a trip to the second round of the playoffs for the Chargers for the first time since 2018.

They will travel to Kutztown who is the top seed in Super Region One and had a bye weekend. 


Once again, it was the big guys in the trenches for New Haven that set the tone of the game.  The offensive line for the Chargers opened holes and allowed the running backs to grind out yards because of big holes.

New Haven had 168 yards on the ground in the win.  Zach Mauro was the go-to back as he had 119 yards in the game.  He has been the workhorse for the Chargers in the month of November and just makes it look so easy.

The New Haven defensive line was again a difference-maker.  After the Bentley touchdown drive between the first and second quarter, they made some adjustments and just completely shut down the running game of the Falcons. 

Both units feature a lot of players that have a ton of experience and know how to win games.


The New Haven defense looked pedestrian on the second drive of the game for Bentley.  They forced a quick three and out on the Falcons’ first possession but were not their usual self on that second drive.

Bentley reeled off a 19 play, 75-yard scoring drive to give them a 6-3 advantage early in the second quarter.  It looked like the Falcons solved their woes a couple of weeks ago and are ready to pull off the road victory.

After that, the New Haven defense made the necessary adjustments and got back to what they do, stop the opposing offense.  Bentley had 246 yards of total offense in the game.  If you take out their two scoring drives of 75 yards apiece, the New Haven defense allowed a mere 96 yards and was in charge the rest of the game.

Mr. Touchdown

Degenhardt was second in the NE10 this year in rushing touchdowns.  And if he was able to play Bentley every week, he might set some records.  In Week Ten, he had three rushing touchdowns.

Last Saturday, he had another three trips to the end zone and just seems to find holes in the Bentley defense that ends up as touchdowns.  It was a four-minute stretch in the second quarter that completely turned the momentum in favor of New Haven.

The Chargers had great possession just over midfield and marched down the field to grab back the lead.  Degenhardt capped the drive with a one-yard touchdown plunge on fourth down.

The next drive for New Haven saw good field possession again and they ate up the clock at the end of the half.  Degenhardt made a beautiful fake and then scampered 12 yards for the score. 

Those two drives flipped the score from a deficit to an untouchable lead for the Chargers heading into the half and then it was all New Haven the rest of the game.

Tough Ending

Bentley had a solid season but will be glad that they don’t have to travel to New Haven soon.  Two tough games put a negative feel on an otherwise successful season for the Falcons.

They were 9-0 in games not on the blue turf of New Haven in 2021.  Bentley was held in check in their two trips to New Haven while the other nine opponents were not able to control them.

Coach Bill Kavanaugh had done a great job of recruiting players that are able to make big plays and making the program competitive year in and year out.  Despite losing some of the players that carried them in 2021, the Falcons will be back in 2022.  They have a bunch of solid players back and will have some players emerge from the second and third teams.

Second Round

For the fifth time in the past six playoff seasons, the NE10 has a team in the second round of the playoffs.  It is starting to become a trend.

It started back in 2015 when Assumption advanced to the second round with a victory over Bowie State.  2016 saw LIU Post defeat Winston-Salem to move on.  Assumption was back at it in 2017 as they advanced to the second round and then the regional championship.

New Haven was the team in 2018 as they upset West Chester on the road before hosting in the second round.  Overall, this will be the tenth trip to the second round for an NE10 school in its 20-year history.

But the second round has not been kind to the league.  They are 3-6 in the second round of the playoffs.  CW Post in 2005, New Haven in 2011, and Assumption in 2017 are the only teams to win in the second round to get to the regional championship game. 

They have struggled on the road as the 2005 CW Post team is the lone team to win on the road in the second round.  Both New Haven in 2011 and Assumption in 2017 played in front of home crowds to advance to the next round.

This will also be the second time that Kutztown and New Haven have met in the second round of the playoffs.  In 2011, the Golden Bears traveled north and fell 44-37 on the blue turf.