Merrimack football routs Central, 55-19

By JASON ORFAO

Staff Writer

MANCHESTER – Justin Weiser has been an explosive weapon throughout the season for the Merrimack football team.

The senior showed off his versatility on Friday night.

Weiser caught two touchdowns, passed for another and ran a kick back for a score to lead the Tomahawks to a 55-19 rout of Manchester Central at Gill Stadium.

Weiser caught five passes for 124 yards – his third 100-yard game in as many tries this season – and hit quarterback Justin Grassini on a 53-yard reverse pass to re-establish a four-touchdown lead for Merrimack (2-1) with 7:33 to go in the third quarter and essentially put away the Little Green (1-2).

Following a 24-20 loss at Bedford in the opener, the Tomahawks have responded with a pair of convincing wins.

"We’re coming out every week and working as hard as we possibly can. All we have on our mind is winning," Weiser said. "We come out every week and we expect to win. I don’t know a guy on this team that comes out with a losing mentality."

Grassini – who found Weiser for a 49-yard TD on Merrimack’s first play from scrimmage – finished 12 of 18 passing for 143 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. Joe Eichman caught six passes for 47 yards and a score, and also rushed for 35 yards on six carries. Tyler DeNeill
intercepted a pass and led the Tomahawks in rushing with 53 yards and a TD on five totes.

"The linemen did great," Grassini said. "It’s where you win games is the line of scrimmage."

Alec Bronchuk threw his second touchdown of the season as Merrimack turned to its bag of tricks again in the third quarter. Grassini tossed it to Bronchuk, who pulled up and delivered a deep ball to Weiser for a 43-yard touchdown to start the running clock with 1:55 left in the third quarter.

"It was a great effort by everyone – offense, defense, special teams – it was a team win," Merrimack defensive coordinator Branden Lilley said. "We’re just trying to take it one game at a time. Each week, we try to get better every day and go from there."

Jeremyiah Rivera led the Little Green with 159 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 23 carries. He scored on an 81-yard jaunt to trim the Merrimack lead to 20-7 with 9:14 left in the second quarter, but Weiser ran back the ensuing kickoff 85 yards to seize back the momentum.

Central sophomore quarterback Alex Hawkom completed 15 of 28 passes for 161 yards and an interception. Josh Thrasher scored on a 7-yard run for the Little Green.

Shane Conquest capped the Merrimack scoring with an 11-yard touchdown run with 2:16 to go.

"Confidence is through the roof," Grassini said. "We’ve had a lot of good practices and we’re just really excited to be playing."