By Tim Lima
---- — NORTH ANDOVER – Now that the Merrimack College football season is over, senior quarterback and Newburyport native Joe Clancy can now reflect on the past and reap the benefits of what was a stellar collegiate career.
Standing out from those benefits is a regional nomination for the prestigious Harlon Hill Award, which is the Division 2 equivalent of the Heisman Trophy. After only two full seasons as Merrimack’s starting quarterback, Clancy rose to the top in nearly every statistical category, finishing amongst the best in school and Northeast-10 Conference history.
On Saturday, in a game where he capped his career by leading a 21-point comeback to beat Southern Connecticut State University, Clancy became the league’s leading passer with over 4,116 yards and set a conference record for completions in a single season (396). Clancy finished the season with 48 touchdowns through 11 games and a completion percentage of 63.9.
With that impressive of a season, Clancy is likely the only person surprised by his national nomination.
“I never thought this was a possibility,” Clancy said. “It’s a goal that every Division 2 college football player has. It is a very prestigious award. Many great players have won this award, and I am very lucky and blessed to have even been nominated.”
Clancy now plays the waiting game to see if he will be included in a list of eight national finalists for the award. He is currently one of seven regional finalists, and hopes to be one of the top two in his region to move on to the national ballot.
“I played alongside great coaches and players,” he said. “We had the best offensive line in the conference in my opinion. I also owe a lot to (Merrimack head coach Dan Curran). He always pushed me to be better.”
Though ending the season on a high note with a record-setting win, Clancy still found it difficult to conclude his Merrimack career.
“It was very tough,” he said. “I am going to miss playing college football. It was a great experience for me, and I am just happy that our team played well enough to win.”
Though having earned a degree in finance from Merrimack, Clancy hopes he will not be using it.
“I would love to pursue any opportunity to keep playing football,” he said. “It’s a goal of mine. If not, I’ll hang up the cleats and put the finance degree to work.”