BUZZARDS BAY, Mass. – Maine Maritime Academy football fell to Massachusetts Maritime 22-7, on Saturday afternoon in the 46th Annual Admiral's Cup game at Clean Harbors Stadium.
The Mariners entered the fourth quarter down by just eight points, but Massachusetts Maritime capitalized on a Maine Maritime safety and orchestrated a late-game touchdown drive to maintain ownership of the Admiral's Cup for one more season.
Maine Maritime falls to 0-2 overall while Massachusetts Maritime improves to 1-1. The Mariners will return to action next Saturday, September 22 at the Merchant Marine Academy as they open up NEWMAC play.
Maine Maritime used a 48-yard reception by Dominic Casale (Freeport, Maine) from Bailey Sawyer (Westbrook, Maine) to quickly work their way down the field on their opening possession, but a fumble on the next play stalled the Mariners' offense and the two teams exchanged three-and-outs over the next four drives.
The Buccaneers used a 9-play, 63-yard scoring drive to jump out to a 7-0 lead to start the second quarter, following a Matt Long six-yard touchdown carry and a good extra point by George Lampros, and added a 25-yard field goal from Lampros late in the half to take a 10-0 lead into halftime.
In the third quarter, Connor Finerty returned a Mariner punt 66 yards, setting up the hosts on the Maine Maritime 14 yard line, but the Mariner defense held the Buccaneers to just a field goal, to make it 13-0 with 6:31 to go in the third.
Maine Maritime took just 1:41 to march down the field and score a touchdown, fueled by a 44-yard catch by Joel Bennett (Chelsea, Maine). Sawyer connected with Casale for a 10-yard touchdown grab and Maxwell Horton (Eliot, Maine) added the extra point to make it 13-7.
The Maine Maritime defense forced a Buccaneer three-and-out on the next drive, but the Mariners' momentum fell short on their offensive drive and Mass. Maritime sacked Sawyer in the end zone for the safety to make it 15-7 with 14:04 to play in the game.
Lampros missed a 32-yard field goal on the next Bucs drive, giving the Mariners another chance with nine minutes remaining. Sawyer found Casale for 15 yards, but Connor Hollister picked off Sawyer on the next play and gave the Buccaneers the ball back in Mariner territory.
The Buccaneers put together a 5-play, 41-yard scoring drive, capped off by a 21-yard touchdown reception by Coleson Hammond to build to their lead and the Mariners could not battle back.
Sawyer finished the afternoon with 188 yards on 12 completions and a touchdown, while Casale accounted for 112 of those yards with seven catches and the touchdown.
Defensively, Derek Breunig (Westbook, Maine) led the Mariners with 14 tackles, including seven solo stops and three tackles for a loss of five yards and Justin Pinard (New Boston, N.H.) tallied 11 tackles, seven solo, one for a loss of one yards and a broken up pass.
Ty Ebdon conducted the Buccaneer offense with 163 yards on 14 completions and a touchdown, while Paul Sances totaled 96 receiving yards on eight catches and Long led the running attack with 63 yards on 19 carries and a touchdown.
Colin McCabe led Mass. Maritime's defense with eight tackles, including four sacks for a total of 25 yards and Hunter Leveille tallied seven tackles (six solo), one tackle for a loss and an interception.