Football's Late-Game Surge Falls Short Against USMMA

Football's Late-Game Surge Falls Short Against USMMA

KINGS POINT, N.Y. – Maine Maritime Academy football fell to the United States Merchant Marine Academy, 35-14 on Saturday afternoon, in the NEWMAC opener for both teams at Brooks Stadium.

With the loss Maine Maritime falls to 0-3 and 0-1 in the NEWMAC, while USMMA improves to 3-0 overall and 1-0 in the conference. Maine Maritime returns to action next Saturday, September 29 when they host WPI at 12:00 pm as part of homecoming weekend. 

Both teams struggled to find the end zone in the first quarter, but USMMA put together an 11-play 81 yard scoring drive, capped off by a Tyler Reihs eight-yard touchdown carry and an extra point from Gavin Gartner to take a 7-0 lead. Merchant Marine took a 14-0 advantage into halftime, and made it 21-0 when quarterback Krystian Abbott connected with Luke Jamison for a 17-yard touchdown catch in the third quarter. 

After the MMA defense held USMMA to a turnover on downs, deep in their own zone, Bailey Sawyer (Westbrook, Maine) connected with Dominic Casale (Freeport, Maine) for an 11-yard touchdown catch and Maxwell Horton (Eliot, Maine) added the extra point.

Both teams exchanged three-and-outs and then the MMA defense came up big again this time Spencer Baron (Mariaville, Maine) forced a fumble and John Bennett (Chelsea, Maine) recovered on the MMA 40-yard line, setting up an 8-play, 60-yard scoring drive capped off by another touchdown toss from Sawyer to Casale, this time for 27 yards.

Despite Maine Maritime fighting from behind and scoring 14-unanswered points to close the gap to 21-14 with 12:18 to play, USMMA closed the door on the MMA comeback and scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to claim the 35-14 victory.

Sawyer finished the afternoon with 176 yards on 15 completions and two touchdowns, while Casale concluded the game with 111 yards on seven catches and two touchdowns. 

Defensively, Terrell Thomas (Auburn, Maine) led Maine Maritime with 16 tackles, including 10 solo stops, and John Bennett added 11 tackles, including a half sack, 1.5 tackles for a loss and a fumble recovery. 

Abbott led USMMA with 90 passing yards on six completions and two touchdowns, while Jamison accounted for both of those touchdown grabs and added 52 yards on two catches. Wiley Martin led the USMMA rushing attack with 84 yards on 24 carries.

Defensively, Trever Husson, Eric Davidson and Jake Wallace led USMMA's squad with five tackles.