Saturday's Game: Maine Maritime Academy (0-8, 0-6 NEWMAC) at The Catholic University of America (0-9, 0-6 NEWMAC), 12:00 pm, Cardinal Field, Washington, D.C.
Series History: This is the first-ever meeting between Maine Maritime Academy and Catholic.
Last Meeting: Maine Maritime Academy football fell to Catholic 33-14 last season on November 11, in NEWMAC action at Ritchie Field.
The Mariners combined for 359 yards of total offense, including 274 rushing yards.
Senior Corey Creeger led the Mariners with 129 rushing yards on 25 carries and 85 passing yards and two touchdowns. Creeger becomes just the 12th player in Maine Maritime Academy football history to surpass 3,000 yards of total offense in his career.
Senior Jacob Doolan ended the afternoon with 57 receiving yards and a touchdown and also added 39 yards on the ground to surpass 2,500 career-rushing yards. Doolan becomes just the 11th Maine Maritime Academy football player to reach that milestone, and joins senior teammate James Ferrar who achieved that mark earlier this season.
Senior Jordan Susi added 21 receiving yards and a touchdown and ends his career with 1,034 receiving yards to become just the sixth player in Maine Maritime history to surpass 1,000 career-receiving yards.
Defensively, senior Andrew Cavanaugh led the Mariners with 13 tackles, including eight solo stops and a broken up pass, and senior captain Cody O'Brien ended the game with 11 tackles, including a tackle for a loss of a yard.
Maine Maritime jumped out to a 6-0 lead following a nine-play drive that was capped off by a 21-yard touchdown toss from Creeger to senior Susi.
The Mariners forced the Cardinals to punt on their first possession of the game, but the Mariners fumbled on their next drive to give the Cardinals the ball on their own 36-yard line. Catholic capitalized on the Mariners' mistake and put together a 10-play scoring drive capped off by a touchdown pass from Brady Berger to Colin McNulty. Pearce Bartlett added an extra point to give the guests a narrow 7-6 advantage.
The Mariners came up empty in the red zone on their next possession and the Cardinals responded with a 12-play 93-yard scoring drive highlighted by a pass from running back Chance LeGrand to McNulty to make it 14-6, following another Bartlett extra point.
Catholic added a touchdown late in the second half to take a 21-6 lead into halftime and opened up the second half with a 30 yard field goal from Bartlett to make it 24-6.
Maine Maritime turned the ball over on downs on their first possession of the second half and the Cardinals added another field goal, this time from 25 yards to take a 27-6 lead.
Mason Kaserman (Portland, Maine) returned the kickoff 25 yards to give the Mariners the ball at their own 36-yard line, setting up a 45-yard touchdown carry by Doolan. Creeger carried the ball in for the two-point conversion, cutting Catholic's lead to 27-14 with a little over a minute to play in the third quarter.
Maine Maritime's defense came up big on Catholic's next drive, but the Mariners could not get things going on the offensive side of the ball and turned it over on downs on the Catholic 35-yard line.
The Cardinals used 10 plays to score a touchdown, this time on an eight-yard pass from Berger to Greg Holodak to give Catholic a 33-14 lead, and the Cardinals came up with a timely interception to secure the victory.
Berger ended the afternoon with 279 passing yards on 22 completions and two touchdowns, while LeGrand added 65 rushing yards and 52 receiving yards.
Anthony Santo led the Cardinal defense with 11 tackles, including a half sack for two yards.
Maine Maritime Academy's Last Game: Maine Maritime Academy football fell to Springfield College 44-7 last Saturday afternoon in NEWMAC action at Stagg Field.
The Pride scored once in the first quarter and added 21 points in the second quarter to take a 28-0 lead into halftime, on their way to the victory.
The Mariners were led offensively by Cooper Chiasson (Carthage, Maine), who had 17 yards on nine carries, while Maine Maritime's lone touchdown came from Dominic Casale (Freeport, Maine), who finished with four catches for 42 yards and one score. Defensively, the Mariners were led by Justin Pinard (New Boston, N.H.), who finished with 11 tackles, while Maxwell Horton (Eliot, Maine) had 10 stops in the setback.
Springfield College's offense produced 387 yards of total offense, as it was led by 108 yards on 18 carries from junior Hunter Belzo, while Thomas collected 75 yards on 14 attempts with three scores. Mikey Dragone produced 80 yards on 13 carries and a touchdown. Defensively, Springfield College was led by the efforts of Tom Casey and AJ Smith, who notched seven tackles apiece, while Nick Giorgio had a team-best two sacks on the afternoon.
Catholic's Last Game: Catholic University football freshman Johnny Hecht hauled in five receptions for 120 yards, both career highs, while scoring on an 86-yard touchdown from sophomore Nick Gonzalez as the Cardinals dropped a NEWMAC contest to Merchant Marine last Saturday at Cardinal Stadium, 44-10.
The 86-yard completion from Gonzalez to Hecht in the first quarter was the longest pass completion for Catholic since Kevin Ricca found Reggie McManus for 86 yards on third-and-9 from their own 11-yard line at Hampden-Sydney on Oct. 25, 2008.
Hecht's touchdown reception with 17 seconds remaining in the first quarter pulled Catholic within three at the end of the first quarter, 10-7. Catholic had 105 yards of total offense in the opening quarter and just 89 over the final three.
The Mariners scored three unanswered touchdowns in the second quarter, including a fumble recovery in the end zone right before the half to extend their lead to 31-7.
Merchant Marine, who entered the game at No. 8 in the East Region, scored on 10-yard touchdown run early in the third before the Cardinals were able to get back on the scoreboard with 2:48 left in the quarter on a 33-yard field goal by freshman Sean Gould. He is a perfect 4-for-4 on field goal attempts this season, including 3-for-3 on attempts between 30-39 yards.
The Mariners capped the scoring on a 1-yard touchdown run with 11:05 left in the fourth, finishing a 12-play, 48-yard drive that used 6:43. USMMA dominated time of possession, controlling the ball for 39:24, including 22:22 in the second half. The visitors ran 87 plays and amassed 25 first downs, running the ball 79 times for 23 first downs.
In his first career start, Gonzalez completed 12-of-23 passes for 162 yards and one touchdown, but was intercepted once and sacked four times. Freshman Michael Nicosia entered in the third quarter and was 5-of-13 for 68 yards. He was sacked three times.
Freshman Mekhail White had four catches for 66 yards, his highest totals since he had seven receptions for 70 yards and one touchdown against McDaniel in the season opener.
Defensively, the freshman tandem of Liam Dearing and Rocco Longo each had 15 tackles, both career highs. Sophomore Drew Thomas added a career-high 13 stops while sophomore Andrew Funaki had a career-high 11 tackles, including two for loss and one pass breakup.
The Mariners: Maine Maritime averages 167.4 yards per game, including 133.8 passing yards per game.
Quarterback Bailey Sawyer leads the Mariner with 930 yards on 72 completions and seven touchdowns, while Dominic Casale has 479 yards on 37 catches and six touchdowns. Cooper Chiasson leads the Mariners with 222 rushing yards on 95 carries.
Defensively Derek Breunig leads the team with 73 tackles, including 11 tackles for a loss of 32 yards and sack for 10 yards.
The Cardinals: Catholic averages 268.7 yards per game, including 213.8 passing yards.
Quarterback Brady Berger leads the team with 1,567 yards on 152 completions and nine touchdowns, while Trey Carson leads the receivers with 304 yards on 26 catches and four touchdowns and Bryan Melara leads the team with 176 rushing yards on 41 carries.
Defensively Andrew Funaki leads the Cardinals with 68 tackles, including five tackles for a loss of 10 yards.