Game Notes: Maine Maritime Academy vs. U.S. Merchant Marine Academy

Game Notes: Maine Maritime Academy vs. U.S. Merchant Marine Academy

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Saturday's Game: Maine Maritime Academy (0-3, NEWMAC 0-0) vs. United States Merchant Marine Academy (1-1, NEWMAC 0-0), 12:00 pm, Ritchie Field, Castine, Maine.

Series History: Saturday's game is only the fourth meeting between Maine Maritime Academy and the United States Merchant Marine Academy. Maine Maritime took the first-ever meeting in 1964, 19-12 but USMMA defeated Maine Maritime 56-31 in 2017 and 35-14 last season in Kings Point on September 22.

Last Meeting: Maine Maritime Academy football fell to the United States Merchant Marine Academy, 35-14 last season on September 22, 2018, in the NEWMAC opener for both teams at Brooks Stadium.

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 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 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.

Maine Maritime Academy's Last Game: Maine Maritime Academy football scored three second-half touchdowns but fell to Massachusetts Maritime 42-21 on Saturday afternoon in the 47th Annual Admiral's Cup at Ritchie Field.

Maine Maritime falls to 0-3 on the season and will return to action next Saturday, September 28 when they host the United States Merchant Marine Academy for their NEWMAC opener at 12:00 pm. The Buccaneers improve to 2-0 overall and travel to Westfield State next Saturday for their MASCAC opener at 2:00 pm.

The Mariners amassed 239 yards of total offense, including 204 passing yards and were led by junior quarterback Nikolas Moquin's (Goffstown, N.H.) 130 yards on 14 completions and a touchdown. Freshman Reed Hopkins (Augusta, Maine) led the Maine Maritime receivers with 89 yards on seven catches and junior Dominic Casale (Freeport, Maine) pulled down seven catches, for 65 yards and a touchdown.

Sophomore Cam Lantagne (Biddeford, Maine) returned an interception 48 yards for a touchdown and tallied seven tackles, including three solo stops, to lead the Maine Maritime defense. Junior Aren Dickman (Scarborough, Maine) and freshman Devin Weir (Hartford, Conn.) each tallied seven tackles, Dickman had five solo stops and Weir had four.

Quarterback Matt Long threw for 102 yards on seven completions and two touchdowns and rushed for another 138 yards on 17 carries and three touchdowns to lead Mass. Maritime. Jack Fontana led the Buccaneers defensively with seven tackles, including four solo stops and a tackle for a loss of three yards.

The Mariners forced a quick Buccaneer three and out, on their opening drive but came up empty on their offensive possession and both teams struggled to find the end zone in the first half.

Mass. Maritime capitalized on a Mariner holding penalty that voided an interception and got on the scoreboard first on a 10-yard touchdown reception from Long to Ryan McNally.

The Buccaneers forced a Mariner three and out, and Long rushed for 55 yards for his first touchdown carry of the afternoon to make it 14-0 midway through the second quarter.

Mass. Maritime took the 14-point lead into halftime, and forced a Mariner punt to start the second half. The Bucs capped off a four-play, 45-yard drive with another touchdown toss from Long to Cam Witman, followed by a George Lampros extra point to make it 21-0.

Mass. executed an onside kick on the ensuing kickoff, and regained possession on the Mariner-38, setting up a one-yard touchdown carry from Long to make it 28-0.

Lantange picked off Long on the Buccaneer-48 yard line and carried it to the end zone and teammate Maxwell Horton hit the extra point to cut the deficit to 28-7.

The Buccaneers picked off Mariner quarterback Andrew Haining (Palmyra, Maine) late in the third quarter, setting up a four-play, 54-yard scoring drive, led by a three-yard touchdown rush by Long.

Moquin guided the Mariners 77-yards down the field on 17 plays and ran the ball in from two-yards out to close the gap to 35-14, but the Bucs answered back on their next drive with a four-yard touchdown rush from Evan Dyer.

On the Mariners' next drive, Moquin connected with Hopkins on back-to-back catches, for 15 yards and 18 yards, before hitting Casale for 11 yards and rushing for 12 yards to bring the drive deep into Buccaneer territory. Moquin found Hopkins once again, this time for 13 yards, setting up a nine-yard touchdown throw to Casale to make it 42-21.

With time winding down, the Buccaneers held off the Mariners, and claimed the Admiral's Cup for the third-straight season.

United States Merchant Marine Academy's Last Game: The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy football team closed out the non-conference portion of its slate with a convincing 45-0 victory over cross-sound foe SUNY Maritime on Saturday afternoon at Brooks Stadium.

As a team the Mariner defense held the Privateer offense to just 147 yards of offense, while the Mariner offense averaged over six yards per play amassing 551 yards on 86 offensive plays. The Mariner offense moved the ball well throughout the matchup, registering 30 first downs on the game to SUNY's four first downs.

A balanced defensive effort helped the Mariners pitch the shutout, as a dozen players ended the contest with at least two tackles. Junior Noah Newburgh and sophomore Eric Davidson led the way with seven tackles apiece, while sophomore Ethan Brady had five stops. Newburgh also led the team with a pair of pass breakups, while Davidson also forced a fumble. Freshman Colton Ray was credited with a fumble recovery on the afternoon, while classmate Xavier Coleman had an interception late in the second quarter.

The Mariner defense also penetrated the Privateer offensive line with seven tackles behind the line of scrimmage, including sacks by freshman Andrew Kidd, for a loss in three yards, while sophomore Tyler Sloman had a sack for a 13-yard loss.

Offensively the Mariners were led by a 12-man rushing front, which totaled 389 yards on the ground. Sophomore Ian Blankenship led the team with 84 rushing yards with one score, while sophomore Matt Strong was second on the team with six rushes for 60 yards for a team-best 10 yards per carry. Senior James Early picked up 57 yards on the ground, while sophomore Alec Kiernan added 36 yards on the ground and led the offense with two rushing scores.

Senior Krystian Abbott was also tied with Blankenship for the team lead in rushing attempts with 11, as he picked up 33 yards on the ground. Abbott also had a successful day through the air as he completed over 83% of his passes at a 10-for-12 clip for 148 yards and two passing touchdowns. Senior Joe Vitelli was his favorite target, as Vitelli picked up eight receptions on the game for 127 yards and two scores.

On special teams the Mariners converted on one field goal attempt as senior Gavin Gartner pushed a 24-yard attempt through the uprights late in the second quarter. Gartner also had a busy afternoon on kickoffs as he registered 357 yards on seven kicks for a 51-yard average. Sophomore Jack Ruark had a pair of punts on the day for a 39-yard average including one deep inside Privateer territory.

Vitelli had seven punt returns for 111 yards, while adding one kickoff return for a 17-yard return to round out the special team efforts on the afternoon.

The Mariners won the coin toss and deferred to the second half, putting the defense on the field first. Merchant Marine held Maritime to just three plays and five yards spanning 86 seconds to set the tone early for what was to come on the afternoon.

After getting the ball on offense the Mariners were able to move the ball on the meager Privateer defense, picking up four first downs along the way, however the Mariners were unable to put points on the board. After the Privateers took over again, the Mariner defense went back to work and forced SUNY Maritime to punt.

Merchant Marine took over with 4:40 to go in the opening quarter, and began to chip away at the 83-yard field ahead of them after taking over from their own 17-yard line. After the drive continued into the second quarter the Mariners took the lead as Kiernan punched the ball into the end zone for the opening score of the game.

After another quick punt by the Privateers, the Mariner offense continued to drive down the field after taking over near midfield. The final play of the 12-play drive was a three-yard rush from Early, followed by another made extra point by Gartner to put the Mariners ahead by two touchdowns.

Both teams punted on their next possessions before SUNY Maritime took over again. On a 3rd down and 10, the Privateers looked to rush the ball but Davidson jarred the ball free that was recovered by Ray to put the USMMA offense in prime field position at the Privateer 13-yard line.

After a pair of three-yard rushes, an incomplete pass set up fourth down for the Mariners. Gartner came on to kick a 24-yard attempt and converted to extend the Mariner lead to 17.

SUNY Maritime's next offensive possession resulted in another turnover by the Mariners as Coleman picked off an errant pass. The Mariners did not need long as the team went 37 yards on three plays and Abbott found Vitelli for the third touchdown of the half to make the score 24-0 heading into halftime.

The second half saw much of the same that the first 30 minutes had to offer. Merchant Marine had to punt on its first offensive possession, but the defense got the ball right back pushing the Privateers backwards on the next drive.

Abbott found Vitelli on the next drive for a 26-yard score to extend the lead to 31. The defense followed with another negative series for the Privateers, this time pushing SUNY's offense backwards by 12 yards.

A few possessions later the Mariners started with the ball on the Privateer 15-yardline after a 37-yard return by Vitelli on a 35-yard punt by the Privateer punter. Three plays later, the Mariners scored once again to take a 38-point lead as the rout was on.

As play progressed into the fourth quarter, SUNY Maritime's offense stalled out once again as the Mariner defense held the bewildered offense to just seven yards once again.

The ensuing Mariner possession resulted in another one-yard touchdown score with just over five minutes to go as the scoring was capped off at 45-0 in favor of USMMA.

For good measure the Mariner defense flexed its muscle once more, as they pushed the Privateers backwards once again for a loss in five yards over three plays. The Mariners ran out the clock on its final offense drive to seal the one-sided victory in favor of the home team.

Maine Maritime Academy Mariners: The Mariners average 245 yards per game, including 197.3 passing yards. Maine Maritime averages 16 points per game, while allowing opponents to score 38 points per game.

Nikolas Moquin leads the Mariners with 372 yards, on 30 completions and four touchdowns. Dominic Casale has 18 catches for 213 yards and four touchdowns. Cooper Chiasson leads the running backs with 69 yards on 31 rushes.

Defensively, Terrell Thomas leads Maine Maritime with 26 tackles, including 19 solo stops and a half tackle for a loss of a yard. Spencer Baron has 20 tackles, including 13 solo stops, a fumble recovery and a broken up pass.

United States Merchant Marine Academy Mariners: USMMA averages 576.5 yards per game, including 421.5 rushing yards and 46.5 points per game, while allowing opponents to score 28 points per game.

Krystian Abbott leads the Mariners with 296 yards on 18 completions and five touchdowns, Joe Vitelli leads the USMMA receivers with 12 catches for 214 yards and four touchdowns and James Early leads the running backs with 149 yards on 37 catches and a touchdown.

Defensively Eric Davidson leads USMMA with 13 tackles, including two tackles for a loss and a forced fumble, Noah Newburgh has 12 tackles, including eight solo stops, a tackle for a loss and a four broken up passes.