KINGS POINT, N.Y. – On Saturday afternoon, the United States Merchant Marine Academy football team dropped a conference contest against Hobart College, 40-33, at Captain Tomb Field in Kings Point, N.Y. With the victory, the Statesmen improved to 4-2 overall and 2-1 in the Liberty League. Following the defeat, the Mariners fell to 3-5 on the year and 2-2 in conference play.
Hobart freshman running back Steven Webb (Dundee, N.Y.) kicked off the day's scoring when he rushed for a 24-yard touchdown with 12:46 left in the first quarter. Junior kicker Conor Callahan (Rangeley, Maine) successfully notched the point-after to give the Statesmen an early 7-0 lead.
With 1:21 remaining in the first, USMMA senior quarterback Derrick Ventre (Cincinnati, Ohio) was sacked in the endzone for a team safety by Hobart. The Statesmen increased their advantage to 9-0.
The Statesmen added some more cushion when junior wide receiver Garth Muratori (Briarcliff Manor, N.Y.) caught a 41-yard pass from junior quarterback Doug Vella (Franklin Square, N.Y.) with 28 seconds left in the first stanza. Callahan's point-after made it 16-0 in favor of Hobart.
Vella and Muratori picked up in the second quarter where they left off in the opening one. The QB found Muratori in the endzone for a 23-yard touchdown reception with 10:46 remaining. Callahan punched the pigskin through the uprights to put Hobart ahead, 23-0.
Ventre answered back and put the Mariners on the scoreboard with 4:44 left in the first half. The Cincinnati native sprinted through the defense for an eight-yard rushing touchdown. With the two-point conversion failing, Hobart led 23-6.
Thirty seconds later, Kings Point grabbed the possession back when senior linebacker Michael Ievolo (Staten Island, N.Y.) recovered a fumble off Vella. Sophomore running back John-Leon Gosselin (Nashua, N.H.) then rushed for a 21-yard touchdown to cut the Statesmen's advantage to 23-13 (Grennen's point-after was successful).
Muratori was at it again with his third touchdown of the game when he caught a ten-yard pass and found the endzone. With the 35 seconds remaining in the half, Hobart led 30-13.
Kings Point was able to squeeze out another three points before the half winded down. Junior kicker Richard Grennen (Port Jefferson Station, N.Y.) nailed a 41-yard field goal with one second left in the first half (Hobart 30-16).
When the two clubs came out of halftime, Hobart was the first to find scoring territory. Merchant Marine deferred to kick after winning the coin toss, so it received the ball in the third quarter. However, following a fumble by the Mariners, which was recovered by the Statesmen, the guests put another seven points on the board. Senior wideout Mike Lazore (Carthage, N.Y.) caught a 27-yard touchdown pass from Vella with 13:19 remaining to put Hobart ahead, 37-16.
USMMA jumped right back into the game with 10 unanswered points over the next seven minutes of play. Senior running back Karl Heimbrock (Greenwood Village, Colo.) notched a three-yard rushing touchdown with 9:59 left in the third (Hobart 37-23).
Four minutes later, Grennen kicked his second successful field goal of the game, this time at 31 yards, to cut the Statesmen's advantage to 37-26.
The majority of the fourth quarter saw no scoring until 4:18 remaining. Callahan recorded a 23-yard field goal to add some insurance for Hobart. A minute and a half later, USMMA freshman wideout Chaise Dunn (Dade City, Fla.) caught a 13-yard touchdown from Ventre to cut Hobart's lead to 40-32. Grennen's good PAT made it 40-33 in favor of the Statesmen, which would be the final.
For the Mariners, Gosselin rushed for a game-high 110 yards on 21 carries and one touchdown. Ventre completed 14 of his 22 passes for 150 yards and one TD. Junior linebacker Kevin Stapf (Fort Pierce, Fla.) led the way for the Mariners in tackles with 10 solo and one assisted. Both senior safety Marcus Broeder (Sarasota, Fla.) and sophomore linebacker Dan McGroarty (Laurel, Md.) had interceptions on the day.
For the Statesmen, Webb rushed for 72 yards on 22 attempts (one touchdown), while Vella finished 18-for-33 on the day with 305 passing yards and four TDs. Muratori had three receiving touchdowns on seven receptions and 129 yards. Freshman strong safety Devon Worthington (Rochester, N.Y.) recorded nine tackles (eight solo) and 2.5 sacks.
Head Coach Mike Toop and the Mariners return to action on Saturday, November 6, when they travel to Schenectady, N.Y. and take on Liberty League-opponent Union College. Game time is scheduled for 12 p.m. If you can't make it to Schenectady, please visit www.usmmasports.com and tune into Ray Martel and Seth Cantor's broadcast of all the play-by-play action.