KINGS POINT, N.Y. – Before his team stepped onto the field for its season opener Saturday, Kings Point head football coach Mike Toop realized his Mariners were going to have their hands full one with one of the top teams in Division III football against Johns Hopkins.
His fears were realized as the Mariners lost to Hopkins at Captain Tomb Field, 45-14, on Plebe Acceptance Day and Parents Weekend.
Running backs Alex Coviello (Cape Coral, Fla.), who played most of the game at quarterback, and Matthew Bozich (Ponte Vedra, Fla.) scored the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy touchdowns in the opening half.
Senior quarterback Hewitt Tomlin enjoyed a memorable afternoon for the Blue Jays (1-0), ranked 20th in the nation among Division III schools by The Sporting News. He completed 28 of 37 passes for 297 yards and six touchdowns – two apiece to Daniel Wodicka and Sam Wernick. Scott Cremens and Brendan Hartman tallied the other two Blue Jays TDs while Richie Carbone added a 25-yard field goal.
The Mariners (0-1) countered Johns Hopkins' hurry-up offense with a ball-control attack that kept them in the game in the first half.
After Tomlin teamed with Cremens on a 20-yard TD pass with 8:43 left in the opening quarter, the Mariners came right back to tie it on Bozich's one-yard run with 4:25 remaining.
The visitors took the lead for good at 21-7 as Tomlin found Wernick for a 17-yard scoring play with 2:04 to play in the first period and Wodicka for a 16-yard TD with 13:53 left in the half.
The Mariners then embarked on an amazing 18-play drive over 67 yards that took 9:06 off the clock and cut the deficit to 21-14 at the half. That drive included a pair of fourth-down conversions in enemy territory – a Coviello two-yard run and his 15-yard completion while facing a fourth and eight situation at the Johns Hopkins 31.
Johns Hopkins, however, pulled away with three third-quarter TDs – all off of Tomlin tosses – 37 yards to Wodicka, one yard to Hartman and eight yards to Wernick.
Mariners junior fullback John-Leon Gosselin (Nashua, N.H.) led the ground attack with 50 yards on 13 carries, while senior running back Chris Adema (Covington, La.) added 41 yards in two carries.
Kings Point junior safety Chris Dumesnil (Woodstock, Ga.) made 10 solo tackles and had one assist, while junior linebacker Ken Stapf (Fort Pierce, Fla.) had nine tackles and assisted on six others.
Kings Point hosts archrival Coast Guard for the Secretaries Cup here at 2:30 p.m. next Saturday.