CANTON, N.Y. – The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy spotted St. Lawrence to a 20-point lead, but could not overcome the deficit en route to a 20-10 loss in its Liberty League opener at Leckonby Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
St. Lawrence (2-2) capture captured the Hoffman Cup for the third consecutive time. The cup is named after Capt. Richard A. Hoffman, a 1944 graduate of Kings Point (1-3), and his son, Tom Hoffman, a 1975 graduate of St. Lawrence.
Saints sophomore quarterback Nik Busharis and wide receiver Ethan Sutton teamed for three touchdown passes in the first half en route to that 20-point margin in the opening 20 minutes. Sutton caught scoring passes for 34, 23 and 36 yards as he earned St. Lawrence MVP honors in the cup.
For the Mariners, junior running back J-L Gosselin earned similar honors after running for 76 yards on 20 carries and for one TD, a six-yard run in the second quarter.
Sutton caught a 34-yard toss with 8:15 remaining in the opening quarter to give the hosts a 6-0 lead as a John Wittig rush for two points failed. However, the lethal Busharis to Sutton combination came through again with 2:04 left in the period via a 23-yard pass and a James Stewart point after conversion for a 13-0 lead. The Saints extended their advantage at 11:22 of the second quarter via yet a third Busharis to Sutton completion, this for 36 yards. Stewart's PAT made it 20-0.
Kings Point closed the gap to 20-7 with a six-yard run from Gosselin and a J.P. Bourquin conversion with 4:57 to go in the half, which completed a 12-play, 77-yard drive. Junior quarterback Stephen Sasso completed a key 4th-and-four pass to Chase Dunn to extend the drive at the St. Lawrence 24-yard lin. Four plays later, Gosselin was in the end zone.
The Mariners had a chance to creep closer before halftime, as they went 76 yards in 21 plays to reach the St. Lawrence 21-yard line. However, Bourquin's field goal from 38 yards out missed wide right, allowing the home team to exit with a 20-7 halftime lead.
Bourquin's 23-yard field goal at 10:49 in the fourth period closed out the scoring.
Senior co-captain Marcus Washington led the Saints with 161 yards on 31 carries. Busharis completed his first nine passes en route to a 13-for-20 day for 176 yards.
For the Mariners, Sasso completed 7-of-18 passes for 69 yards, four to Dunn for 50 yards. Running back Chris Adema rushed for 45 yards in eight carries.
The Mariners will host Springfield College at Tomb Field next Saturday at 2 p.m.