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Given the option, Coviello will run and run to daylight

KINGS POINT, N.Y. – A running back by nature, junior quarterback Alex Coviello seems to be well suited for the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy's option offense.

He can run and he can run.

Take, for example, what transpired during the Mariners' 34-27 victory at Worcester Polytechnic Institute last Saturday. He rushed for a career-high 243 yards on 27 carries and two touchdowns. He also tossed one TD pass.

"That's not common place," Mariners head football coach Mike Toop said. "I'd like to say he can do that all the time. He's certainly capable of doing that. We blocked up well and he read extremely well and was able to keep the ball a number of times because that's what was there.

"Quite frankly, he made people miss and that's what the game is all about. You've got to win personal matchups. He made their linebackers miss and their safeties miss a few times. He had a couple of nice runs for us. He just took what they were giving us and he read it well. He took it for 250 yards."

Of course, while the 5-8, 170-lb. Coviello racked up some impressive numbers, he was far from a one-man show. The offensive line played its part by giving the Cape Coral, Fla. some pretty decent holes in which to run.

"It doesn't matter what offense you run in football," Toop said. "If you don't block up front you're not going to move the ball, period."

A graduate of Cape Coral High School, Coviello joined Kings Point as a running back.

"We worked with him a little bit in the spring," Toop said. "Because of his athleticism, that's what we want at the quarterback position."

Coviello will start against the University of Rochester (1-3), which the Mariners (2-4) host at Tomb Field at 2 p.m. on Saturday. But Toop likes the fact he has the option of using two quarterbacks who have gotten the job done. Junior Stephen Sasso played hero in the 35-28 win over archrival Coast Guard on Sept. 10, throwing for three TDs, including the game-winner to sophomore wide receiver Chase Dunn with eight seconds remaining in the game.

Toop said that Coviello "played well. Sasso did well against Coast Guard. They were pretty even. Both guys do different things well. We're fortunate in that regard that we have two guys who can win games for us. Coviello is obviously is playing right now and you're going to play the hot hand."