NEW LONDON, Conn. (Sept. 10, 2016) – The USMMA football team won the Secretaries' Cup for the second consecutive season on Saturday, downing arch-rival Coast Guard, 31-27, in the 2016 season-opener at the Bears' Cadet Memorial Field.
The Mariner defense stood tall in the second half and held Coast Guard to just one first down and 29 yards. The Mariners erased a 21-14 halftime deficit to come out with the victory.
Coast Guard got on the board first with a 13-yard touchdown pass at 6:07 of the opening quarter. The Mariners responded early in the second when sophomore Wiley Martin (Polo, Mo.) capped off a 15-play, 75-yard drive with a three-yard TD run. Junior Jake McDonough's (Wilmington, N.C.) PAT tied the score up at 7-7.
The next three possessions of the game ended in the teams trading touchdowns. The Bears regained the lead nearly three minutes after Martin's TD on a 21-yard touchdown pass. That was followed by junior Robert Moore's (Pace, Fla.) 24-yard pass to freshman Luke Jamison (Tequesta, Fla.) that tied the score at 14-14. Coast Guard closed out the scoring in the half with a 34-yard connection with 4:12 remaining in the second and took the 21-14 lead into the locker room at halftime.
Neither team scored in the third quarter, but the Mariners started the fourth in the red zone and senior Spencer Blauw (Strasburg, Colo.) ran in a six-yard TD that ended a 15-play, 69-yard drive and tied the score at 21-all after McDonough's PAT. The Merchant Marine defense forced a quick three-and-out and took over possession on the Bears' 46 yard line. After six plays, Martin ran in his second three-yard TD of the day to give USMMA its first lead of the day, 28-21.
The Bears answered with a fumble recovery for a TD, but missed the extra point and the Mariners kept the slim one-point lead with 7:34 remaining. After a long Mariner drive ended with a 28-yard field goal by junior Erik Swayne (Great Falls, Va.) with 1:19 to go, the USMMA defense forced a turnover on downs after four plays on the ensuing Coast Guard possession and ran the clock out for the victory.
The Mariners amassed 460 yards of total offense and allowed Coast Guard just 299. Moore led the ground game with 201 yards, while Martin had 101 yards and the two scores. Moore was also 3-for-6 in completions with a TD caught by Jamsion, who had two catches for 25 yards. Senior Robert Baker (Whitinsville, Mass.) caught one pass for 24 yards.
Five different players led the Mariner defense with four tackles: junior Anthony Sandoval (Palmdale, Calif.), sophomore Brooks Cannell (Ambler, Pa.), senior Marcus Kitchin (Arlington, Texas), junior Justin Sydlowski (Plymouth, Mich.) and senior Ian Stoner (Glen Allen, Va.). Stoner had a team-high two tackles for combined losses of three yards.
The Mariners are back in action this coming Friday night, Sept. 16, when they travel across the Long Island Sound for the annual "Sound Shootout" game against rival SUNY Maritime. Opening kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Privateers' Reinhart Field. Live stats and a live video feed of the game will be available with links on this page.
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