Senior Day Photo Gallery
KINGS POINT, N.Y. (Nov. 12, 2016) – The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy football team ended the 2016 season on a great note on Saturday, defeating visiting Springfield College, 15-12, on Senior Day in the two teams' final Liberty League contest. With the victory, the Mariners end the year with a 5-4 overall record, the first winning season for the program since 2003 and Head Coach Mike Toop's first winning season at Kings Point.
The Mariners defeated Springfield at Brooks Stadium for the second consecutive season after the Pride had won the previous four meetings between the two schools. Springfield ends the season with an even 5-5 record.
Prior to kickoff, USMMA paid tribute to its 13 graduating seniors with a special Senior Day ceremony honoring Robert Baker (Whitinsville, Mass.), Spencer Blauw (Strasburg, Colo.), Nate Downs (Tontogany, Ohio), Parker Johnson (Middletown, Md.), Patrick Keyes (Parsippany, N.J.), Marcus Kitchin (Arlington, Texas), Channing Meyer (Norman, Okla.), Alex Shiber (Bloomsburg, Pa.), Tom Siegharter (Weston, Wis.), Ian Stoner (Glen Allen, Va.), Taylor Sulik (Killingly, Conn.), Erik Thompson (Staten Island, N.Y.) and Joshua Woodburn (Huntingtown, Md.).
Leading the way for Merchant Marine were Keyes and freshman Reno Dubreuil (Moorpark, Calif.) on defense, as the pair both recorded a game-high 13 tackles apiece. Three of Dubreuil's tackles were for losses, including two sacks, while Keyes had a key pass break-up in the second quarter on what could've been a Pride touchdown pass.
Kitchin also recorded double-digit tackles with 11, including one sack. Shiber had a huge block on a PAT on Springfield's first touchdown and sophomore Brooks Cannell (Ambler, Pa.) recorded the game-clinching interception in the final 10 seconds of regulation.
Offensively, junior quarterback Brice Moore (Pace, Fla.) scored two touchdowns on 30 yards rushing, while also running in a two-point conversion in the third quarter. Moore was also 6-for-8 passing for 105 yards on the day. Freshman Luke Jamison (Tequesta, Fla.) hauled in three catches to lead all receivers with 54 yards, while classmate Joe Vitelli (Warrington, Pa.) had a huge 32-yard catch for the Mariners early in the third quarter on a 3rd-and-19 play, which extended a Mariner drive that ended in Moore's go-ahead (and eventual game-winning) touchdown. Sophomore Wiley Martin (Polo, Mo.) was USMMA's leading rusher with 45 yards.
The first half of the game took only 45 minutes, as the first quarter of the game was very quiet. Moore scored the contest's first TD early in the second quarter when he capped off a 16-play, 77-yard drive with an eight-yard scramble. Junior Jake McDonough's (Wilmington, N.C.) PAT was good and the Mariners jumped out to a 7-0 lead.
Springfield responded very late in the second half, when junior quarterback Jake Eglintine found the end-zone on a one-yard run, but Shiber blocked sophomore Blake Heller's PAT attempt and the Mariners held a 7-6 lead into the halftime break.
The Pride wasted no time taking the lead early in the second half, however, as they received the ball and ran just three plays, including a 62-yard scoring rush by senior Drew Brown that put the visitors ahead, 12-7. Springfield went for two, but Eglintine took too long to decide what to do while running towards the sidelines and was sacked by Dubreuil to deny the Pride the seven-point lead.
The Mariners responded on the very next drive, however, as Moore ran in a four-yard TD to cap off a 12-play, 73-yard drive and then ran in the two-point conversion to the right to regain the lead for the Mariners, 15-12.
After stopping Springfield on four-straight plays, including a great fourth-down stop by junior Isaac Lee (Grapevine, Texas), Merchant Marine got the ball back, but were unable to extend their lead after failing to convert a 35-yard field goal.
The next two drives for both teams ended in punts before Springfield got the ball late in the fourth (with 4:44 on the clock), looking for a winning drive. The Pride worked their way down to the Mariner 33-yard line, but time was not on their side and they had just one timeout remaining, which they took with just 11 seconds left. Eglintine threw up a pass to the far sideline that Cannell intercepted in the endzone to seal the victory.
Springfield's Drew Brown was the game's leading rusher with 82 yards and a score, while Eglintine added 57 yards on the ground and a TD to go along with two completed passes for 42 yards. Junior Tyler Hyde led the Pride's wideouts with 13 receiving yards. Defensively, senior Kenny Calaj had a team-high 12 tackles and junior Dominic Traversa had 10 stops.
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