SECRETARIES’ CUP PREVIEW: Mariners Square Off Against Coast Guard Saturday On ESPN3

SECRETARIES’ CUP PREVIEW: Mariners Square Off Against Coast Guard Saturday On ESPN3

KINGS POINT, N.Y. (Nov. 10, 2017) – The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy football team will hit the road to take on arch-rival Coast Guard on Saturday, Nov. 11, up in New London, Conn., in the annual Secretaries' Cup Game. Kickoff is slated for 12-noon at the Bears' Cadet Memorial Field. 

Game To Be Produced By ESPN & Air On ESPN3/WatchESPN App
ESPN announced in 2016 that they will enter a multi-year agreement with USMMA and Coast Guard to produce the Secretaries' Cup as part of its week-long celebration of Veterans Day. This year, ESPN will stream the Mariners' game against the Bears live on ESPN3 at 12-noon EST on Saturday, Nov. 11. The game can be accessed on smart TVs, computers, smartphones, tablets and streaming devices through the ESPN or WatchESPN application. ESPN3 is available at no additional cost to those who receive ESPN's subscription from an affiliated service provider (i.e. cable provider). On a computer, visit www.ESPN3.com to watch the game.

Dave Weekly will be handling the play-by-play call for the game, while former NFL linebacker Matt Chatham will serve as the color analyst.

Series History
Saturday's game marks the 46th meeting all-time between the two academies and the 37th consecutive since 1981. The teams first met back in 1949. Merchant Marine holds a commanding 31-14 lead in the rivalry, including winning 15 of the past 19 games. Eight of the last 10 games in the series have been decided by 10 points or less. 

Record Day Last Saturday
Last Saturday, the Mariners defeated NEWMAC opponent Catholic, 62-27, at home. USMMA tied a 57-year old program record for points in a game with 62 and one other record was broken, as senior kicker Jake McDonough (Wilmington, N.C.) broke the single-season PAT mark after nailing eight on the day to bring his season total to 38. The former record was 34, which was set in 1985 by Todd Wendorf '88

Leading The Mariners
Offensively, senior quarterback Brice Moore (Pace, Fla.) leads the Mariners on the ground with 791 rushing yards on 175 carries with 10 TDs and is also 53-for-129 with 912 passing yards with three TDs. Moore has been named NEWMAC Offensive Player of the Week twice this year – on Oct. 10 after a 52-17 road win at Norwich and on Nov. 6 after last week's win over Catholic. Junior Joseph Bellomo (Holliston, Mass.) has amassed 401 yards on the ground and has found the end zone five times. Sophomore receiver Joe Vitelli (Warrington, Pa.) has caught 31 passes for 670 yards and three scores. 

Defensively, junior Brooks Cannell (Ambler, Pa.) leads the Mariners with 50 tackles, including a half-tackle for a loss of two yards and also has USMMA's only interception of the season, which was returned 44 yards for a touchdown, as well as one fumble recovery and four pass breakups. Junior Jesse Byorth (Billings, Mont.) is second on the squad with 43 tackles, including four for combined losses of 13 yards and one forced fumble. The Mariners have also had two fumbles returned for touchdowns, as junior Jake Wallace (Pittsburgh, Pa.) returned one eight yards for a score and freshman Dan Walsh (Margate, N.J.) returned one 36 yards. 

Senior kicker Jake McDonough has been 38-for-39 on PATs, including two 8-for-8 games (which ties the program-record). Classmate Erik Swayne (Great Falls, Va.) has averaged 40.7 yards on 38 punts with a long of 65 yards and nine inside the opponents' 20-yard line. Swayne was named the NEWMAC Special Teams Player of the Week and to the D3football.com National Team of the Week back on Oct. 16 after a home loss to Springfield. Freshman returner Matt Restifo (Hudson, Ohio) amassed 658 yards on 34 KO returns, with a long of 74 yards. 

Scouting The Bears
Coast Guard enters Saturday's game on a five-game losing streak. They have a 3-6 overall record, including a 1-5 mark in NEWMAC action under 19th-year head coach Bill George. 

Two Bears have taken the majority of snaps behind center this year, with junior Ethan Goldcamp starting the year for the first four games before sophomore Ryan Jones took over for the past five games. Jones has completed 67-of-138 passes for 653 yards with three touchdowns and 12 interceptions. Freshman receiver Justin Moffatt has caught 25 passes and has a team-best 328 yards with three TDs. On the ground, senior Cam Cecchini has compiled 449 rushing yards and leads the Bears with four touchdowns. 

On defense, junior Jake Behne has 64 tackles to lead the Bears, including four for combined losses of eight yards, one forced fumble with a recovery and an interception. Sophomore Patrick Crowley is second on the squad with 62 total tackles and has picked of a team-high two passes. 

Junior punter Chip Crowley has averaged 39.8 yards on 48 punts and junior Cole Austin has made 7-of-8 field goals with a long of 37 yards and is also 16-of-18 extra points. 

Around The NEWMAC
Other 12-noon starts around the league include Catholic at Maine Maritime and MIT visiting #21 Springfield. At 1 p.m., WPI and Norwich will kick off in Northfield, Vt.