KINGS POINT, N.Y. (Sept. 12, 2015) – The USMMA football team put the cherry on top of a great day around campus here in Kings Point this Saturday for the host Mariners, as Merchant Marine defeated arch-rival Coast Guard, 14-3, in the 2015 season-opener at Brooks Stadium, to complete the sweep of the Bears in all three games hosted this morning/afternoon (men's soccer, women's volleyball and football).
The Mariner defense was strong in keeping Coast Guard out of the end zone and the offense got all the points they needed with a 20-yard passing touchdown and a three-yard running TD. The offense tallied 367 yards of offense (20 passing and 347 rushing), while the defense held the Bears to just 162 yards (149 passing and just 13 rushing).
Both teams traded failed drives the first three tries on offense throughout the first quarter. USMMA opened the scoring early in the second quarter when senior Matt McDaniels (Malvern, N.Y.) connected with classmate David Gregory (Murrysville, Pa.) for a 20-yard passing TD. Sophomore Jake McDonough (Wilmington, N.C.) added the extra point to make it 7-0.
Coast Guard threatened to tie the game on the very next drive, taking the ball 79 yards up the field on nine plays until senior Skyler Stone (Glen Allen, Va.) came through with a clutch interception at the one-yard line on a second-and-goal play. The Mariners did go three-and-out on their next possession, giving the Bears the ball at the Merchant Marine 46-yard line, however, they were able to minimize the damage by forcing the visitors to try a 32-yard field goal on a fourth down late in the half, which Coast Guard senior Tyler Henning made to bring the score to 7-3.
USMMA started the second half with the ball and found the end zone once again after a 12-play, 71-yard drive. It was sophomore DeVar Jones (Albany, N.Y.) that had the score on a three-yard rush. The Mariner defense forced the Bears into two straight three-and-outs and then on the drive at the end of the third quarter into the beginning of the fourth, Stone picked up his second interception of the day on a second-and-seven play from the Coast Guard 34 yard line.
Neither team was able to generate much offense the rest of the final quarter of action, until the Mariners got the ball with just over six minutes to play and moved the ball 61-yards upfield on 14 plays, enough to run the clock out for the victory.
McDaniels ended the afternoon with 114 rushing yard on 23 carries, while also going 1-for-5 in the air for 20 yards and the TD. Sophomore fullback Luke Tiefenthaler (Freehold, N.J.) led all players with 172 rushing yards, also on 23 carries.
Defensively, junior Josh Woodburn (Huntingtown, Md.) picked up a team-high six tackles, including one for a loss of three yards. Classmate Patrick Keyes (Parsippany, N.J.) was second on the squad with five tackles, while Stone ended the day with three stops and those two interceptions.
For Coast Guard, junior QB Derek Victory went 14-for-29 in the air for 149 yards. His top target was senior Jordan Groff, who hauled in six catches for 66 yards. Senior Kyle Wood led all players in the game with nine tackles.
Merchant Marine will welcome in local rival SUNY Maritime on Friday night, Sept. 18, for the annual Seafaring Scuffle. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. under the lights at Brooks Stadium. Live stats and a live video feed will be available for the game by following those links.
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