Kings Point, NY – Alex Coviello (Cape Coral, FL) was named Merchant Marine's MVP of the Hoffman Cup as the Mariners topped St. Lawrence, 33-12, Saturday afternoon at Brooks Stadium. The Hoffman Cup is awarded annually to the winner of the USMMA-SLU contest. The match-up also served as senior day for USMMA as the program's 19 graduating players were honored before the game. Coviello racked up 288 all-purpose yards and two passing touchdowns to lead the Mariners in a win that sealed the program's first .500 season since the 2003 campaign.
St. Lawrence (0-10, 0-7 Liberty) cracked the scoreboard just 53 seconds into the game on their second play from scrimmage. Danny Metzgar hit Colby Johnson for a 37-yard touchdown pass that made it a 6-0 affair. Johnson finished the tilt with 106 receiving yards and was named the Saints' MVP of the Hoffman Cup.
Merchant Marine (5-5, 3-4 Liberty) knotted the score at 6-6 with 3:51 remaining in the opening quarter. The Mariners caught SLU over playing the option offense and Coviello made the Saints pay with a pass down the seam to Colin Hinchey (Denton, TX). Hinchey rumbled 67 yards to the end zone for his first touchdown of the season.
USMMA again successfully went to the passing game on its first play of the second quarter. Coviello hit Connor Kennedy (Bellerose, NY) in-stride as the junior running back went up the left sideline for an 80-yard touchdown. The Merchant Marine defense quickly forced a three-and-out to give the ball right back to the offense. Coviello broke out for a 49-yard run on a fourth-and-one to set up a one-yard score from Mario Colangelo (Staten Island, NY) that made it 20-6 mid-way through the second quarter.
The SLU defense made the next big play of the game; deep in USMMA territory Andrew Cox dove on a fumble for the Saints following an errant pitch. Two plays later Zach Migliore burrowed his way across the goal line for a two-yard TD rush. The two sides entered the halftime intermission with the Mariners holding onto a 20-12 advantage.
The Merchant Marine defense completely shut down St. Lawrence in the second half as the Mariners limited the visitors to just three first-downs in the final 30 minutes of action. Senior James Cameron (Plainview, NY) led the way in his final collegiate game with nine tackles, one sack, two tackles for a loss, and a forced fumble. Sophomore Andrew Harmon (Jacksonville, FL) finished the day with two interceptions, one pass break-up, and two tackles.
The Mariners capped a 12-play drive early in the fourth quarter with a three-yard touchdown run from Kennedy that pushed the USMMA lead to 26-12. USMMA rounded out the day's scoring as Colangelo found the end zone from four yards out for his second score of the game.
Merchant Marine left no room for a comeback as the option attack chewed up the last 7:47 of the fourth quarter. As time expired the scoreboard read 33-12, in favor of USMMA, to end the 2012 season on a high note in front of 1,150 fans at Brooks Stadium.
Fans can view the photos of Saturday's game, including the pre-game senior day ceremony, via the USMMA Photography Picasa page available here: https://picasaweb.google.com/USMMAphotography/MNPluhowski1CSeniorDayFootballVsStLawrence