BRONX, N.Y. (Sept. 14, 2018) – The USMMA football team defeated rival SUNY Maritime, 34-21, on the road Friday night at the Privateers' Reinhart Field. The victory is the senior class' first over Maritime in their four seasons and improves the Mariners' record to 2-0, while the Privateers fall to 2-1.
Maritime got off to a quick start, as they took the opening kickoff and drove down the field to open the game with a touchdown. The score came on a 4th-and-15 play, where senior quarterback Thomas Wright hit classmate Christian Castle for a 31-yard touchdown catch.
The Mariner defense came up with a couple momentum changing plays later in the quarter, which Merchant Marine needed. Junior Reno Dubreuil (Moorpark, Calif.) forced a fumble that senior Brian Harris (Yonkers, N.Y.) jumped on and then later with just 29 seconds left in the quarter, junior Tanner Carter (Columbiana, Ala.) picked off a pass.
USMMA cashed in early in the second after a 13-play, 50-yard drive ended with a two-yard TD run by senior Joseph Bellomo (Holliston, Mass.). The extra point was missed, however, and the Privateers still led, 7-6.
After the Mariners stopped Maritime on its next possession, the offense found a rhythm again and put together an eight-play drive for another touchdown, this on a one-yard rush by junior James Early (Middletown, Md.). Merchant Marine decided to go for two to make it a seven-point lead, but fell short, which put the score at 12-7.
The Privateers regained the lead on their next drive, however, after an eight-play, 73-yard drive ended with Wright connecting with senior Brandonn Drumgole on a 14-yard TD.
The third quarter was where USMMA started to pull away, as a one-yard touchdown run by freshman Alec Kiernan (Centereach, N.Y.) at 9:57, followed by a successful two-point conversion rush by junior quarterback Krystian Abbott (Lansing, Kan.) put the Mariners ahead 20-14.
The defense came up huge again and forced the Privateers to go three-and-out and just two plays into Merchant Marine's next drive, a play-action pass fooled the Maritime defense and Abbott completed a 43-yard touchdown pass to sophomore Matt Restifo (Hudson, Ohio) to take a commanding 28-14 lead after another successful two-point conversion, this on a rush by junior Tyler Reihs (Moorpark, Calif.).
USMMA added another touchdown early in the fourth on a 10-yard rush by Abbott to make it 22 unanswered points, as the Mariners took a 34-14 lead with 10:23 remaining in the game.
A Privateer touchdown on the next possession made the final few minutes interesting, but the Mariner offense was able to continue pounding the run and take enough time off the clock to secure the victory, and Merchant Marine halted SUNY Maritime's three-game winning streak in the series.
Abbott finished the day going 5-for-6 passing for 93 yards and the one touchdown in the air, while also picking up 43 yards on the ground with the one score. Senior Wiley Martin (Polo, Mo.) was the Mariners' leading rusher with 54 yards on 15 carries, while Restifo ran the ball five times for 45 yards. Like Abbott, Bellomo ended the night with 43 yards on the ground and the one TD. Restifo had the one TD catch for 43 yards and junior Joe Vitelli (Warrington, Pa.) caught three passes for 36 receiving yards.
Defensively, Dubriel recorded a team-best 10 tackles, including 3.5 for losses of 15 yards and a sack. Senior Addison Radcliff (Orlando, Fla.) had seven stops, with 2.5 for losses and one sack, while senior Brooks Cannell (Ambler, Pa.) and freshman Eric Davidson (Savannah, Ga.) both had six tackles apiece.
On special teams, freshman Jack Ruark (Urbanna, Va.) averaged 38.6 yards on five punts with a long of 54 yards, while junior Gavin Gartner (Cedar Park, Texas) averaged 53.0 yards on six kickoffs. Vitelli had a combined 60 yards on returns (17 on three kickoff returns and 43 on punt returns - with a long of 32 yards).
For the Privateers, Wright finished 26-for-53 passing for 340 yards with three TDs. Castle was his top receiver, hauling in seven catches for 153 yards and two scores, while Drumgole also caught seven passes for 103 yards and found the end zone once. Junior linebacker Liam Bailey led all players in the game with 20 tackles.
Up next, the Mariners will open up NEWMAC action against another industry-rival school, Maine Maritime, next Saturday, Sept. 22. The game will be part of 2018 Homecoming Weekend at Kings Point. Kickoff between the two "Mariner" teams is scheduled for 1 p.m. at Brooks Stadium. Live stats and a live video feed for the game will be available with links on the USMMA Football Schedule Page.
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