KINGS POINT, N.Y. (Sept. 22, 2018) – The U.S. Merchant Marine Academy football team sent its big Homecoming Weekend crowd home happy on Saturday afternoon with a 35-14 NEWMAC victory over Maine Maritime at Brooks Stadium. With the win, the Mariners improve to 3-0 (1-0 NEWMAC) on the season – marking the first 3-0 start for the program since 2013 – while Maine Maritime falls to 0-3 (0-1 NEWMAC).
Prior to kickoff, the Academy and USMMA Alumni Association and Foundation (AAF) celebrated the milestone reunion classes ending in 3's and 8's back to Tomb Field with a special Homecoming Alumni March On.
In the action on the field, the Mariners scored first after taking over possession late in a quiet first quarter and driving the ball 81 yards on 11 plays, ending with junior Tyler Reihs (Moorpark, Calif.) running in an eight-yard TD at 12:06 of the second. Classmate Gavin Gartner (Cedar Park, Texas) converted the PAT to give USMMA a 7-0 lead. Gartner was a perfect 5-for-5 on PATs on the day.
The lead doubled in the final minute of the second when senior Wiley Martin (Polo, Mo.) punched in a one-yard TD run and Merchant Marine took a 14-0 lead into the locker room at halftime.
After Maine Maritime forced a fumble with great field position on the opening possession of the second half, the Mariner defense came up strong, forcing a three-and-out to quickly get the ball back. On that ensuing drive, they marched 78 yards up the field on 11 plays, ending with a bobbling touchdown catch by junior Luke Jamison (Tequesta, Fla.) in the back corner of the end zone and USMMA went ahead, 21-0.
Maine Maritime made it interesting, however, with 14-unanswered points on an 11-yard TD pass at 3:42 of the third and then a 27-yard TD pass on a 4th-and-10 play at 12:18 of the fourth.
The Mariners responded with two scores of their own, though, on Jamison's second touchdown catch of the day, this for 35 yards, and a one-yard TD run by junior quarterback Krystian Abbott (Lansing, Kan.) that closed out the scoring on the day.
Abbott was 6-for-7 passing for 90 yards with two touchdowns and also amassed 75 rushing yards with one score on the ground. Martin was the Mariners' leading rusher with 84 yards and one TD, while Reihs ended the day with 38 rushing yards with the one touchdown. Jamison hauled in the two catches for 52 yards, while classmate Joe Vitelli (Warrington, Pa.) had a team-high four receptions for 38 yards.
Defensively, three Mariners tied for the team-high with five tackles – seniors Trever Huss (Orange City, Iowa) and Jake Wallace (Pittsburgh, Pa.) and freshman Eric Davidson (Savannah, Ga.). Huss had two tackles for combined losses of five yards, including a half-sack with senior Addison Radcliff (Orlando, Fla.). Junior Reno Dubreuil (Moorpark, Calif.) also had a sack on the day for the Mariners, dropping the Maine Maritime QB back eight yards to force a 4th-and-long in the fourth quarter.
The Mariners forced two turnovers in the game. Freshman Brian McGovern (Cranford, N.J.) had a strong game on special teams with a couple of tackles and a forced fumble which he recovered in the second quarter. Sophomore Sam Kovaleski (Findlay, Ohio) also forced a fumble in the fourth quarter on special teams, but it was recovered by Maine Maritime. Sophomore Noah Newburgh (Gilbert, Ariz.) had the Mariners other turnover, a fourth-quarter interception, which led to the final scoring drive.
Freshman punter Jack Ruark (Urbanna, Va.) averaged 34.0 yards on four punts with a long of 43 yards, while Gartner averaged 53.2 yards on six kickoffs.
For Maine Maritime, sophomore quarterback Bailey Sawyer completed 15-of-41 passes for 176 yards and two TDs. Sophomore Dominic Casale caught seven passes, including both touchdowns and amassed 111 receiving yards.
Defensively, freshman Terrell Thomas led all players in the game with 16 tackles, while senior John Bennett recorded 11 stops including 1.5 for losses, a half-sack and a fumble recovery.
Up next, the Mariners are on the road at MIT next Saturday, Sept. 29 , up in Cambridge, Mass. Kickoff is scheduled for 11 a.m. at the Engineers' Steinbrenner Stadium. Live stats and a live video stream of the game will be available with links on the USMMA Football Schedule Page.
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