Merchant Marine Strikes First But Falls at Union

Michael Biehn led the USMMA defense with eight tackles against Union.
Michael Biehn led the USMMA defense with eight tackles against Union.

Schenectady, NY - Alex Coviello (Cape Coral, FL) capped the opening drive of the game with a 34-yard touchdown run for USMMA but the Mariners ultimately dropped a 51-7 decision Saturday afternoon at Union.  The Dutchmen went on to record 482 yards of offense on a day in which the program honored its 22 graduating players on senior day.  The Union defense held Merchant Marine to 229 total yards, the seventh time in nine games that Union has held an opponent at 300 or less yards.

Merchant Marine (4-5, 2-4 Liberty) went up 7-0 with 11:42 on the clock in the first quarter as Coviello's score capped an eight-play marched that covered 79 yards.  Junior running back Mario Colangelo (Staten Island, NY)  had 16 carries for 78 yards for USMMA.  Defensively, junior linebacker Michael Biehn (The Woodlands, TX) led the Mariners with eight tackles.

Union (5-4, 5-1 Liberty) scored on its first five drives and eight of its 12 drives in the game.  Sophomore quarterback Connor Eck was 15 for 18 with no interceptions. He tossed for 265 yards and three touchdowns, and scored a TD on the ground with 32 rushing yards as well. Sophomore wide receiver Kyle Reynolds had his first 100 yard receiving game, with 117 yards on five catches and two touchdowns. Junior running back T.J. Franzese had 19 carries for 103 yards, his third 100 yard game of the season and sixth of his career. He also had 35 yards and a touchdown receiving.  Senior linebackers Noah Joseph and Jeff DeVico each had 11 tackles in their final home game, and Joseph had two tackles for losses including a sack. Union had 10 tackles for losses that accounted for 32 yards.

The Dutchmen exploded for 23 points in the second quarter to open up the contest. In the quarter, Union had 147 yards, including a long drive that started with 5:15 left in the first period  and ended up as a 14 play, 86-yard scoring drive in 7:17. Eck hit Reynolds for 15 yards wih 13:05 left in the half for a 13-7 lead (the PAT failed). Union's Bill Meile recovered a fumble at the USMMA 11 with 9:19 left, and two plays later, Darnell Thomas rushed in from two yards out for a 20-7 lead. Another Mariner turnover produced more points for the Dutchmen. Senior safety Cam Johnson intercepted a pass at the Union 40, and with 5:35 remaining the Dutchmen started at their own 43. In six plays and 57 yards in 2:30, Union made it 27-7 as Eck fired a 23 yard touchdown strike to Reynolds.

The only scoring in the third quarter came just 2:34 into the period. Connor Eck rushed in from nine yards out on the first play of the drive that started when Joseph recovered a fumble at the USMMA 9. With 1:19 left, the Dutchmen started a drive at their own 21, and five plays and 79 yards later, senior fullback Tim Hersey rushed in from one yard out just four seconds in the fourth quarter for a 44-7 lead. Union wrapped up the scoring with a seven yard rushing TD from Dylas Schuck with 7:13 left to play, capping a seven play, 73 yard drive in 3:53 that provided the eventual 51-7 final.

Merchant Marine wraps up its season next weekend with a chance to finish at the .500 mark.  The Mariners will host St. Lawrence on November 10 at 1:00 pm for the Hoffman Cup.