Castine, ME – Junior quarterback Matthew Rende (Augusta, ME) ran for 147 yards and two scores in a dramatic 28-27 victory Saturday afternoon (October 23) over Massachusetts Maritime Academy in a Bogan Division, New England Football Conference (NEFC) contest.
The Mariners were playing from behind all day but took a 28-27 lead with 7:30 to go in the fourth quarter on a Todd Murphy (Middlesex, VT) touchdown run. The Admiral's Cup came down to the last play of the contest though when Massachusetts Maritime kicker Brandon Rodrigues (Brockton, MA) attempted a 38-yard field goal as time expired but missed it short left giving Maine Maritime their 7th straight victory over the Buccaneers.
With the win MMA improves to 6-1 and 4-1 in the Bogan Division while Massachusetts Maritime drops to 4-4 and 3-2 in the Bogan Division. The Mariners remain in first place in the Bogan Division.
The Buccaneers took a 6-0 lead on their second possession of the game when Matt White (Westwood, MA) went 37-yards down the left sideline for the touchdown run. The score was set up after a Mariner fumble recovered by Sean Carver (Summerfield, FL) which gave the ball to the visitors on the Mariners' own 37-yard line. One play later White found the end zone but the extra point was missed.
The Mariners quickly responded with a lengthy 14-play, 64-yard drive that resulted in a touchdown and a 7-6 lead. Matt Rende capped off the drive with a nine yard run that found the end zone giving Maine Maritime the one point lead.
Massachusetts Maritime wasted no time themselves, scoring on their next possession, taking a 13-7 lead into the second quarter. Nathan Sherr (Lynnfield, MA) carried the load throughout the drive, rushing four times for 58 yards. Sherr finished off the drive with a 19-yard touchdown run and Jarad Horey (Ledyard, CT) converted the extra point to take the six-point advantage.
Both teams exchanged punts before the Buccaneer defense forced another Maine Maritime fumble, which was recovered at their own 46-yard line by Mike Bois (Lakeville, MA). The Buccaneers once again took advantage of the turnover and marched 54-yards in nine plays to the end zone and the 20-7 lead. Matt White (19 rushes for 96 yards) capped off the drive with a 6-yard run for his second touchdown of the game.
Maine Maritime kept fighting and took the ensuing kickoff back to their own 41-yard line. The Mariners quickly worked their way down field and scored with just 26 seconds left in the half on a Jim Bower (So. Paris, ME) run from 2-yards out. The extra point was good and the Mariners managed to close the gap to 20-13 going into the locker room.
The Buccaneers were the first team to strike in the second half when their defense gave the offense great field position after recovering their third fumble of the game. James Hutchinson (Pembroke, MA) forced the fumble and recovered the ball on the Maine Maritime 7-yard line. The Buccaneer offense wasted little time, scoring on their next play, when Matt White (3 touchdowns) took the ball over the right side for the score.
Trailing 27-13, Maine Maritime began to buckle down defensively and the offense started taking care of the ball en route to the dramatic comeback. With 4:18 left in the third quarter, the Mariners constructed a six play, 54-yard drive that ended with Matt Rende working his way through the Buccaneer defense and into the end zone from 21-yards out. The Mariners kicked the extra point and inched closer at 27-20.
The Mariner defense preceded take over, allowing just nine yards on the next two Buccaneer possessions. The Maine Maritime defense forced a Mass. Maritime punt from the back of their own end zone with 8:52 left in the fourth quarter. The punt was into the wind and went just 23 yards before it was downed at the Buccaneers 27-yard line.
The Mariner offense took care of the rest, pounding the ball for 27-yards on just four plays for the score to tie the game at 27-27. Todd Murphy capped off the drive with an 11-yard touchdown run. The call of the game came next, as head coach Chris McKenney, chose to go for the two-point conversion and the win. Matt Rende took the snap and handed the ball to All-American Jim Bower who plunged through the middle and crossed the goal line giving MMA the 28-27 lead.
The Buccaneers had one last shot to win the game with 2:53 left on the clock. With the ball on the their own 32 yard line, quarterback Mike Stanton (Quincy, MA) threw a 34-yard strike to Kyle Rowe (Plymouth, MA), taking Mass. Maritime down to the Mariner 34. Stanton and Rowe hooked up again for nine yards on the next play to get the Buccaneers inside the MMA 25 with just under a minute left.
Four plays later the Buccaneers were forced into a 38-yard field goal attempt that missed short and left, giving Maine Maritime the dramatic and hard fought win.
The Mariners defense was led by Joel Chadbourne (Westbrook, ME) who collected 10 tackles. Wade Mondoux (Berwick, ME) was outstanding in the victory, collecting eight solo tackles and three tackles for loss. Linebacker Brock Lawrence (Benton, ME) had an interception and a fumble recovery.
Massachusetts Maritime Academy got outstanding performances from Walter Butler (Bourne, MA) and Mike Bois. Butler led all defenders with 16 tackles while Bois collected 14. Both players had 11 solo tackles each and a tackle for loss.
The Mariners will be back in action next week when they travel to Bridgewater State for a 12 pm kick-off. The Buccaneers will be back in action next Saturday when they host Westfield State College at 12pm.