CASTINE, Maine – Maine Maritime Academy's Corey Creeger (Biddeford, Maine) amassed 369 yards of total offense, rushing for 209 yards and three touchdowns, and recording 160 passing yards, in a difficult 34-25 loss to Massachusetts Maritime Academy in the 45th Annual Admiral's Cup on Saturday afternoon at Ritchie Field.
Maine Maritime's defense held the Buccaneers on their opening possession and capitalized on their opportunity quickly. The Mariners orchestrated a 5-play, 59-yard scoring drive, highlighted by a 44-yard rush by Creeger, to open up the possession and capped it off with a one-yard touchdown run by the senior quarterback to make it 6-0. TJ Morrill's (Durham, Maine) extra point attempt was good to make it 7-0.
The Buccaneers responded with a 34-yard field from George Lampros on their next drive, using nine-plays to march 52 yards down the field to make it 7-3.
The two teams exchanged scoreless possessions, before the Buccaneers answered late in the first quarter with a 10-yard touchdown pass from Chris Haggerty to Paul Sances. Massachusetts Maritime took a 10-7 lead on a good extra point kick from Lampros.
Later in the second quarter, both teams gathered interceptions, with Maine Maritime's coming with just over five minutes remaining in the half on a pick by John Bennett (Chelsea, Maine). Bennett returned the interception for 45 yards to the Buccaneer's 9-yard line, setting up a quick three-play scoring drive. Creeger's second touchdown score of the afternoon gave the Mariners a 13-10 lead, after the extra attempt was blocked by Massachusetts Maritime.
Massachusetts Maritime's Haggerty found Richie Phillips for a 31-yard touchdown reception, with 1:54 to go in the first half, capping off a six-play 54 yard scoring drive. Lampros added another successful extra point attempt to make it 17-13 in favor of the visitors.
The Mariners were unable to enter Massachusetts Maritime territory on their next possession, giving the Buccaneers a final chance in the half with 35 seconds remaining. Matt Long found open field and broke out for a 21-yard rush to spark a six-play 49-yard scoring drive that resulted in a 39-yard field goal from Lampros, to send the Buccaneers into halftime with a 20-13 advantage.
On the first drive of the second half, Maine Maritime made it to the Massachusetts Maritime 15-yard line but could not find the end zone, turning it over on downs. The Buccaneers opened up their drive with a 21-yard rush from Phillips, sparking an 11-play 85 yard drive and his own 3-yard touchdown run to make it 27-13.
Maine Maritime put together their own 11-play scoring drive led by a 21-yard touchdown jaunt from Jacob Doolan (Fairfield, Maine) but the Mariners' two-point conversion failed, and the Mariners found themselves down by eight (27-19).
The Mariners held the Buccaneers to a three-and-out on their opening possession of the fourth quarter and responded with a 10-play 79-yard scoring drive capped off by Creeger's third touchdown of the game.
Unfortunately for the Mariners, Haggerty found Ryan Taft for a 46-yard reception on their next drive, sparking a four-yard touchdown pass from Haggerty to Derek Stegman and an extra point from Lampros to give Massachusetts Maritime a 34-25 lead.
Creeger found Doolan once again for a big play, this time a 43-yard catch putting the Mariners on the Buccaneer-32, but the Mariners turned the ball over on downs. Massachusetts Maritime took over with 2:57 remaining and used as much clock as possible in five-plays, giving the Mariners one last chance, but the Buccaneers held off the Mariners in the final seconds.
Creeger led the Mariners with 369 yards and three touchdowns, while James Ferrar (Cumberland, Maine) added 88 rushing yards, and Jordan Susi (South Portland, Maine) contributed a team-high 88 receiving yards, including a long-catch of 38 yards. Captain Cody O'Brien (Wells, Maine) led Maine Maritime's defense with 10 tackles, while Derek Clark (Winslow, Maine) and James Tanguay, II (Manchester, N.H.) added nine and eight tackles respectively.
Phillips led the Buccaneers with 146 rushing yards on 25 carriers, and a touchdown, while Taft led the receivers with 51 yards. Quarterback Haggerty accounted for 226 yards and three touchdowns. Sean Smialek led Massachusetts Maritime's defense with 12 tackles, including six solo stops and Hunter Leveille added 11 tackles (9 solo) and an interception.
The Mariners fall to 0-2 on the season, while the Buccaneers improve to 1-1. Maine Maritime returns to action next Saturday, September 23 when they host the United States Merchant Marine Academy at 12:00 pm for their NEWMAC opener.