Game Notes: Maine Maritime Academy vs. United States Merchant Marine Academy

Game Notes: Maine Maritime Academy vs. United States Merchant Marine Academy

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Saturday's Game: Maine Maritime Academy (0-2) vs. United States Merchant Marine Academy (1-1), 12:00 pm, Ritchie Field, Castine, Maine.

Series History: This is only the second meeting between Maine Maritime Academy and the United States Merchant Marine Academy. Maine Maritime took the first-ever meeting in 1964, 19-12.

Maine Maritime Academy's Last Game: Maine Maritime Academy's Corey Creeger 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 last Saturday.

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 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. 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 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 added 88 rushing yards, and Jordan Susi contributed a team-high 88 receiving yards, including a long-catch of 38 yards. Captain Cody O'Brien led Maine Maritime's defense with 10 tackles, while teammates Derek Clark and James Tanguay, II added nine and eight tackles respectively.

United States Merchant Marine Academy's Last Game: USMMA enters Saturday's game, after falling to SUNY Maritime 38-31 last week.

USMMA jumped out to a 14-0 lead early, but the Privateers answered back in the second and the two teams ended up knotted up at 24-24 at halftime. Merchant Marine jumped ahead early in the second half and led 31-24 after the third, however Maritime scored two touchdowns in the fourth, including the go-ahead TD with just 1:09 to play, to claim the victory.

Brice Moore was the USMMA's leading rusher with 142 yards and one touchdown, while Luke Tiefenthaler amassed 80 yards on the ground and Joseph Bellomo ended the day with 51 yards and two scores. Moore was also 13-for-29 passing for 173 yards with one interception. His top target was sophomore Joe Vitelli, who hauled six catches for 126 yards.

Defensively, Brooks Cannell tied for the game-high with 12 total tackles (six solo, six assisted) to go along with two pass breakups and the interception returned for the 44-yard score. Senior Justin Sydlowski was right behind with 11 tackles (four solo, seven assisted). The USMMA defense also picked up three sacks, with Jake Wallace and Trever Huss each getting solo sacks and Charles Deegan and Addison Radcliff combined for the other.

Maine Maritime Academy Mariners: Quarterback Corey Creeger leads the Maine Maritime offense with 223 passing yards and 225 rushing yards. The senior quarterback has scored three rushing touchdowns and has one touchdown toss. James Ferrar has 134 yards on 28 carriers. Jordan Susi has six receptions for 126 yards and a touchdown and has returned two kickoffs for 66 yards.

Cody O'Brien leads the Maine Maritime defense with 16 tackles, Andrew Plata leads the team with 2.5 tackles for a loss of seven yards and John Bennett leads the team with one interception return of 45 yards. 

As a team, Maine Maritime averages 377.5 yards of offense per game, including 235 rushing yards per game and 19 points per game.

United States Merchant Marine Academy Mariners: Quarterback Brice Moore leads USMMA with 335 passing yards and 187 yards on 36 carries and three touchdowns. Joseph Bellomo has 186 yards on 37 carries and three touchdowns. Joe Vitelli leads the receivers with nine receptions for 240 yards and a touchdown.

Defensively, Brooks Cannell leads the team with 20 tackles and an interception returned for 44 yards.

As a team USMMA averages 511.5 yards of offense per game, including 344 rushing yards per game and has scored 43.5 points per game. 

High Honors: Following his impressive performance against Massachusetts Maritime last week, senior quarterback Corey Creeger was named the NEWMAC Football Offensive Athlete of the Week. Creeger is the first Maine Maritime Academy football player to earn the honor in the inaugural season of NEWMAC Football. 

More High Honors: On Tuesday, Corey Creeger was named to the D3football.com Team of the Week.

Record Breaker: Corey Creeger's 369 yards of total offense set a new Maine Maritime Academy football single-game record for most total offense yards gained, breaking the previous record of 352 set by Steve Tardif in 1996.

1,000-Yard Passer: Against Massachusetts Maritime, Corey Creeger surpassed 1,000 career passing yards, becoming just the 13th player in Maine Maritime history to reach that milestone.

Knocking on the door of 2,500 yards: Both James Ferrar and Jacob Doolan are closing in on 2,500 career rushing yards, a feat that has only been accomplished by 10 players in program history. Ferrar enters Saturday's game with 2,454 yards, while Doolan has 2,312 career rushing yards. 

NEWMAC: The newly formed football league consists of eight elite institutions that come from six different states and have combined for 17 NCAA championship appearances. The eight founding members are; Catholic University of America, MIT, Maine Maritime Academy, Norwich University, Springfield College, U.S. Coast Guard Academy, U.S. Merchant Marine Academy and WPI. 

Pregame Ceremony: Joining the President of Maine Maritime Academy, Dr. William J. Brennan, Maine Maritime Academy's Director of Athletics Steve Peed and and USMMA's Athletic Director Maureen White for Saturday's coin toss will be Mr. John Sutyak, Wheaton College's Director of Athletics and NEWMAC Past President.