CASTINE, Maine – Maine Maritime Academy football fell to the United States Merchant Marine Academy, 56-31 on Saturday at Ritchie Field in the NEWMAC opener for both teams.
USMMA held Maine Maritime on their opening drive, and responded with an 11-play, 63-yard scoring drive capped off by a 12-yard touchdown run from Joseph Bellomo. Jake McDonough added an extra point to give the visitors a 7-0 lead.
Maine Maritime was forced to punt on their next possession, and USMMA put together a 7-play, 68-yard scoring drive, this time capped off by a four-yard rush from quarterback Brice Moore. McDonough's extra point was good once again to give USMMA a 14-0 lead.
Corey Creeger (Biddeford, Maine) put Maine Maritime on the board to start the second quarter, kicking off the drive with a 40-yard scramble down the field and capping off the drive with a one-yard touchdown run to close the USMMA lead to 14-6.
USMMA answered with a touchdown on their next drive, to make it 21-6 with 11:26 to play in the half, but Maine Maritime continued to battle. Maine Maritime used a timely roughing the passer penalty following a 43-yard reception from Creeger to Jordan Susi (South Portland, Maine) to set up another Creeger touchdown carry, but the two-point conversion failed and Maine Maritime still faced a two-score deficit (21-12).
Bellomo added his second touchdown of the game late in the half to send USMMA into halftime with a 28-12 advantage.
USMMA added to their lead in the third quarter, when Moore picked up his third touchdown carry of the afternoon and Luke Tiefenthaler grabbed his first touchdown carry of the game to make it 42-12.
Maine Maritime responded with a pair of big receptions from Creeger to Susi, to set up 16-yard touchdown run by Creeger making it 42-18. USMMA stopped Maine Maritime's momentum with another touchdown run from Moore to make it 49-18.
Maine Maritime capitalized on a penalty following USMMA's punt, putting together a 5-play, 39-yard scoring drive, capped off by a Creeger touchdown toss to freshman Mason Kaserman (Portland, Maine). The two-point conversion failed and USMMA took a 49-24 lead into the final quarter.
Both teams recorded touchdowns in the fourth quarter. USMMA picked up their touchdown in their first drive of the quarter on a five-yard touchdown carry from Krystian Abbott to make it 56-24.
Maine Maritime's Zackery Brannon (Buxton, Maine) recorded his second touchdown throw of the season when he found John Friend (Islip, N.Y.) in the end zone for a 20-yard reception. Devanie Cunningham's (Asheville, N.C.) extra point was good, making it 56-31.
USMMA ran the final 2:19 off the clock and captured the NEWMAC victory.
Creeger led Maine Maritime's offense with 152 passing yards on six completions and a touchdown and added 80 yards and three touchdowns on the ground. Susi led Maine Maritime's receivers with 119 yards on four catches and came up big on kickoff returns, tallying 118 yards on five returns.
Moore led USMMA with 137 rushing yards and four touchdowns, while Tiefenthaler added 93 yards and a touchdown. Anthony Sandoval led the King's Point defense with six tackles, including four solo stops.
Maine Maritime combined for 323 yards of total offense, led by 172 passing yards, while USMMA tallied 590 total yards of offense, led by 577 yards on the ground.
Maine Maritime falls to 0-3 on the season and 0-1 in the NEWMAC, while USMMA improves to 2-1 overall and 1-0 in conference play. Maine Maritime hits the road next Saturday to take on WPI at 12:00 pm.