KINGS POINT, N.Y. – Sophomore fullback Luke Tiefenthaler rushed for 172 yards while senior quarterback Matt McDaniels ran for 114 yards leading Merchant Marine to a 14-3 win over Coast Guard to win the Secretaries' Cup.
The Mariners rushed for 347 yards and finished with 367 yards of total offense while Coast Guard was held to just 162 yards of total offense, just 13 rushing and only 48 yards in the second half.
Junior quarterback Derek Victory was 14 of 29 for 149 yards with two interceptions and he set the Coast Guard career mark for completions as he finished the day with 429 breaking the mark of 425 held by Cory Anderson (2002-05).
There was no scoring in the first quarter as Coast Guard punted three times and Merchant Marine punted twice and missed a 44-yard field goal. The Bears were held to just two yards of offense in the opening quarter while the Mariners finished with 55 total yards.
Merchant Marine (1-0) got on the board on a 20-yard touchdown pass from McDaniels to classmate David Gregory with 11:06 left in the second quarter capping a 96-yard drive. The key play in the drive was a 61-yard run by sophomore fullback Luke Tiefenthaler. That completed pass was the only completion for McDaniels (1-5, 20 yards) in the game.
Coast Guard (1-1) responded by driving down to the Merchant Marine 9-yard line, but Victory was intercepted at the 1-yard line by Stone with 6:58 left in the first half. It was the Bears first turnover of the season.
The Bears defense forced a punt from the end zone and Coast Guard got the ball back at the Mariners 46-yard line and got on the board on a 32-yard field goal by senior Tyler Henning with 1:08 left in half.
Merchant Marine had 201 yards in the first half with Tiefenthaler leading the way with 98 rushing yards on eight carries as the Mariners ran for 181 yards in the half. Coast Guard had 114 yards in the first half, 104 passing. Victory was 8 of 18 for 104 yards in the first half.
Merchant Marine took the second half kickoff and went 71 yards with sophomore fullback DeVar Jones scoring on a 3-yard run to take a 14-3 lead with 9:02 left in the third quarter. The Mariners converted a 4th-and-2 from the Bears 24 yard-line to keep the drive alive.
The Bears, after going three-and-out on each of its first two second half possessions, got their only first down of the third quarter on a 19-yard pass from Victory to senior Jordan Groff on the final play of the quarter.
Victory was intercepted by senior Skyler Stone, for the second time in the game, on the Bears first possession of the fourth quarter at the Mariners 35-yard line with 14:04 left. Coast Guard would only have one other possession in the fourth quarter as Merchant Marine got the ball back with 6:50 left and were able to run the clock out.
Merchant Marine held a huge advantage in time of possession (36:40 to 23:20) finishing with 21 first downs to the Bears 11. The Mariners fumbled four times, but did not turn the ball over recovering the fumbles each time while the Bears turned it over twice.
"I'm disappointed in our offense, we need to have more production. We didn't move the ball well enough to win the game," said Coast Guard head coach Bill George. "We threw two picks and they ran triple option and didn't fumble the ball and that is to their credit. Our defense played outstanding, but we lost the turnover battle."
Groff had a game-high six receptions for 66 yards for Coast Guard.
Senior linebacker Kyle Wood led the Bears with nine tackles while classmates Mark Behne and Eli Maurer each added eight tackles.
Coast Guard will travel to Washington, D.C. next week to take on Catholic with kickoff set for 1 p.m. on Saturday in the final non-conference game of the season.