KINGS POINT, N.Y. – Junior Ryan Jones threw three touchdown passes as Coast Guard captured the Secretaries' Cup for the first time since 2014 with a 26-12 over archrival Merchant Marine spoiling the Mariners hopes of a share of the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) championship.
It was Coast Guard's first win at Merchant Marine since 1996 and the first road win in the series for head coach Bill George.
The Bears finish 7-3 overall and 5-2 in the NEWMAC while Merchant Marine finishes 7-2 overall and 5-2 in the conference. The seven wins for the Bears are the most since the team finished 8-2 and won the NEFC Bogan Division in 2007.
Jones finished 22 of 42 for 269 yards with three touchdowns and an interception. Sophomore Justin Moffatt had a game-high 10 receptions for 102 yards and a touchdown while freshman Damaso Jaime had eight receptions for a career-high 123 yards and two touchdowns in the win.
Moffatt, with his 10 receptions, set the CGA single-season record with 71 catches breaking the record of 70 set by Eric Gerken in 2011.
Coast Guard held Merchant Marine to just 58 yards in the second half and the Bears had three interceptions in a span of 2:27 in the fourth quarter as the Mariners were forced to throw to comeback.
Senior linebacker Jake Behne had a career-high 18 tackles, 15 solo to finish the season with 103. Behne, juniors Michael Goldsworthy, Dan Dinges and Patrick Crowley each registered an interception in the win.
The Bears finished with 331 yards, 269 passing and 62 rushing while the Mariners had 212 yards, 191 rushing and 21 passing.
Coast Guard forced a three-and-out on the opening possession, but the Bears fumbled on the second play. Merchant Marine would miss a 25-yard field goal with 8:02 left in the opening quarter and the game remained scoreless.
The Mariner defense came up big when senior Jesse Byorth returned an interception 22 yards to the Coast Guard 4 and on the next play, senior Wiley Martin scored giving the Mariners a 7-0 following the extra point with 6:25 left.
Moffatt had a 28 yard kick return giving Coast Guard the ball at the Mariner 48 and the Bears drove to the Mariner 1-yard line, when Chris Gardner was stopped on 4th and goal with 2:59 left in the first quarter.
The Bears would tie it up on a 15 yard touchdown pass from Jones to Jaime with 27 seconds left in the first quarter after senior Cole Austin added the PAT.
Merchant Marine took a 10-7 lead on a 26 yard field goal by junior Gavin Gartner with 8:20 left in the half. The field goal capped a 17 play, 69 yard drive that took just over seven minutes off the clock.
Coast Guard came up big late in the first half when Behne intercepted Abbott and returned it 22 yards to the Mariner 30 with 35 seconds left, that would be the key play in this game.
Jones would fire a 29 yard touchdown pass to Moffatt with 12 seconds left in the half on 3rd-and-9, the extra point was missed and Coast Guard led 13-10 at halftime. Jones was 12 of 26 for 156 yards in the first half while Jaime led the way with five receptions for 73 yards.
Coast Guard struck on the opening drive of the second half marching 65 yards in just over two minutes as Jones threw a 30 yard touchdown to Jamie giving the Bears a 20-10 lead with 12:57 left in the third quarter
Sophomore Jon Wagner's five yard touchdowns run with 6:36 left capped a 10 play, 81 yard drive as the Bears took a 26-10 lead.
The Mariners would throw interceptions on their next three possessions and Coast Guard took a safety on purpose with 15 seconds left to close the scoring.