GAME #5 FOOTBALL PREVIEW: Bears Host Catholic on Parents' Weekend

GAME #5 FOOTBALL PREVIEW: Bears Host Catholic on Parents' Weekend

CATHOLIC (2-2, 0-1) AT COAST GUARD (3-1, 1-0)
SEPT. 30TH --1:30 -- NEW LONDON, CONN.

ON THE AIR: The game will be aired live on WXLM-980 AM. There also both an audio and video stream available and those links can be found at on the football schedule page.

THE SERIES: The series is tied 2-2

LAST YEAR: Sophomore quarterback Ethan Goldcamp came off the bench and threw for 380 yards including 319 of those in the second half with three second half touchdowns, the first three of his career, as Coast Guard finished with a school record 492 passing yards, but it wasn't enough as the Bears, who trailed by 20 at halftime, fell just short of a stunning comeback falling to Catholic 37-35 on Parents' Weekend.

The game featured 1,102 yards of total offense with Catholic finishing with 622 yards (425 passing) while Coast Guard had 492 passing yards, but had negative 12 yards rushing for 480 yards.

Goldcamp was 23 of 44 for 380 yards. He was 19 of 38 for 319 yards in the final 30 minutes.

Coast Guard had three receivers with over 100 receiving yards as junior Darius Adams, playing his first year of football, had a huge game with eight receptions for 217 yards and a school-record tying three touchdowns, all in the second half. Junior Cody Bain had ten receptions for 121 yards while senior Kyle Jackson had eight receptions for 102 yards in the loss.

Catholic junior quarterback Jorge Pola was 24 of 34 for 366 yards with four touchdowns and two interceptions in the win.

LAST WEEK: Senior Cam Cecchini took a screen pass from junior Ethan Goldcamp and scampered 73 yards for a touchdown leading Coast Guard to 13-9 victory over Norwich to win The Mug in the inaugural New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) game for both teams.

It was the first meeting between the teams since the 2005 season.

Cecchini caught a screen pass from Goldcamp on 3rd-and-five with Norwich blitzing and went 73 yards for a touchdown breaking a 6-6 tie with 12:23 left and following the extra point the Bears took their first lead of the game 13-6.

Coast Guard finished with 275 yards of total offense, 203 passing while Norwich had 330 total yards, 178 of those on the ground.

Catholic lost its NEWMAC opener 38-21 at home against MIT. Rookie running back Chance LeGrand had an explosive game with 115 yards on 22 carries with a rushing score. Senior safety Luke Kern also turned in a career-best performance with 12 tackles, 1.5 for loss, two interceptions and a pass breakup.

NEWMAC FOOTBALL HAS BEGUN: The New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) began sponsoring the sport of football starting this season. Conference members, the United States Coast Guard Academy, MIT, Springfield College and WPI will be joined by Maine Maritime Academy, the United States Merchant Marine Academy, and Norwich University, who enter the NEWMAC as associate members in 2017. Football becomes the 20th conference championship and the league's ninth men's offering.

Springfield, WPI, and Merchant Marine have been participating in the Liberty League, while MIT, Coast Guard, and Maine Maritime were members of the New England Football Conference, and Norwich was a part of the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference. In addition to the connection Maine Maritime, Merchant Marine and Norwich have to Coast Guard, MIT, Springfield and WPI in football; they also have long-standing relationships with NEWMAC members in other sports.

COACH GEORGE IS BEARS WINS LEADER: Coast Guard head coach Bill George, in his 19th season, has a record 63 career wins as head coach at the Academy as he passed John Merriman for the most in program history in the win over Maine Maritime on Oct. 19th, 2013.

Merriman was the coach from (1930-1945) and the Gymnasium is named is his honor. In 2012, George passed NFL Hall of Famer and former Director of Athletics and head football coach Otto Graham, who had 43 wins in his two stints as head coach (1959-'65 and 1974-'75). Coach George led the Bears to a pair of NEFC Bogan Division championships in 2006 and 2007.

ESPN IS COMING TO NEW LONDON: Coast Guard will host Merchant Marine in the final game of the season this year as the team's battle for the Secetaries' Cup and the game will be carried live by the ESPN family of networks on Veterans Day, Nov. 11th at time to be announced.

Here is what the 2017 Coast Guard football captains have to say about the opportunity to play on ESPN

"We are ecstatic about opportunity ESPN has given us; we look forward to representing our nations' finest service academy in a classic rivalry against Merchant Marine. If you're watching Coast Guard football you aren't going to find any flashing lights or glamour. It's never been that way.  It never will.  What you will find is selflessness and college football in its purest form. There are no aspirations of playing at a higher level, only aspirations to one day be worthy of a commission as an officer in the U.S. Coast Guard, in the service of our country and humanity. In today's society, we are especially conscious of the sacrifices veterans and their families make. We are honored to be part of this nationwide celebration of America's heroes."

"I think this game will be a great opportunity for the team as well as for the Academy as a whole. It is a good way to get exposure on a popular network and educate people about the other two service Academies that can sometimes be forgotten.  I admire ESPN's commitment to honoring the members of the Armed Forces and I think the program is blessed to be able to play a long standing rivalry game on Veteran's Day weekend. I am personally excited for one of my last games of football here at the Academy to be as important and beneficial to the football program as this opportunity presents. Nonetheless, it will be a unique experience that I won't forget."

A LOOK BACK AT THE 1997 NCAA PLAYOFF TEAM: It has been 20 years since the 1997 football team made the program's second straight NCAA Playoff appearance. That team coached by Chuck Mills won the Freedom Football Conference (FFC) with a perfect 6-0 record and finished the regular season 9-1, the third best regular season football record recorded at the Academy. The Bears lost to Rowan 43-0 in the NCAA playoffs to finish 9-2. The nine wins is tied with the 1988 team for the most wins in a season.

Each week this season, we will take a look back at how that team did.

In week five the Bears beat Westfield State 44-28 to start 5-0 for the first time in 34 years as Brian Smicklas had a career-high 152 yards and three touchdowns in the win.

Smicklas scored on runs of 23 and 13 in the first quarter as the Bears led 17-6 after one quarter. The Bears led 38-12 at halftime as Al Thompson returned a kickoff 84 yards for a touchdown and Dan Warren threw a 5-yard touchdown to Tom Wallin late in the first half.

COAST GUARD CRACKS NEW ENGLAND TOP TEN: Coast Guard off to its best start since 2007 is ranked ninth in the first Grinold Chapter New England Division III football weekly rankings of the 2017 season.

Springfield received nine first place votes to top second place Framingham State (which received five first place votes) in this week's rankings, while Trinity, Western Connecticut and Salve Regina round out the top five. Amherst, which received the other first place vote this week, checks in at the sixth spot in the poll, while Middlebury, Curry, Coast Guard and Williams round out the inaugural rankings for the 2017 campaign.

The New England Division III Football Poll is presented by the Jack Grinold Eastern Massachusetts Chapter of the National Football Foundation, which also serves as the title sponsor of the weekly Gold Helmet Awards presented by the New England Football Writers Association throughout the season.

A 15-member panel representing all five New England Division III playing conferences will serve as voters in this year's poll, and rankings will be released each Monday afternoon through November 13th.

CROWLEY NAMED NEWMAC SPECIAL TEAMS ATHLETE OF THE WEEK: Junior punter Chip Crowley has been named the NEWMAC Special Teams Player of the Week for his performance in Coast Guard's 13-9 win over Norwich.

Crowley was a key all day long ss the Bears battled for field position in a defensive game. He averaged 44 yards on six punts and had three punts of 50 yards or more and pinned the Cadets to the 20-yard line or less four times including drives that started at the 8 and 17 yard lines.

He is averaging 38.5 per punt this season, second best in the NEWMAC, with seven of his 17 punts inside the 20 with three punts of over 50 yards and a long of 68 yards.

BEARS OFF TO FAST START: Coast Guard is off to a 3-1 start for the first time since 2007 and for just the fifth time in the last 29 years.

The Bears also started 3-1 in 1991, 1997, 2006 and 2007.

Coast Guard has already matched its win total from last year when the team finished 3-7.

LUCKY 7: Coast Guard has posted winning records in year's that end with the number 7 the last four times and are off to a 3-1 start here in 2017.

The Bears finished 5-4 in 1977, 6-2 in 1987, 9-2 in 1997, while winning the Freedom Football Conference and earning a berth in the NCAA Playoffs, and in 2007 the team was 8-2 and won the NEFC Bogan Division.

STINGY DEFENSE OFF TO HISTORICAL START: The Coast Guard defense, which has not allowed a touchdown in nine straight quarters, has allowed just 44 points this season. It is the least amount of points allowed through the first four games for the Bears in 43 years. The 1974 team allowed 43 points in its first four games.

The Bears have the top defense in the NEWMAC allowing just 11points per game, which is tied for 16th nationally in Division III. Coast Guard is allowing just 254 yards per game which is also best in the NEWMAC and ranks the Bears 26th nationally. The Bears also have the top rushing defense in the NEWMAC allowing just 105.5 yards per game.

NEWMAC'S TOP PASSER, GOLDCAMP, OUT THIS WEEK: Coast Guard junior quarterback Ethan Goldcamp, who leads the NEWMAC with 956 passing yards, 239 passing yards per game and 22 completions per game, will not play this week after leaving last week's game in the fourth quarter.

Goldcamp is 88 of 159 for 956 yards with five touchdowns on the year.

Coast Guard hopes to have him back when the Bears host Springfield on Oct. 7th.

SCOUTING COAST GUARD: Coast Guard hosts its first NEWMAC football game in school history as part of Parents' Weekend.

The Bears will be without starting quaterback Ethan Goldcamp and sophomore Ryan Jones will get his first collegiate start. He has thrown has thrown just two passes in his career, both this season, one was incomplete and the other one was an interception off of deflected pass on Saturday.

Freshman wide receiver Justin Moffatt and senior wide receiver Cody Bain each have 17 receptions and two touchdown receptions to lead the the team. Moffatt leads the Bears wtih 203 receiving yarsd while Bain is second with 179 yards.

Senior running back Cam Cecchini has 15 receptions for 123 yards and sophomore tight end Liam Middleton has 14 catches for 167 yards.

Cecchini leads the Bears with 56 carries for 202 rushing yards.

Coast Guard is averaging 18.3 points and 333.2 yards of total offense per game, 239 in the air and 94.2 on the ground.

The Bears have the top defense in the NEWMAC allowing just 11 points per game, which is tied for 16th nationally in Division III. Coast Guard is allowing just 254 yards per game which is also best in the NEWMAC and ranks the Bears 26th nationally. The Bears also have the top rushing defense in the NEWMAC allowing just 105.5 yards per game.

Sophomore cornerback Patrick Crowley leads the Bears wtih 28 tackles, 18 solo and two interceptions while junior linebacker Jake Behne is second with 27 tackles. Junior linebacker Titus Creamer (24 tackles) leads the team with three sacks while junior defensive tackle Jack Brandt (22 tackles) has a team-high five tackles for loss including two sacks.

Junior punter Chip Crowley, had a great day on Saturday to earn NEWMAC Special Teams Athlete of the Week honors.

He is averaging 38.5 per punt this season, second best in the NEWMAC, with seven of his 17 punts inside the 20 with three punts of over 50 yards and a long of 68 yards.

Junior placekicker Cole Austin has been outstading making six-of-seven field goal attempts and seven-of-eight PAT's this season.

SCOUTING CATHOLIC: The Cardinals are 2-2 after falling to MIT in the NEWMAC opener last week.

Sophomore quarterback Alejandro Ros is 54 of 127 for 718 yards with six touchdowns and three interceptions.

Junior wide receiver Andrew Keleher (129 yards) and Ray Riveros (120 yards) lead the team with nine receptions each.

Junior Nick Esposito leads the Cardinals with 47 carries for 181 yards and a score while freshman Chance Legrand has 39 carries for 168 yards and a touchdown.

Catholic is scoring 18 points per game. The Cardinals are averaging 277 total yards per game, last in the NEWMAC. They are throwing for 179.5 yards while adding 97.5 rushing yards per game.

The Cardinals defense is allowing 24.5 points per game and 446.5 yards per game, 240 passing and 206.5 rushing.

Senior strong safety Luke Kern leads the team with 45 tackles, 27 solo and two interceptions. Senior defensive end Patrick Vidal is second on the team with 36 tackles and leads the way with 9.5 tackles for loss and has three of the team's four sacks this season.

Senior Andrew DiNardo is the top punter in the NEWMAC as he is averaging 45.4 yards per punt with five inside the 20 and a long of 65 yards.

UP NEXT: Coast Guard will host Springfield on Oct. 7th with kickoff set for 1:30 as part of the annual Celebrate New London here at the Academy.

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