GAME #10 FOOTBALL PREVIEW: Bears Battle Merchant Marine for Secretaries' Cup

GAME #10 FOOTBALL PREVIEW: Bears Battle Merchant Marine for Secretaries' Cup
COAST GUARD (6-3, 4-2) AT MERCHANT MARINE (7-1, 5-1)
ON THE AIR: The game will be streamed live on ESPN3
THE SERIES: Merchant Marine leads 32-14, the Mariners have won three straight and eight of the last 10.
THE RIVALRY: The teams meet at the end of the season for the second straight season. The two schools met in the final game of the regular season from 1991-2005 until Coast Guard joined the New England Football Conference, a two division conference which needed the last week of the season for a championship game, thus the game was moved to September. The game has similar pageantry as the Army-Navy game.
Coast Guard and Merchant Marine first squared off for the "The Secretary of Transportation Cup" or Secretary's Cup in 1981. While the Bears and Mariners rivalry has always been a natural one, it was enhanced when the Maritime Administration was switched from the Department of Commerce to join Coast Guard in the Department of Transportation, however , the name of the contest was pluralized to Secretaries' Cup when the U.S. Coast Guard moved to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in 2003.
This will be the 47th meeting between the two schools with Merchant Marine holding a 32-14 edge. The Secretaries' Cup was established in 1981 and the Mariners hold a 25-12 lead in the battle for the Cup. Merchant Marine has won eight of the last 10 meetings. After the Academies' first matchup in 1949, the two teams played again in 1965 and 1966 before resuming the matchup in 1974 and continuing until 1979. After not matching up in 1980, the teams have met every year since.
The Bears and Mariners were conference rivals in the Freedom Football Conference from 1992-2003 before Coast Guard left to join the Liberty League. Last season the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) sponsored football for the first time. Coast Guard is a full conference member while Merchant Marine are associate members of the league for football.
LAST YEAR:  Senior quarterback Brice Moore carried 40 times for 210 yards and a pair of touchdowns and Merchant Marine scored 21 unanswered points  in the fourth quarter to beat Coast Guard 48-23 to win the Secretaries' Cup in a New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) game to close out the season for the Bears.
Coast Guard turned the ball over four times in the fourth quarter after not turning it over in the first three quarters of the game.
The Mariners triple-option offense would finish with 456 yards of total offense, 423 of those on the ground. Merchant Marine ran the ball on 81 of its 85 plays.
Coast Guard had 419 yards of total offense, 311 passing and 108 rushing.
Coast Guard rallied from a 27-10 third quarter deficit with a pair of touchdown pass from sophomore quarterback Ryan Jones. He threw a 23-yard touchdown to senior Darius Adams and then a 68-yard strike to freshman Justin Moffatt with 1:17 left in the third to get the Bears back in the game, following the missed extra point, Coast Guard had cut the deficit to 27-23.
That is when the game turned. Coast Guard turned the ball over on all four possessions in the fourth quarter.
Sophomore Joe Vitelli returned the ensuing kickoff 83 yards to the 8-yard line. Moore would score on a 3-yard run on the first play of the fourth quarter pushing the lead to 34-23 with 14:56 left.
Coast Guard would fumble the ensuing kickoff, but the Bears defense held the Mariners and a missed field goal attempt gave the ball back to the Bears.
The key play of the game would be the next play from scrimmage when senior Cody Bain caught a pass and fumbled and junior Brooks Cannell scooped it up and ran 26 yards for the score making the score 41-23 with 13:15 left.
Jones would be intercepted in the end zone  by senior Anthony Sandoval, his first of two fourth quarter interceptions in the end zone, on the next possession.
Moore's 4-yard touchdown run with 3:48 left would close the scoring and Sandoval had his second interception in the end zone of the quarter with 1:45 left before Merchant Marine ran the clock out.
Jones had the best game of his career as he finished 24 of 36 for 311 yards and three touchdowns while also rushing for 45 yards.
Adams had eight catches for 108 yards and two touchdowns in the final game of his injury plaqued senior season which saw him miss five games due to injury.
Freshman Justin Moffatt was also over 100 yards receiving on the day as he caught a pair of passes for 110 yards. Junior defensive tackle Jack Brandt led the Bears with 11 tackles, eight solo while sophomore Mark Wicke had nine solo tackles.
Coast Guard got the ball first and had a 15-play drive which resulted in a 20-yard field goal by junior Cole Austin with 8:16 left in the opening quarter.
The Mariners would take the lead on its first possession and got its first lucky bounce of the afternoon when junior fullback Wiley Martin fumbled as he neared the end zone, but Vitelli fell on it for the touchdown and 7-3 lead with 5:54 left in the first quarter.
Coast Guard appeared to answer and take the lead 10-7 on a 72-yard touchdown pass to Adams, but a hold call would negate the touchdown.
The Bears punted and the senior fullback Luke Tiefenthaler's 4-yard run capped a 15 play, 71-yard drive making the score 14-3 with 24 seconds left in the first quarter.
Merchant Marine would score again on its third straight possession to start the game when Martin's 2-yard run pushed the lead to 21-3 with 9:07 left in the half.
Coast Guard would get its first touchdown of the game on a 36-yard touchdown pass from Jones to Adams with 5:48 left in the half to make it 21-10 at halftime.
LAST WEEK: Junior quarterback Ryan Jones threw a pair of touchdowns and ran for another leading Coast Guard to a 24-10 win over WPI in a New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC)  game, the final home game of the season for the Bears.
Coast Guard had 374 yards of total offense and held WPI to just 200 total yards in the win. The Bears held a 23-12 advantage in first down and won time of possession 37:07 to 22:53.
The Bears had 191 yards in the first half holding WPI to 61 yards while holding a 19:49 to 10:11 time of possession in the opening half.
Jones was outstanding for the Bears.  The junior signal caller completed a career-high 30 passes and was 30-for-37 for 251 yards and the two touchdowns.  Sophomore Justin Moffatt finished with eight catches for 82 yards, freshman Damaso Jaime hauled in seven balls for 66 yards and sophomore Jon Wagner and junior Miguel Moroles both caught six passes, combining for 77 receiving yards.  Wagner led the rushing attack for CGA with 63 yards in 16 carries. 
Senior linebacker Behne led the way with 12 tackles for Bears while sophomore Colby Coco added three pass breakups to go along with six stops and junior Michael Goldsworthy chipped in with a pair of tackles-for-loss.
Merchant Marine rolled to a 44-10 win at Catholic. The Mariners finished the game with 448 yards of total offense (389 rushing and 59 passing) and allowed just 194 yards to the Cardinals (negative-36 rushing and 230 passing). The Merchant Marine defense had a total of seven sacks in the game and the Mariners forced three turnovers.
WINNING SEASON SECURED: Coast Guard enters the final game of the season 6-3 overall and 4-2 in the NEWMAC. The six wins for the Bears are the most since the team finished 8-2 and won the NEFC Bogan Division in 2007. The win ensures first winning season since the Bears were 5-4 in 2012.
PUTTING THE "D" IN COAST GUARD: The Bears defense has been outstanding over the past three games allowing just 23 points total. Infact since allowing 35 points in a 38-35 win over Norwich on Sept. 22nd, the defense has allowed more than 13 points, just once in those five games, allowing just 11.6 points per game in the last five games.
JONES NAMED NEWMAC PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Junior quarterback Ryan Jones was named the NEWMAC Offensive Athlete of the Week as he accounted for all three touchdowns in Coast Guard's 24-10 home win over WPI on Saturday.
Jones completed a career-high 30 passes, going 30 for 37 for 251 yards while throwing a pair of touchdown passes and running for another to secure a winning season for the first time since 2012 and lead the Bears to more than five wins for the first time since 2007 when the team won the NEFC Bogan Division and finished 8-2.
He threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to sophomore Justin Moffatt for the only touchdown on the first half as the Bears led 9-3 at halftime.
Jones would score on a 2-yard run in the third quarter and throw a 6-yard touchdown pass to freshman Damaso Jamie with 5:29 left to put the game away.
AUSTIN BOOTS WAY INTO CGA RECORD BOOK: Senior Cole Austin tied the Coast Guard single-season record with his 12th field goal of the season on Saturday. He is 12 of 17 on the season. His leads the NEWMAC and is fourth natinoally with 1.33 field goals per game.
TOUGH SCHEDULE IN 2018: Coast Guard is 6-3 overall with all three losses to very good teams. In fact, the three teams that the Bears have lost to have a combined record of 21-5 for a .808 winning percentage. Union (6-2), Springfield (7-2) and MIT (8-1) are the three teams that Coast Guard has lost to this season.
COACH GEORGE IS BEARS WINS LEADER: Coast Guard head coach Bill George, in his 20th season, has a record 69 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.
SCOUTING COAST GUARD: The Bears look to spoil Merchant Marine's chance at a share of the NEWMAC Championship and beat the Mariners at Kings Point for the first time since 1996. The Bears, who have lost 10 straight on the road in the series, will finish in a three-way tie for second place with a win on Saturday.
Junior quarterback Ryan Jones is 142 of 244 for 1,530 yards with seven  touchdowns and 11 interceptions this season. Jones is second on the team with 329 rushing yards and five rushing touchdowns. He completed a career-high 30 passes going 30 of 37 in the win over WPI on Saturday.
Sophomore Chris Gardner leads the Bears with 511 rushing yards and five rushing touchdowns
Sophomore wide receiver Justin Moffatt leads the NEWMAC with 61 receptions and 751 receiving yards with two touchdowns. 
Coast Guard is averaging 19.9 points per game and 334.3 yards of total offense, 189.8 passing and 144.6 rushing. 
Senior linebacker Jake Behne leads the team with 85 tackles, 44 solo while junior strong safety Mark Wicke is second with 63 tackles (31 solo).  Junior linebacker R.J. Robiskie is second in the NEWMAC with 6.5 sacks and has a team-high 11 tackles for loss.
The Bears are allowing 16.4  points and 319.9 yards per game, 185.2 yards passing and 134.7 yards rushing.
Senior kicker Cole Austin is 12 of 17 on field goals this season while making 15 of 17 extra points. He tied the CGA single-season record with his 12th field goal on Saturday.
Senior Chip Crowley has also been tremendous this season. He is averaging 40.6 yards per punt to lead the NEWMAC and ranks 12th nationally this season. He has punted 38 times, with eight inside the 20, four of 50 or more yards and a long of 69 yards.
SCOUTING MERCHANT MARINE: The Mariners, who have won four straight, can win a share of the NEWMAC Championship and keep alive a chance for an at-large bid to the NCAA Division III playoffs with a win on Saturday. They would share the NEWMAC Championship with the winner of the MIT/Springfield game. 
Merchant Marine, which runs the triple-option, has the top scoring offense in the NEWMAC averaging 28.3 points per game. The Mariners are averaging a NEWMAC best 388.8 yards per game, 287.6 rushing and 101.1 passing. 
Junior quarterback Krystian Abbott is 51 of 98 with for 809 yards with six touchdowns and three interceptions and leads the team with 156 carries, 449 yards and five touchdowns.  Merchant Marine has 23 rushing touchdowns with eight different players scoring.
Junior wide receiver Luke Jamison, who leads the team with 404 receiving yards and four touchdowns as well as junior wide receiver Joe Vitelli (255 yards, one touchdown) leads the Mariners with 20 receptions each.
Merchant Marine has the top rush defense in the NEWMAC allowing just 52.5 yards per game. The Mariners are allowing 18.4 points and 311.6 yards per game this season.
Junior linebacker Reno Dubreuil leads the team with 46 tackles (24 solo) to go with 2.5 sacks. Senior defensive tackle Charles Deegan (24 tackles) leads the Mariners with 10 tackles for loss.
Junior Gavin Garter is 10 of 14 on field goals while making 20 of 24 extra points this season..
Coast Guard at Merchant Marine, noon
Maine Maritime at Catholic, noon
Springfield at MIT, noon
Norwich at WPI, noon
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