NORTHFIELD, Vt. (Oct. 7, 2017) – The USMMA football team went ahead on a touchdown late in the third quarter and used a strong fourth to power past NEWMAC opponent Norwich, 52-17, on Saturday up in Vermont. With the victory, the Mariners improve to 3-2 (2-1 NEWMAC), while the Cadets fall to 0-6 (0-3 NEWMAC).
Merchant Marine jumped out to a 7-0 lead late in the opening quarter when junior Wiley Martin (Polo, Mo.) ran in one-yard TD that capped off a 14-play, 60-yard drive and senior Jake McDonough's (Wilmington, N.C.) PAT kick was good.
Both teams traded field goals in the second quarter, as the Cadets' freshman Clyde Tamburro nailed a 30-yarder at 8:45 and senior Erik Swayne (Great Falls, Va.) converted a 22-yarder as time expired in the half to put Merchant Marine ahead 10-3 into the break.
Norwich quickly tied the score at 10-10 on just its third play from scrimmage to start the third quarter, when senior Nolan Aurelia hauled in a 16-yard pass from sophomore QB Matthew Chaffee. The Mariners responded on its very next drive when senior quarterback Brice Moore (Pace, Fla.) hooked up with sophomore Joe Vitelli (Warrington, Va.) for a 59-yard pass TD to take the lead back.
USMMA forced a three-and-out to take possession back over, however the Cadets picked off a pass at their two-yard line and returned it 34 yards to the 36 to set up a drive that lasted 7 plays and 64 yards to tie the score back up at 17-17 at 4:28 of the third on a 24-yard pass from Chaffee to freshman Tristan Weathers.
The go-ahead TD came for the Mariners on their ensuing drive, when sophomore Tyler Reihs (Moorpark, Calif.) ran in a five-yard TD with 39 seconds left in the quarter that completed an 11-play, 68-yard drive.
The Mariners scored four more touchdowns in the fourth to pull away – a 13-yard rush by Moore, an eight-yard run by Martin, a five-yard rush by sophomore James Early (Middletown, Md.) and a 36-yard fumble recovery by freshman Dan Walsh (Margate, N.J.) after sophomore Robert Grzymkowski (Stafford, Va.) forced the fumble.
Moore led the Mariner offense with 229 yards on the ground with the one score and also passed for 80 yards and one TD on 3-of-7 completions. Martin finished the day with 60 yards on the ground and junior Dominic Spadafore (Lodi, Calif.) contributed 50 rushing yards. Vitelli ended the day with two catches for 70 yards and the one receiving TD.
Defensively, junior Brooks Cannell (Ambler, Pa.) had a team-high seven tackles, while senior Justin Sydlowski (Plymouth, Mich.) and junior Brian Harris (Yonkers, N.Y.) both finished the day with five stops apiece. Junior Charles Deegan (Huntington, N.Y.) recorded the Mariners' only sack of the day which went for a loss of nine yards.
On special teams, McDonough was a perfect 7-for-7 on PATs and Swayne had one punt for 32 yards that landed within the Norwich 20-yard line. He also averaged 46.9 yards on eight kickoffs. Freshman returner Matt Restifo (Hudson, Ohio) amassed 67 yards on three kickoff returns (22.3 yard average) with a long of 29 yards.
For the Cadets, Chaffee passed for 161 yards on 8-for-20 completions with two TDs. He also led the team on the ground with 63 yards. Weathers caught five catches for 123 yards and one score. Senior Austin Roberts led all players in the game with 22 tackles, while four other Cadets recorded double-digit stops: sophomore Brasean Stewart (13), classmate Michael Corinna and junior Bo Phillips with 11 each and senior Zach Adler with 10. Phillips had both of Norwich's takeaways with the forced fumble and recovery and the interception.
Up next, the Mariners will host Springfield College next Saturday, Oct. 14. Kickoff is slated for 2 p.m. at Brooks Stadium. Live stats and a live video feed of the game will be available with links on the USMMA Football Schedule Page.
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