CASTINE, Maine – Maine Maritime Academy football scored three second-half touchdowns but fell to Massachusetts Maritime 42-21 on Saturday afternoon in the 47th Annual Admiral's Cup at Ritchie Field.
Maine Maritime falls to 0-3 on the season and will return to action next Saturday, September 28 when they host the United States Merchant Marine Academy for their NEWMAC opener at 12:00 pm. The Buccaneers improve to 2-0 overall and travel to Westfield State next Saturday for their MASCAC opener at 2:00 pm.
The Mariners amassed 239 yards of total offense, including 204 passing yards and were led by junior quarterback Nikolas Moquin's (Goffstown, N.H.) 130 yards on 14 completions and a touchdown. Freshman Reed Hopkins (Augusta, Maine) led the Maine Maritime receivers with 89 yards on seven catches and junior Dominic Casale (Freeport, Maine) pulled down seven catches, for 65 yards and a touchdown.
Sophomore Cam Lantagne (Biddeford, Maine) returned an interception 48 yards for a touchdown and tallied seven tackles, including three solo stops, to lead the Maine Maritime defense. Junior Aren Dickman (Scarborough, Maine) and freshman Devin Weir (Hartford, Conn.) each tallied seven tackles, Dickman had five solo stops and Weir had four.
Quarterback Matt Long threw for 102 yards on seven completions and two touchdowns and rushed for another 138 yards on 17 carries and three touchdowns to lead Mass. Maritime. Jack Fontana led the Buccaneers defensively with seven tackles, including four solo stops and a tackle for a loss of three yards.
The Mariners forced a quick Buccaneer three and out, on their opening drive but came up empty on their offensive possession and both teams struggled to find the end zone in the first half.
Mass. Maritime capitalized on a Mariner holding penalty that voided an interception and got on the scoreboard first on a 10-yard touchdown reception from Long to Ryan McNally.
The Buccaneers forced a Mariner three and out, and Long rushed for 55 yards for his first touchdown carry of the afternoon to make it 14-0 midway through the second quarter.
Mass. Maritime took the 14-point lead into halftime, and forced a Mariner punt to start the second half. The Bucs capped off a four-play, 45-yard drive with another touchdown toss from Long to Cam Witman, followed by a George Lampros extra point to make it 21-0.
Mass. executed an onside kick on the ensuing kickoff, and regained possession on the Mariner-38, setting up a one-yard touchdown carry from Long to make it 28-0.
Lantange picked off Long on the Buccaneer-48 yard line and carried it to the end zone and teammate Maxwell Horton (Eliot, Maine) hit the extra point to cut the deficit to 28-7.
The Buccaneers picked off Mariner quarterback Andrew Haining (Palmyra, Maine) late in the third quarter, setting up a four-play, 54-yard scoring drive, led by a three-yard touchdown rush by Long.
Moquin guided the Mariners 77-yards down the field on 17 plays and ran the ball in from two-yards out to close the gap to 35-14, but the Bucs answered back on their next drive with a four-yard touchdown rush from Evan Dyer.
On the Mariners' next drive, Moquin connected with Hopkins on back-to-back catches, for 15 yards and 18 yards, before hitting Casale for 11 yards and rushing for 12 yards to bring the drive deep into Buccaneer territory. Moquin found Hopkins once again, this time for 13 yards, setting up a nine-yard touchdown throw to Casale to make it 42-21.
With time winding down, the Buccaneers held off the Mariners, and claimed the Admiral's Cup for the third-straight season.