Service to the nation takes center stage at service academies

Merchand Marine won its third straight Secretaries Cup over the weekend, thanks in part to the efforts of Brice Moore. He was interviewed by ESPN after the game.
Merchant Marine athletics photo

By Tom Haley

Arguably the biggest games in the Northeast were played in Springfield, Mass., Hartford, Conn., and Williamstown, Mass. -- the places where conference titles were settled.

But the most important game was played in New London, Conn. That is because there are some things more important than football.

When Coast Guard coach Bill George was interviewed the week of the Secretaries Cup for a story in the New London Day, he used the word "honor" in capturing what makes life unique at the Coast Guard Academy.

Honor and patriotism were at the forefront when Coast Guard and Merchant Marine met. Future leaders and people who will be in all types of important positions when it comes to defending our nation were on display as Merchant Marine defeated Coast guard 48-23.

There are those who feel strongly that football is an important part of molding these leaders into who they will have to be.

If you think that might be giving football too much credit, you only have to hear the words of one of history's great generals. When Douglas MacArthur was Superintendent of West Point, he was steadfast in his belief that the football players made the best leaders in the military. His frequently quoted words chiseled into the stone portals of the campus gymnasium speak to that: "Upon the fields of friendly strife are sown the seeds that upon other fields, on other days will bear the fruits of victory."

It was a poignant scene at Coast Guard and then they played football. Brice Moore was a workhorse with 40 carries for Merchant Marine and gained 207 yards with two touchdowns as the Mariners won their third straight Secretaries Cup on Veterans Day. Merchant Marine's Trever Huss made 13 tackles.

The game streamed live on ESPN3 gave the Mariners a winning season at 5-4.

Clayton Kendrick-Holmes spent Veterans Day coaching SUNY Maritime to a 40-0 victory over Gallaudet, allowing the Privateers to finish the regular season at 9-1.

Kendrick-Holmes served in Afghanistan only a few years ago while a coach at SUNY. His son Bo is at the U.S. Naval Academy.

The Privateers' outstanding kicker Matt Murphy led the team onto the field. Matt and his younger brother Kevin, a wide receiver on the team, were playing in front of their father who served in Iraq.

Murphy made good on both his field goal attempts, and Karl Riek returned a punt for a touchdown.

Murphy has had some interest from the NFL, but it has been a relatively quiet year for him.

"He hasn't had a lot of kicks because we have been so good at scoring touchdowns," Kendrick-Holmes said.

One of the unsung players during this 9-1 run has been nose guard Billy Filke, getting his chance as a senior.

"He has played a ton, and I have been so impressed with his effort and hustle," Kendrick-Holmes said. "He was out on a boat for 90 days and still came to camp in great shape."

SUNY Maritime is another of the venues that has meaning on Veterans Day. A number of the players are in ROTC.

Norwich University, the oldest private military college in the country, was also at home on Veterans Day, but the Cadets did not get the result they wanted as WPI rolled to a 42-7 victory to finish at 7-2. Sean McAllen rushed for 120 yards and two touchdowns.

Unbeaten Pride

Springfield finished the season at 10-0, and the Pride did it the way they normally do it. That is with a bruising ground game.

Springfield threw a grand total of two passes in the 43-7 victory over MIT.

Jordan Wilcox led the way with 221 yards and three touchdowns. He finishes the regular season with 1,675 rushing yards and 19 touchdowns.

Title for Trinity

Trinity won its second consecutive NESCAC championship. The Bantams finished 8-1 by beating state rival Wesleyan 28-3.

They still had to wait for the result from Williamstown before celebrating the title. Williams knocked off Amherst 31-24 in the 132nd edition of the Biggest Little Game in America to give the Bantams the outright crown.

Trinity won't forget the day for securing the title, but neither will Williams' Bobby Maimaron and his teammates. Maimaron threw for 183 yards and ran for 133 and four touchdowns including an 11-yard touchdown run in overtime.

Sonny Puzzo threw for 228 yards and two scores and ran for another for the Bantams.

All wins are big

Whether you win to complete an unbeaten season like Springfield, get a win that gives you an unbeaten season in the conference like Husson or simply win your first game of the year like Colby, victories are special for different reasons.

Colby and Bowdoin went into the game winless, but don't tell them that final game wasn't important.

"It means so much to our seniors who have been through so much," Colby coach Jonathan Michaeles said of the 31-20 victory. "It means so much to our seniors to be 3-1 against Bowdoin.

"And to our younger guys it's just motivation to go into the offseason."

Colby's Jake Schwern put his name in the program's record book by rushing for 257 yards. He scored four touchdowns.

Castleton's win was big because it allowed the Spartans to finish with a winning record (6-4) after rolling past Alfred State 49-21. Moe Harris rushed for 147 yards and three touchdowns. Jermaine Coggins added 130 receiving yards with two TD catches.

Curry put an exclamation point on a season that showed the Colonels are back. Their 37-20 win over Salve Regina gives them an 8-2 record. Alex Corvese threw for 347 yards and five touchdowns. Nick Villanueva caught three of them.

Western New England's 55-14 thumping of Nichols means the Golden Bear seniors are the winningest class in program history. Nick Dietrich had 123 receiving yards and his three touchdown catches gives him a school record of 22 for his career.

Endicott ended on a high note, blanking Becker 38-0 with Joe Kalosky throwing three touchdown passes.

Framingham State pushed its record to 9-1 with Adam Wojenski passing for 281 yards and three scores and Quoron Wright rushing for 157 yards.

UMass-Dartmouth rolled past Fitchburg State 38-0. Jace Pena fired four touchdown passes. Tony Slaughter ran for 144 yards and a score and his brother Tony slaughter had eight tackles, four for a loss.

Mass. Maritime got the Cranberry Scoop in one of New England's great rivalry games. The Bucs edged Bridgewater State 21-18 in the Ocean Spray Cranberry Bowl with Richie Phillips carrying the ball 37 times with a 149 yards and a touchdown to show for it.

Kordell Scott threw two TD passes to lead Dean past Anna Maria, 27-0.

Second season

Teams from the region haven't fared well in NCAA playoff games or other postseason contests such as ECAC Bowls. They now have the New England Bowl for teams from the MASCAC, ECFC, CCC and NEWMAC.

Kendrick-Holmes says it is important for someone from the ECFC to represent the league well for improving the stock of a conference ranked low in the Division III hierarchy.

"Our conference needs to win a game in the postseason," he said.

"It is kind of what D3 football is about; having those types of experiences and opportunities and getting the chance to test yourselves against the best competition."

Husson takes a 9-1 record into the NCAA playoffs after beating Mount Ida 42-19. John Smith rushed for 287 yards and five touchdowns.

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Tom Haley

A seven time Vermont sportswriter of the year, Tom Haley has been with the Rutland Herald since 1987. He was inducted into the Castleton State College Hall of Fame in 2004 and received the Contributor to Football Award from the National Football Foundation's Vermont Chapter. He has been D3football.com's Around the Northeast columnist since 2007.

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