BUZZARDS BAY, Mass – Friday night, the Mass Maritime football team open their 2019 season against SUNY Maritime at home in the 12th Annual Chowder Bowl. A fast paced offensive attack and stout defense helped the Bucs to a 31-14 victory.
The Buccaneers totaled 312 offensive yards in the contest, 256 of which were tallied in one way or another by quarterback Matt Long (Weymouth, Mass). Long completed seven of his 11 pass attempts for 114 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions. He ran the ball 16 times for 141 yards and three touchdowns. The first touchdown her scored on the night was on the first play from scrimmage as he scrambled for 64 yards to pay dirt. He also caught a pass from Ty Ebdon (Gales Ferry, Conn) for one yard. On the ground, sophomore running back Conner Reynolds (Norton, Mass) ran the ball 18 times for 36 yards and a score. Though there were no passing touchdowns, the passing game was a factor for the Buccaneers. Senior receiver Will Bennett (Sandwich, Mass) caught three Long passes for 75 yards, one of which went for 52 yards up the seem on a stellar pass and catch by the duo. Senior receiver Ryan McNally (Sandwich, Mass) caught two passes for 25 yards and freshman Leo Allgaier (Duxbury, Mass) caught one pass for six yards. Defensively, the Mass Maritime squad racked up seven sacks of Privateer Quarterbacks. Junior Colin McCabe (Dartmouth, Mass) led the way with 2.5 sacks. McCabe had 11 total tackles in the game, seven solo, four assists, with 3.5 tackles for loss. Junioe Jack Fontana (Graton, Mass) led all defenders with 16 total tackles, nine of which were solo efforts. Jack had 1.5 sacks and three tackles for loss with a pass break up. Linebacker Sean Smialek (Dartmouth, Mass) racked up nine tackles, six solo, with a sack. Cornerback Austin Stahmer (Wareham, Mass) intercepted two passes in the game to go along with four tackles and a half of a tackle for loss. On special teams, freshman Ja'iel Johnson (Dodge City, Kansas) returned two kickoffs for 72 yards in the game, including one for 51 yards. Kicker George Lampros (Bridgewater, Mass) converted all four extra point attempts in the game and made his lone field goal attempt of the night from 23 yards out. Lampros also punted the ball twice and pinned the Privateers inside their own 20 yard line on both occasions.
SUNY Maritime were led offensively by quarterback Robert Wheeler (Staten Island, N.Y.) who accounted for both scores in the game. He went eight-for-15 passing for 77 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Wheeler ran the ball 30 times in the game for 108 yards and a score. In the passing game, Andrew Geni (Bronx, N.Y.) caught three passes for 29 yards and a touchdown. Defensively, three players Frank Vano (Babylon, N.Y.), Liam Bailey (Sayville, N.Y.) and Salvatore Escaldi (Farmingville, N.Y.) each had eight tackled in the game to lead the Privateers. Baily also accounted for one of three tackles for loss in the game. Kicker Joseph Gagliardi (Ronkonkoma, N.Y.) converted both of his extra point attempts and punted the ball six times for 259 yards and pinned the Bucs inside their own 20 on one occasion. In the return game, Christian Schiavone (White Plains, N.Y.) returned five kicks for 98 yards.
The Buccaneers received the opening kickoff of the game which was returned by J. Johnson to his own 36 yard line. On the first offensive play from scrimmage, Long carried the ball 64 yards to the house to put the Bucs up 6-0 just 15 seconds in to the game. Lampros connected on the extra point to give the Bucs a 7-0 advantage. The Mass Maritime defense forced a three-and-out on the Privateers first offensive drive, pushing the SUNY team back four yards in the process. The Bucs began their next drive at their own 48 yard line and in six plays they found the end zone again, this time on a long nine-yard dash. Five minutes in to the game, the hosts held a 14-0 lead. SUNY cut that lead in half on the ensuing drive going 76 yards in nine plays, capping it off with a Wheeler to Geni 15-yard touchdown and a Gagliardi extra point. The first quarter was the highest scoring period of the game and the Bucs hadn't finished yet. After being stopped on their next drive which went 59 yards in six plays, Lampros hit a 23-yard field goal to put the Bucs up 17-7 at the end of one quarter of play.
Each team had drives stall to begin the second quarter though they did take up 8:52 of the period in the process. SUNY Maritime got the ball back with just under eight minutes until the halftime break. The proceeded to drive 77 yards in eight plays and cut the Mass Maritime lead to three points on a Wheeler score from a yard out. The Buccaneers answered quickly as the Privateers were too close for comfort on a Reynolds score from six yards out to extend their lead back to 10 points, 24-14 with 2:28 remaining in the second. The Buc defense shut down the SUNY offense on the following drive forcing a punt. With 11 seconds left on the clock, Long took a knee to run out the first half clock. The Bucs led 24-14 after 30 minutes of play.
The Privateers received the opening second half kickoff and went three-and-out, gaining nine yards on the drive. Mass Maritime then had a three-and-out of their own at the hands of the SUNY defense. They lost two yards on the play which was their only negative yardage drive of the game. On the next Privateer play from scrimmage, the SUNY running back lost his grip on the ball, fumbling and allowing the Buccaneers Nick Khoury (East Bridgewater, Mass) to pick up the loose ball at the SUNY 24 yard line. It took the Buccaneers nine plays, but on the ensuing drive they punched the ball in on fourth and one from a yard out on a run by Long. After a Lampros extra points, the Bucs led 31-14.
The remaining 22 minutes of the game was filled with a lot of back and forth by bother teams, including two Stahmer interceptions for the Buccaneer defense. Neither teams added any points in the remainder of the third quarter or the entirety of the fourth ending the game at 31-14 in favor of the Buccaneers.
With the win, the Bucs begin their season 1-0. The Privateers fall to 1-1. Next up for the Buccaneers is a trip to Castine, Maine to take on Maine Maritime Academy in the 47th rendition of the Admirals Cup on Saturday, September 21st at 12pm. A game the Buccaneers won, 22-7, in 2018. The Privateers travel just 15 minutes to Merchant Marine next Saturday afternoon.
Picture Courtesy: Justin Reidy