CASTINE, Maine – Linebacker Troy Barnes (Hamden, Conn) set a Anna Maria record with a 99 yard fumble return for a touchdown but Maine Maritime pounded out 510 rushing yards to hand a 42-13 setback to Anna Maria in the Mariners' (1-0) season opener. Sophomore fullback, Ian Champeon (Dover-Foxcroft, Maine) rushed for 206 yards and a touchdown, while senior quarterback Matt Rende (Augusta, Maine) chewed up 170 yards of field, including a 70-yard touchdown run to deliver Chris McKenney his 50th career victory.
The Mariners set the tone for the day on the opening drive, marching 58 yards through the AMCATS (0-2) defense on 10 plays. Champeon carried the ball four times on the drive, including the final 12 yards for his touchdown. Champeon did the bulk of the work on the Mariners' second scoring drive, breaking off a 65-yard run to set up Bill Wetherbee for a three-yard touchdown on a toss right.
It appeared as if the Mariners were steaming towards a blowout early in the second quarter. Alex Hermes (Fallsington, Pa.) picked off the first of his pair in the contest to set MMA up on the Anna Maria 40. Maine Maritime found itself with a first and goal on the one when a bad exchange left the ball sitting on the turf. Troy Barnes (Hamden, Conn.) scooped the loose ball, and with a convoy of blockers, rumbled 99-yards to paydirt to make it 13-6.
After trading three-and-outs, MMA went on the move again, getting down to the AMCATS'37. Rende was then picked off by Kevin McCoy (Springfield, Mass.), giving Anna Maria the ball on their own 35. The AMCATS needed nine snaps to score, drawing the game even at 13-13 when Santonio Simone (Worcester, Mass.) hit David Marsh (Boston, Mass.) with a 38-yard strike. Simone finished the game 17-of-37 with 184 yards and two interceptions to his one touchdown. The Mariners' Hermes was responsible for both picks. He led MMA with 10 tackles.
The game looked destined to be knotted at the half, but a botched snap on a punt attempt led to what became an incomplete pass and turnover on downs well inside of AMCATS' territory in the closing seconds of the first half. Rende completed back-to-back passes, the second a nine-yard touchdown completion to Nate Duford (Claremont, N.H.) to restore the Mariners' lead for good.
MMA extended the lead on its first possession of the second half when Chris Bourassa (Jay, Maine) turned his second touch of the season, an option pitch to the left, into a 46-yard score, making in 28-13. Bourassa finished the game with 93 yards on four carries.
MMA put the game on ice on the next possession. Facing third-and-five around midfield, Rende ducked behind his line allowing Duford to get beyond the secondary for what appeared to be a 55-yard touchdown throw. A personal foul during the course of the play brought it back and made it a
third-and-20 situation. This time, Rende called his own number, eluding a pair of defenders on the right sideline before working across the grain to finish a 70-yard run with a dive at the left pylon, making it 35-13. Tom Marcisso (Scarborough, Maine) added a one-yard plunge late in the fourth quarter to make it the 42-13 final.
The Mariners' defense limited the AMCATS to 93 yards of offense in the second half. They finished the day with 303 yards. In addition to Hermes efforts, MMA got six tackles and two sacks out of Chris Brawn (Winslow, Maine). He recovered a fumble in the first half to thwart an Anna Maria drive deep in MMA terrirtory.
The game was marred by numerous turnovers, particularly in the first half, and numerous penalties in the second half. The teams combined for 13 fumbles with a total of seven possessions lost. The Mariners coughed it
up four times. MMA was penalized 115 yards on 11 flags, while Anna Maria was flagged six times for 58 yards.
The AMCATS got 11 catches and 86 yards out of wide receiver Domenique Concepcion (Middlebury, Conn.) on the afternoon. Jordan Kohler
(West Warwick, R.I.) and Mike Joseph (Marlboro, Mass.) each recorded 13 tackles for Anna Maria, while Jason Campbell (Melrose, Mass.) had 12
stops, forced and recovered a fumble.