PAXTON, Mass.— Senior Derek Victory threw for career-high 354 yards and accounted for five touchdowns as he threw for three and ran for two more in just over three quarters leading the United States Coast Guard Academy to a convincing season-opening 34-0 win at Anna Maria College in the first Division III football game in New England in the 2016 season.
AMCAT OPENING DRIVE
The AMCATS started the game with the ball and looked promising out of the gate, as Joseph D'Onofrio (Everett, Mass.) returned opening kickoff for 22 yards. Following a first-down rush attempt, quarterback Malik Faison (Bowie, Md.) found Jaquan Ball (Bryan's Road, Md.) for a 27-yard completion on second down.
Anna Maria would work for two more first downs on the drive, which encompassed 11 plays for 66 yards. The drive proved scoreless though, as the AMCATS attempted a rush on fourth-and-one inside the red zone on the Coast Guard 17-yard line but was stuffed by the Bears' defensive line.
Anna Maria would finish the game with 195 yards of total offense, 66 of which came on the opening drive.
D'Onofrio led all rushers with 49 yards on 16 carries, averaging 3.1 yards per carry. Faison completed 9 of 19 passes for 100 yards, while freshman Darius Jones-Clark (Baltimore, Md.) completed one pass for 30 yards in the fourth quarter. Ball and senior Dylan Copeland (Haverhill, Mass.) both tallied 40 receiving yards.
AMCAT punter Francis Cole (Maspeth, N.Y.) clocked in with some impressive punts, averaging 45.5 yards per punt on seven attempts with a long of 55 yards.
Defensively, Anna AMria saw a game-high eight tackles from senior Stefano Marziale (Cranston, R.I.). Teammate Jarius Ransom (Williamstown, N.J.) recovered a fumble for Anna Maria, while Trevor Brown (Gardner, Mass.) led the secondary with a game-high two pass breakups.
VICTORY MARCHES THE BEARS TO VICTORY
Coast Guard registered its first shutout since a 40-0 win over Maine Maritime in 2013 and its first season-opening shutout since a 27-0 win over Mass. Maritime in 2005.
Victory was 28 of 44 and became the first Coast Guard quarterback to eclipse the 5,000 passing yard mark in his career as the Bears all-time leader finished the game with 5,220 passing yards. He has now thrown 193 straight passes without being intercepted.
The Bears finished with 509 total yards, 405 of which came in the air.
DEFENDING THE SHUTOUT
The Coast Guard defense was outstanding, especially in the second half holding the AMCATS to 195 total yards and just 66 in the second half.
Junior tight end Cody Bain had six receptions for a team-high 107 yards and a touchdown while senior Kyle Jackson had a game-high nine receptions for 91 yards and a score. Sophomore Jacob Pawlina added five receptions for 84 yards in the win.
On the opening possession of the second half, the Bears marched 77 yards in 11 plays with Victory scoring on a 7-yard run, on 4th and 1 and following freshman Patrick Crowley's extra point the Bears led 20-0 with 8:57 left in the third quarter.
Following a punt, Coast Guard marched 90 yards capped when junior Darius Adams, making his collegiate football debut, leaped and caught a 29-yard touchdown pass, his first career reception, from Victory with 2:34 left in the third quarter and the PAT pushed the lead to 27-0.
Coast Guard dominated play in third quarter outgaining the AMCATS 190-14.
The Bears struck for the third straight time as Victory scored on a 1-yard run with 12:38 left in the game and Crowley's kick made it 34-0 and ended the night for Victory.
Following an exchange of punts in the first quarter, the Bears drove 80 yards in ten plays and got on the board for the first time when Victory threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to senior Kyle Jackson on 4th and 13 with 2:14 left before freshman Patrick Crowley added the extra point. The key plays in the drive were a 25-yard pass to junior tight end Cody Bain on a 3rd and nine and a roughing the passer penalty which extended the drive.
On the Bears next possession, the Coast Guard special teams set up the Bears at the Anna Maria 17-yard line when freshman Michael Goldsworthy recovered a fumbled punt.
The Bears couldn't not much and it would be the Anna Maria special teams coming up big when freshman Jaevin Milhouse (Rumford, R.I.) blocked a 31-yard field goal by Crowley to keep the score 7-0 with 12:04 left in the first half.
Coast Guard's defense forced a third straight punt and sophomore Jeff Porter's 65-yard run gave the Bears a first-and-goal at the AMCAT 6-yard line, but a fumble two plays later at the 2-yard line would keep Coast Guard off the scoreboard once again with 8:08 left in the opening half
The Bears once again stalled in the red zone in the final minute of the first half and Crowley missed a 31-yard field goal with 36 seconds left. Victory had a pair of big completions on the drive, a 25-yard strike to Bain followed by a 24-yard throw to sophomore Jacob Pawlina.
It appeared Coast Guard would take just a 7-0 lead into the half, but Anna Maria went three-and-out and Pawlina had a 32-yard punt return giving the Bears the ball at the AMCAT 27-yard line with ten seconds left.
A pass interference call moved the ball to the 13 with four seconds left and Victory came up huge on the final play of the half finding Bain for a 13-yard touchdown with no time left, a bad snap on the extra point kept the score a 13-0 at the break.
The AMCATS embark on a three-game road stand beginning next weekend when they travel to Nichols for a 7:00 p.m. Friday night game.