THROGGS NECK, N.Y. (November 16, 2013) – The Maritime football team became the first team during the 2013 season to knock off previously-unbeaten and nationally ranked Gallaudet Bison on Saturday afternoon. The Privateers played a solid all-around game as they won the time of possession battle, while also playing a strong game defensively to hold the 2013 ECFC Champions to just six points in a 7-6 win.
The victory was the first in Privateer History over a nationally ranked opponent as the Bison were ranked No. 25 in the AFCA Division III Coaches Poll. The win also preserved a record held by Maritime as the only team to complete an undefeated regular season by an ECFC team, as the Privateers had done in 2010.
It was also senior day on Reinhart Field as the Privateers sent their nine departing seniors out with a victory. Those honored in a pre-game on-field ceremony were Frank Laino (Rockaway, N.Y./Fort Hamilton), Andrew Vazquez (Yonkers, N.Y./Sacred Heart), Sean Belsky (West Islip, N.Y., St. John the Baptist ), Robert Marziliano (Staten Island, N.Y./Tottenville), Andrew Cosby (Babylon, N.Y./Babylon), Chrisrichard Jean-Baptiste (Westbury, N.Y./Westbury), Noah Collins (Satellite Beach, Fla./Satellite), Dan Fleischman (North Massapequa, N.Y./Plainedge) and Eddie Figueroa (Brooklyn, N.Y./Martin Luther).
"I'm proud of the effort our team put together today against Gallaudet," said Maritime head coach Clayton Kendrick-Holmes. "Our seniors also played well, and have done a great job to set up the future of our program with their efforts both on and off the field."
The Privateers moved the ball well in the opening quarter as the unit picked up four first downs on the ground, while the Bison were unable to convert on any first downs through the first 15 minutes. Junior defensive end Hugh O'Brien (Westbury, N.Y./Westbury) was also credited with a sack as he forced Gallaudet quarterback Todd Bonheyo to throw the ball and was then charged for intentional grounding to set the tempo early for the defense.
In the second quarter, the Privateers got the ball back off of a Bison punt with 12:52 left in the half. Freshman quarterback Isaiah Covington (Brooklyn, N.Y./FDR) got the drive started with a six-yard dash, followed by Laino and then junior fullback Kyle Gardner (Amityville N.Y./St. Anthony's) picked up the first of four first downs on the drive that took up nearly eight minutes of clock.
Towards the end of the long drive, the number 25 of sophomore fullback Dwayne Lacroix (Rockville Centre, N.Y./Malverne) was called on for four consecutive plays inside the red zone. His last play was an eight-yard drive into the end zone for the first score of the game to put the Privateers up 6-0. Sophomore kicker Diogo Dietrich (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil/DePaul Catholic) tacked on the extra point to give the Privateers seven points.
The defense forced another three-and-out on the next series and allowed just one first down on the next Bison drive before halftime, as the defensive squad allowed just the one first down and just 36 yards in the opening half.
After the break, Gallaudet started with the ball and came out with more tempo to its offense as it picked up a pair of first downs but turned the ball over on downs. On the next Bison series they picked up one first down, and later on 4th-and-4 dropped back to pass picked off by Vazquez to give possession back to the Privateers.
A few punts later and into the fourth quarter, Gallaudet got the ball back once again and picked up six first downs to set up first and goal from the two-yard line. B.J. Flores then darted over the pile and into the end zone to pull the Bison within one. The two-point conversion attempt failed as Gallaudet made an attempt to go for the win with 3:47 left on the clock after the 90-yard drive.
The offense methodically ran down the remainder of the game as Covington, Laino, Lacroix and Gardner all picked up yards in the process of picking up three first downs en route to one final kneel down to ice the game and seal the upset victory.
The final stats were close as the two offenses amassed just around 200 yards of offense each. Penalties and defensive plays proved to be the difference maker as the Privateers picked up one interception and also had a pair of sacks in the game while playing a discipline game in respect to penalties.
Individually, Gardner led the team in rushing with 67 yards to finish the season with 961 yards on the ground to finish third on the single-season rushing list for the Privateers. Junior Greg Caneparo (Nanuet, N.Y./Nanuet) had the longest play from scrimmage with a 23-yard run as he was called on eight times to carry the rock. Covington collected 35 yards, while Lacroix netted 30 as well as the team's lone score. Laino ended the game with 27 yards on the ground to round out the offense.
Sophomore Kameron Knight (Clayton, N.C./West Johnson) had the team lead on defense with 12 tackles including one for a loss in yardage. Junior Nick Coffiey (Wilmington, Del./Delaware Military Academy) collected nine tackles including seven of the solo variety to lead the team this year in both categories. Andrew Auriemma (Melville, N.Y./St. Anthony's), and Jean-Baptiste combined for a tackle for a loss, while Auriemma also had one in solo form for a team-high 1.5 for the game. O'Brien had one sack and four tackles to tie classmate Duke Alvora (Harrison, N.Y./Harrison) who also had four tackles. Vazquez ended his career with a solid performance with two tackles and a 10-yard interception return, as well as one pass breakup.
On special teams, freshman John Arny (Metuchen, N.J./Metuchen) punted the ball four times including one inside the opponent's 20-yard line that went for 52 yards, his second longest of the season. Dietrich tacked on his lone extra point which proved to be the difference in the game as he was a perfect 20-for-20 in ECFC games this season. Dietrich was also called into the role of kicking a pair of onside kicks, both of which were recovered by the Bison as the Privateers tried to retain possession after their score and after halftime.
Maritime (5-5, 5-2 ECFC) ends their season at .500 after starting the year with three losses, the Privateers also end the season with a four-game winning streak at home on Reinhart Field. Gallaudet (9-1, 6-1 ECFC) will look to regroup in the first round of the NCAA Division III football tournament which is set to begin next weekend, the Gallaudet opponent will be announced with the selection show on Sunday evening.