By Matt Noonan | @MattyNoonz11
We continue our ‘Early Preseason Outlook’ with a look at the Coast Guard Academy football team, which begins its season on Saturday, September 7 when they visit the University of New England for a 1 p.m. kick-off.
The Bears’ 2018 Season: Coast Guard enjoyed one of its best seasons since 2008 by posting a 7-3 mark, including a 5-2 record in conference play. They capped their 2018 campaign with back-to-back wins over Merchant Marine and WPI while capturing The Mug on Parents’ Weekend with a wild (and dramatic) victory over Norwich University. Additionally, the Bears finished 4-1 at home for the first time since 2015.
The 2019 Season Outlook: The Bears enter the upcoming season as one of the favorites in the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC). They should certainly challenge MIT and Springfield College for the top spot and automatic qualifier for the NCAA Tournament.
Coast Guard graduated 17 players from last year’s squad, including linebacker Jake Behne, who led the Bears defense with 103 total tackles and Bill Boardman, who was a starting left tackle for the past two seasons. But luckily the Bears return some key members of last year’s 7-3 squad, including quarterback Ryan Jones, halfback Chris Gardner, and wide receiver Justin Moffatt. These three student-athletes will be the focal point of the Bears offense, while linebacker Mark Wicke and defensive back Patrick Crowley will be players to watch on defense.
Coast Guard’s Schedule: Following an opening day visit to the Nor’easters, the Bears will travel to Nichols College and Norwich before hosting Curry College on the final Saturday of September. All four games are winnable, but non-conference meetings with Curry and Nichols won’t be easy. Additionally, their visit to Norwich will be a game to watch, as well, but it is possible that Coast Guard concludes the opening month with a 4-0 record.
We’ll learn a great deal about the Bears in October when they face four conference foes, including MIT and Springfield. Both games are critical for Coast Guard, especially if they want to capture the NEWMAC crown. Their final two games pit the Bears against WPI and Merchant Marine – their game with the Mariners, the Secretaries’ Cup, is always a must-see, must-follow.
Players to Watch: Ryan Jones (Quarterback/ Punxsutawney, Pa.), Chris Gardner (Running Back/Fairfax, Va.), Justin Moffatt (Wide Receiver/Odessa, Fla.), Mark Wicke (Linebacker/San Marino, Calif.), Patrick Crowley (Defensive Back/San Marino, Calif.), Colton Rausch (Offensive Line/Lake Alfred, Fla.), Robert Childress (Offensive Line/Millersville, Md.), and Michael Goldsworthy (Defensive Back/Jamison, Pa.).
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