Ian Blakenship rushed for a game-high 151 yards on 29 carries and one touchdown while Ceaser Gonzalez added 103 yards on the ground and one score as the United States Merchant Marine Academy topped Coast Guard Academy, 24-14, to claim the Secretaries’ Cup for the second-straight season.
Saturday’s matchup between the Mariners and Bears capped a three-sport, three-game fall series between the two academies, which saw the Coast Guard Academy men’s soccer and women’s volleyball teams secure wins against USMMA last month.
Coast Guard struggled to contain the Merchant Marine rushing attack, which tallied 343 yards on 71 rushing attempts and three touchdowns. Blakenship, Gonzalez, and Matt Restifo each rushed for one score while Jack Ruark tallied six points on three extra points and a 25-yard field goal.
Merchant Marine led Coast Guard, 10-7, at the break and 17-7 after three quarters before Restifo sealed the win with a four-yard touchdown run with 4:48 remaining.
Coast Guard’s Jared Colletti scored twice for the Bears while finishing the contest with 112 yards of total offense, including 88 receiving yards. Eugene Bizer led the Bears defense by recording a game-high 20 total tackles, including 14 solo stops and two tackles for a loss of 10 yards.
John Barbera, who was making his first start at quarterback for the Bears, completed 18 of 34 passes for 181 yards and one touchdown.
With the win, Merchant Marine has now won 34 contests against Coast Guard Academy while the Bears have captured 15 meetings.