Blakenship Leads USMMA Past Coast Guard, 24-14.

The United States Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) beat Coast Guard Academy in the 49th meeting of the Secretaries Cup. (PHOTO COURTESY: USMMA Athletics)

By NoontimeSports.com

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.

Noontime’s Coast Guard-USMMA Prediction

Jake Behne (left) and Hudson Dunaway (right) pose with the Secretaries’ Cup in November 2018. (PHOTO COURTESY: Coast Guard Academy Athletics)

By NoontimeSports.com

The final NCAA D-III football game of 2020 will take place tomorrow between Coast Guard Academy and the United States Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) with the winner claiming the Secretaries’ Cup.

Last season, the Mariners topped the Bears, 56-41, thanks to quarterback Krystian Abbott, who finished the game with 298 yards of total offense.

Coast Guard captured the 2018 meeting by a score of 26-12 to secure the Secretaries’ Cup for the first time since 2014.

Tomorrow’s matchup – the 49th meeting between these two academies – will be streamed on ESPN3 with kickoff scheduled for 12:05 p.m.

Below is our pregame preview, as well as our prediction – let us know if you agree or disagree by sending a tweet to @NoontimeSports. Enjoy the game, everyone!


Noontime’s Coast Guard-USMMA Preview: It’s been nearly a year since the Bears and Mariners tangled on the gridiron, but it seems as if both teams are eager and ready to play some football.

Coast Guard enters the contest with a great deal of experience on both sides of the ball. Quarterback John Barbera, who has appeared in five contests, including three last season, will start his first game for the Bears – expect the Glen Mills, Pennsylvania native to target Justin Moffatt, who led the NEWMAC last season with 66 receptions while posting a career-best in receiving yards (872) to go with five touchdowns.

Linebacker Eugene Bizer will be tasked with leading a Coast Guard defense that will need to slow down a Mariners squad that averaged 41.1 points per game last fall. Merchant Marine’s offense is very run-heavy and it is expected that the Mariners will lean heavily on halfback Matt Restifo, who finished last season with career-bests in rushing yards (389), yards per game (43.2), and touchdowns.

Eric Davidson and Colton Ray will be two players to watch on the Mariners defense tomorrow – this particular unit limited opposing foes to 112.7 rushing yards per game last season.

Noontime’s Prediction: This has the potential for a back-and-forth affair, but I think this contest will come down to whichever defense can slow down the opposing attack. I don’t anticipate a high-scoring affair like we witnessed last season, but instead both teams scoring at least three, maybe four touchdowns. PREDICTION: Coast Guard 30, USMMA 26