WASHINGTON D.C. -- After getting some good news in the rankings earlier in the week, the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy rolled to another win on Saturday.
USMMA topped Catholic University, 44-10, in a NEWMAC conference football game for its fourth-straight victory. The Mariners were ranked eighth in the East Region in the first Division III regional rankings which were released on Wednesday. The ranking means they are in play for an at-large berth in the NCAA tournament (the NEWMAC champion does not qualify automatically).
The Mariners gained 448 yards and allowed just 194 against Catholic. Alec Kiernan (69 yards, two touchdowns) led the way on the ground for USMMA, which ran for 389 yards.
The Mariners (7-1, 5-1) got off to a fast start as Tyler Reihs scored on a 12-yard run to give USMMA a 10-0 lead with 1:14 left in the first quarter. Catholic (0-9, 0-6) responded with an 86-yard touchdown pass on its ensuing possession, but USMMA scored 21 straight points in the second quarter and six more early in the third quarter to put the game away.
Kieran scored on touchdown runs of 24 and 1 yard to make the score 24-7, before Matt Strong recovered a fumble in the end zone with 2:28 left in the first half. Matt Restifo’s 10-yard touchdown run on USMMA’s second drive of the third quarter made it 37-7.
After Catholic tacked on a 33-yard field goal later in the third quarter, Ian Blankenship capped the scoring for the Mariners with a 1-yard touchdown run in the fourth.
USMMA will host rival Coast Guard next Saturday at noon.