The St. Lawrence University football team fell to the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy on Saturday afternoon at Brooks Stadium in Kings Point, NY by the score of 33-12 in the season finale. Quarterback Alex Coviello led the Mariners to the win, which both won the Hoffman Cup in the annual game and sealed a .500 season for the first time since 2003.
Coviello rushed for a game-high 141 yards, while Mario Colangelo added 54 yards and two scores on the ground for the home team. Though Coviello completed only two passes, they both went for touchdowns and totaled 147 yards. St. Lawrence quarterback Danny Metzgar was 16-of-26 passing for 248 yards including a 37-yard score to Colby Johnson, who finished as the game's leading receiver with 106 yards.
Merchant Marine closed with a 430-262 lead in total offense and was 7-of-14 on third down conversions while scoring on all three of its red zone tries. The Saints were 0-for-2 in the red zone and finished 0-for-9 on third down.
Senior Joe Napolitano was the game's leading tackler with 12 stops, while Cooper Keller, Oraene Morgan and Jesse Clark all added 11 tackles for the Saints. James Cameron's nine tackles led the Mariners.
The Saints scored on their second play from scrimmage, as Metzgar followed a 28-yard rush by Jake Gnieser with the touchdown pass to Johnson only 44 seconds into the game for a 6-0 lead. Brody Corless' extra point try failed.
St. Lawrence's defense would cause a fumble and force a punt on the first two Mariner drives, but the offense was unable to turn them into points. The home team would tie the game at 6-6 with 3:51 left in the first when Coviello connected with Colin Hinchey for a 67-yard touchdown to cap the frame's scoring.
Merchant Marine would take the lead on its first play of the second quarter, as Coviello's only other completion of the game went for 80 yards to Connor Kennedy for a touchdown. Daniel Kennedy added the extra point for a 13-6 cushion, which swelled to 20-6 after the home team scored on a Colangelo 1-yard rush on the ensuing drive.
The Saints' defense would cause a big turnover to keep their team in the game, as Andrew Cox pounced on a fumble by Hinchey at the Mariner 4-yard line. Two plays later, senior Zach Migliore scored on a 2-yard rush to cut into St. Lawrence's deficit at 20-12 heading into intermission.
Neither team was able to score in the third quarter, with the majority of offense coming on the ground and running the clock. However, Merchant Marine would go 40 yards on 12 plays and score only 56 seconds into the fourth quarter to build the lead to 26-12. The home would convert two third downs and a fourth down en route to the end zone, capped by a 3-yard rush by Kennedy.
After the Saints turned the ball over on downs at their own 23-yard line, Merchant Marine would put the game away on a 4-yard score by Colangelo. Daniel Kennedy's extra point brought the game to its final score of 33-12, as the Mariners would run the final 7:47 off the clock with its impressive rush attack.
Johnson was named the St. Lawrence Most Valuable Player of the Hoffman Cup game, while Coviello earned the same honor for the Mariners.
The inaugural Hoffman Cup game was played in 2003 to commemorate the rivalry between the St. Lawrence University and U.S. Merchant Marine Academy football teams. Hoffman dedicated the game to his father, Captain Richard A. Hoffman, a 1944 graduate of Merchant Marine, for his 80th birthday. Captain Hoffman passed away in 2006, but this tradition honors both he and his family's commitment to athletics, the Merchant Marine Academy and St. Lawrence University.