St. Lawrence University football team retained the Hoffman Cup in dramatic fashion on Saturday, as the Scarlet and Brown defeated the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy by the score of 13-6 at Captain Tomb Field in Kings Point, NY. Junior Ethan Sutton was named the Saints' Most Valuable Player, as he scored both touchdowns for the winning team, while the defense posted a season-high nine sacks.
The victory is the first for St. Lawrence head coach Mark Raymond, and moves the team to 1-3 (1-0) on the season. Meanwhile, the Mariners fell to the Saints for the fourth time in five seasons and now stand at 1-3 (0-1).
"It was a real battle, and I give a ton of credit to our guys for keeping their focus and never giving an inch," said Coach Raymond. "Getting the first win obviously feels good, but we have to turn our attention to next weekend and a dynamic Hobart team."
Sutton was the difference-maker in the game, as he used his speed to lift the Saints to victory. The South Paris, ME native, who is both the team's primary wide receiver and punter, rushed for an 80-yard touchdown on a fake punt try in the first quarter. After Merchant Marine added a pair of field goals from Richard Grennen (37, 41) to tie the score at 6-6, senior quarterback JP Kearney found Sutton in stride and he raced down the sideline for a 75-yard touchdown reception to take a six-point lead over the Mariners with only 6:06 remaining in the fourth quarter. Junior Matt Dodge added the extra point for a 13-6 cushion.
The Saints' defense, led by senior linebackers Ryan Fedo and captain Ben Cryts, also answered the call on Saturday. The unit held Merchant Marine's offense without a touchdown and Fedo sacked the quarterback a career-high three times. The defense then shut down the home team in the game's final minute to secure the victory in the 2010 Liberty League opener.
Junior Ramon Mignott finished with a career-high 127 yards rushing for St. Lawrence on 23 carries, while J-L Gosselin had 66 yards on the ground for Kings Point on 13 tries. Derrick Ventre finished 12-of-32 passing for the Mariners for 154 yards, while Kearney was 8-of-16 passing and had both one touchdown and one interception. Mike Mitchell earned MVP honors for the home team, as he caught a game-high seven passes for 72 yards.
Defensively, Fedo had a game-high 10 tackles including 4.0 for a loss. Junior Trevor Saunders chipped in eight tackles and had four pass break-ups. Kevin Stapf led Merchant Marine with 10 tackles, followed by Jacob Fabricius with six. St. Lawrence finished with a 280-183 advantage in total offensive yards.
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. Tom Hoffman, a 1975 graduate of St. Lawrence, dedicated the game to his father, Captain Richard A. Hoffman, a 1944 graduate of Merchant Marine, for his 80th birthday.
Having defeated Merchant Marine at the Academy's "Homecoming Game," St. Lawrence will now turn their attention to conference rival Hobart College. The Saints and Statesmen will square off on Weeks Field at Leckonby Stadium next Saturday, October 2nd, during the University's Family Weekend. Kick-off is set for 2:00pm.