Release and photo courtesy of Maritime Athletics Department
WORCESTER, Mass. – The Maritime football season came to a close on Saturday evening, as the Privateers fell to the Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) Engineers by the score of 17-3 at Alumni Stadium in Massachusetts.
Maritime's defense held the WPI offense to just 17 points on the night, as senior Kendal Parker (Evans, Ga./Lakeside) and Wesley Joseph (Brooklyn, N.Y./Midwood) both led the way with 10 tackles each. Seniors Nick Conte (Franklin Square, N.Y./Carey) and Joshua Burris (Folsom, La./Covington/Gavilan)ended their careers with five tackles each on the night as Burris led the team with a pair of pass breakups, junior Jack Johnson (Farmingville, N.Y./Sachem East) also had five stops on the night.
Junior Karl Riek (Sweetwater, N.J./Cedar Creek) set both the single-season and the career blocked kicks as he recorded his fifth block of the season and sixth of his career. Conte and junior Matthew Mavrovich(Port Jefferson Station, N.Y./Mt. Sinai) each had one interception, while Joseph added a fumble recovery as did senior running back Chris Olberding (Dix Hills, N.Y./Walt Whitman). Senior offensive lineman Connor McDaniel (Islip Terrace, N.Y./East Islip) was credited with a forced fumble as well.
On offense junior Thomas Wright (Wantagh, N.Y./Wantagh) accumulated 74 yards on 11 completions with junior Curtis Smith (Brooklyn, N.Y./New Utrecht) getting credit for 35 receiving yards and classmate Brandonn Drumgole (Mt. Sinai, N.Y./Mt. Sinai) recording 16 receiving yards. Junior Andrew Geni (Bronx, N.Y./Archbishop Stepinac), senior Matt Ward (Ronkonkoma, N.Y./Sachem North) and Olberding also had receptions on the night.
Wright led the team in rushing with 28 yards, while Olberding added 27 of his own. Senior Devin Kenny(Staten Island, N.Y./Monsignor Farrell) added 11 yards on five carries, while Drumgole, Geni, and sophomore Robert Wheeler (Staten Island, N.Y./Susan E. Wagner) all got carries.
Senior Matthew Murphy (Seaford, N.Y./Seaford) closed out his career with a 26-yard field goal for the only scoring the Privateers had on the night, while Murphy also had two kickoffs for 105 yards including a touchback. Murphy had a busy night in terms of punting with 10 kicks on the night for a total of 367 yards, both of which were season highs.
Maritime won the opening coin toss and deferred to the second half, which proved to work out in favor of the Privateers as Mavrovich intercepted the first throw of the game at midfield. The Privateers had a chance on fourth and short but were unable to convert and turned the ball over on downs.
Both teams punted before WPI got the ball back with midway through the opening period. The Engineers attempted a field goal but the ball was botched on the hold and Maritime recovered as Joseph jumped on the loose ball.
The Privateers punted on each of their next two offensive possessions, before WPI scored the opening points of the contests on a 22-yard field goal just 48 seconds into the second quarter.
The defensive battle continued as WPI had a pass intercepted near the goal line as Conte gave the ball back to the Privateers. The ensuing offensive position also resulted in an interception for the Engineers, before WPI found the end zone just four plays later to take a 10-0 advantage.
Both teams exchanged one more punt apiece, before a wild play ended the half as Wright had a pass that was intercepted and returned for 56 yards before the Privateers forced a fumble on the return and recovered the ball to end the stanza.
The second half began with Maritime getting the ball back but the Privateers punted on their first drive. The defense held true again and forced another punt before the Maritime offense turned the ball over on downs. The Engineers used the next nine plays to march 61 yards down the field and add its second touchdown of the night to take a 17-0 lead.
The Privateers punted on their next drive before the defense stood the task once again and forced its own turnover on downs. Maritime punted again to give WPI possession back for its next offensive series.
Maritime's defense forced the Engineers to punt once again, which was blocked by Riek for the record-setter as Maritime got the ball back with 8:40 left in regulation on the WPI 19-yard line.
After being unable to get the ball into the end zone, Maritime got on the board as Murphy kicked a 26-yard field goal attempt to pull Maritime back within two possessions.
The Privateers were unable to muster up the offense on its final two drives, as they resulted in Murphy's 10th punt of the night and an interception to seal the win for the Engineers.
Maritime finished its season with a 9-2 overall record and a 6-1 record in conference games this season, and will look ahead to next season with a strong contingent of starters returning for the team.
WPI also finished its season 9-2, with a 6-1 mark in the NEWMAC.