• Jordan Simal

2021 Secretaries' Cup: Merchant Marine @ Coast Guard Game Notes

Nov. 13, 2021

12:00 p.m.

Cadet Memorial Field, US Coast Guard Academy, New London, CT


Coast Guard began the 2021 Secretaries’ Cup with the football.

Freshman quarterback Joe Armentrout led the Coast Guard offense onto the field but the Bears were forced to punt on their first possession.

The Mariners' top-ranked rushing offense in the NEWMAC started their opening drive at their own 29-yard line. Merchant Marine senior quarterback Ian Blankenship and senior fullback Alec Kiernan led the Mariners ground attack and chewed up the clock against the Bears on their way to the endzone. Kiernan found the endzone on a three-yard touchdown run with 7:02 left to go in the first.

The drive 71 yards (all rushing) in 13 plays, 5:46.

Merchant Marine 7, Coast Guard 0.

After another failed drive by the Coast Guard offense, Blankenship and the Merchant Marine offense continued pounding the ball on the ground. Blankenship had a 25-yard touchdown run nullified due to an offensive holding penalty, but the Mariners eventually found the endzone again as junior fullback Matthew Savard crossed the goal line on a nine-yard dash.

The drive went 52 yards on eight plays, lasting 3:03.

Merchant Marine 14, Coast Guard 0.

Down two scores, Armentrout was intercepted by USMMA senior linebacker Hunter Matthews, which set up an immediate 45-yard passing touchdown from Blankenship to freshman wide receiver Talsen Smith.

The drive lasted just seven seconds.

Merchant Marine 21, Coast Guard 0.


Coast Guard couldn't find an answer on offense and had another three-and-out to start the 2nd quarter. And the Bears' defense still had no answer for Merchant Marine's, as the Mariners continued to run the football down the Bears’ throat.

The Mariners converted two fourth-and-1's on their next drive and senior running back Brian McGovern would find the endzone on a 12-yard run to put Merchant Marine up by four touchdowns.

The drive went 70 yards on 13 plays, lasting 5:40.

Merchant Marine 28, Coast Guard 0.

The following drive for Coast Guard began when a promising 33-yard pass from Armentrout to junior wide receiver Jacob Wagner brought the Bears to the USMMA 40-yard line. But Wagner was injured on the play and left the game.

Then running back Jared Colletti fumbled just two plays later, right into the hands of Merchant Marine junior defensive back Connor Caffrey.

Following the second turnover of the game for Coast Guard, the Mariners took to the air as Blankenship found senior running back Matt Strong for a 20-yard completion to the USCGA 38-yard line. The Bears' defense finally got a stop and Merchant Marine punted away the football for the first time in the game.

Merchant Marine 28, Coast Guard 0.

The Bears tried finding some offensive tempo on their next drive. After a 21-yard pass from Armentrout to Ross brought Coast Guard to the USMMA 49-yard line, a costly holding penalty, then a sack on Armentrout, led to a staggering 4th and 27 for Coast Guard. The Bears punted away the football with less than three minutes to go in the first half.

Merchant Marine 28, Coast Guard 0.

The Merchant Marine offense was looking for one more score before the half. Alongside Kiernan and McGovern, the Mariners drove all the way to the USCGA 13-yard line, but fumbled the snap on their final play of the half that would’ve been a spike of the football to stop the clock for a field goal.

At the half, USMMA had 345 total yards, while USCGA had only 96.

Merchant Marine 28, Coast Guard 0.


Merchant Marine began the second half with the football, but fumbled the football on the first play of the third quarter. The Bears took over at the USMMA 27-yard line and fired a quick strike from Armentrout to Ross to bring the football to the Mariners’ 15.

Just one play later, Armentrout found the team’s former starting quarterback Tafari Wall in the endzone for a 15-yard touchdown pass.

The drive went 27 yards on just four plays, lasting 1:26.

Merchant Marine 28, Coast Guard 7.

The Mariners were forced to punt by the USCGA defense, giving the Bears the football at their own 18-yard line. On what was easily their most impressive offensive drive of the game to that point, Coast Guard unleashed their air attack against Merchant Marine and was able to drive down to the USMMA 36-yard line.

However, the drive ended after a failed fourth-down throw from Armentrout to senior wide receiver Cody Fidler. Merchant Marine took over with 5:31 left in the quarter on their own 36-yard line.

Merchant Marine 28, Coast Guard 7.

The Merchant Marine offense returned to its dominating self for the first time in the third quarter, as a 21-yard run from Savard set up the Mariners at the Bears’ 11-yard line. Just three plays later, Merchant Marine faced 4th-and-2 at the USCGA 3 yard line. But Savard scored on a three-yard touchdown run to reclaim their four-score lead.

The drive went 64 yards on nine plays, lasting 3:42.

Merchant Marine 35, Coast Guard 7.


Merchant Marine began the fourth quarter with another strong drive, converting on a 4th-and-2 to set up a 37-yard passing touchdown from Blankenship to McGovern.

The drive went 71 yards on 10 plays, lasting 4:08.

Merchant Marine 42, Coast Guard 7.

Coast Guard responded with a successful drive, spurred by an Armentrout 13-yard rush to the USMMA 23-yard line. But the drive was cancelled when Armentrout was intercepted again, this time by Mariners senior linebacker Joshua King who returned the pick to the USMMA 42-yard line.

Merchant Marine 42, Coast Guard 7.

USMMA backup quarterback Jeremiah Wang came in to replace Blankenship for the remainder of the game, as the Mariners ran down the clock against the Bears late in the fourth quarter. With just under four minutes left to go in the game, they scored again on a one-yard rush by Wang to put Merchant Marine up by six scores and ice the game against the Bears.

The drive went 58 yards on nine plays, lasting 4:49.

Merchant Marine 49, Coast Guard 7.

With the clock running out, Coast Guard capped off a successful scoring drive to close their season. Armentrout found Colletti on a three-yard touchdown pass to finally score more than seven points in a game since early October.

The drive went 75 yards on 10 plays, lasting 3:38.

Merchant Marine 49, Coast Guard 14.

FINAL SCORE: Merchant Marine 49, Coast Guard 14.

Coast Guard finished the season with an overall record of 2-8, 0-6 in the NEWMAC.


Coast Guard:

Jared Colletti: 13 rushes, 59 yards, 0 TDs

Spencer McMillion: 3 rushes, 12 yards, 0 TDs

Joe Armentrout: 8 rushes, -5 yards, 0 TDs

Merchant Marine:

Ian Blankenship: 30 rushes, 154 yards, 0 TDs

Alec Kiernan: 14 rushes, 77 yards, 1 TD

Matthew Savard: 9 rushes, 68 yards, 2 TDs

Brian McGovern: 9 rushes, 57 yards, 1 TD

Cole Simmons: 3 rushes, 22 yards, 0 TDs

Matt Strong: 4 rushes, 21 yards, 0 TDs

Thomas Gehman: 2 rushes, 18 yards, 0 TDs

Jeremiah Wang: 4 rushes, 18 yards, 0 TDs


Coast Guard:

Joe Armentrout: 36 attempts, 22 completions, 213 yards, 2 TDs, 2 INTs

Merchant Marine:

Ian Blankenship: 9 attempts, 5 completions, 126 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs


Coast Guard:

Michael Palermo: 10 tackles

Merchant Marine:

Eric Davidson: 7 tackles