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Coast Guard Falls at WPI, Prepares for Rivals USMMA to Close Season

by Diane Roberts and Graham Knight

The Coast Guard Bears ended their road season in week ten with yet another loss -- their sixth in a row -- this time at the hands of Worcester Polytechnic Institute.


The WPI Engineers featured a potent offense, tallying 457 yards and dominating the time of possession by more than 2-1.


Coast Guard also squandered scoring opportunities with two goal-line fumbles.


Freshman Joe Armentrout started under center for the Bears, throwing for140 yards, one touchdown and an interception.


The loss drops the Bears to 2-7 on the year, with their final home game coming up in the annual Secretaries Cup match-up against their bitter rivals, the US Merchant Marine Academy.

The Mariners are 7-1 on the season and coming off of a bye week.


"They'll be fresh," Coast Guard Head Coach C.C. Grant said in our weekly conversation, "fresh legs, the whole nine yards. So I think it's a huge advantage for them, having the week off."


"Yeah, it's going to be tough," the coach continued, "I was watching them on tape. They're obviously a very good, very talented team. Offensively, I mean, that quarterback . . . he's probably as talented as, if not the most talented kid we'll face all year at that position.


"So they do what they do and they do it very well so we're going to have our hands full."


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Coach C.C. Grant takes time every week to talk to Behind The Lines host Graham Knight about the upcoming matchup and the week that was, and the lead up to the Secretaries' Cup was certainly no exception. Here is their full conversation from this week:

Here is the full interview with Coach Grant:


Graham Knight: It's great to see you, Coach. We're on the eve of the secretary's cup. Any thoughts as you face the, this is the forty-ninth meeting of the Coast Guard against the Merchant Marines, any thoughts on the upcoming game?


Coach C.C. Grant: It's going to be tough. I was just watching them on tape. They're obviously a very good, very talented team. I haven't had a chance to watch the defense yet, but offensively, I mean, that quarterback is probably as talented, if not the most talented, and will face all year at that position, so they do what they do and they do it very well. So we're going have our hands full.


Graham Knight: Well, speaking of which, this last outing against WTI, Coast Guard was on the, basically the goal line and give up, . . . well, I don't know if it's fair to say "gave up the ball" once, stripped at the goal line. Any thoughts on . . . It seems to me like . . . I played hockey, and when you play hockey, some games the puck bounces your way and in some games it just doesn't. You just don't get the bounce. Was this one of those games where just didn't get the bounce or was it, how do you describe it? Seems kind of suspicious, so to speak, to be that close to scoring and not being able to cross the goal line?


Coach C.C. Grant: I don't know quite how to explain it, but you know, twice that game, the first was in the first, the first quarter where we basically had driven the ball the entire field. The tight end was actually going into the end zone and had the ball knocked away. Then the second one was somewhere in the second half where, again, we had a pretty good drive together and just on a normal handoff. And it's inexplicably we we fumbled the ball, so. When you say it's one of the things that happened, but it seems like lately in situations, it's happened too often, so.

I don't think defensively, I don't think we played very well. We didn't do the things that we talked about all week in practice, as far as how are we were going to attack their offense. So when you put that together and kids not basically playing the way they're coached to play, you know, is that this this is how it turns out. So hopefully, you know, we have learned from this saying, you know, you just got to keep pushing forward.


Graham Knight: Yeah, keep pushing forward, that's for sure. I do want to ask you this kind of sports psychology question. I think we get taught as individuals, competitors, we have more opportunities to learn how to lose and be a good sport then we know how to learn how to win. And if a sports psychologist came in and saw this, would they ask, you know, "Are the Bears afraid to win?" Is there something that's keeping them back from winning? Is there, is there any fear there that might be an inhibitor?


Coach C.C. Grant: I don't think so. I think that each team is basically its own capsule, and within a capsule of those, those individuals have to learn how to win. And we just have not learned how to do that yet, at least in anywhere with consistency. We've knocked on the door so many times. You can blame it to youth or whatever it may be, the lost season or whatever. But we just haven't, you know, within this year, we haven't learned how to win yet.

Now you could say I'm at fault and the buck stops with me and I, you know, I would accept that responsibility, but I think everybody wants to win. We don't all know how to do it, you know? And you know, we think that we've put in the work sometimes, we have to question if we put in the work the right way.


Graham Knight: Two more questions: Merchant Marine got a bye week last week. Coast Guard had a game. How big of an impact does that have that they got an extra week to rest?


Coach C.C. Grant: I think it's a huge impact. I just know how we looked last week when we came out against MIT and how we felt. So, I know they had exams, but a week off is a week off. And, you know, we still got banged up a little bit in this week. So they'll be fresh, fresh legs, the whole nine yards. So I think it's a huge advantage for them having the week off.


Graham Knight: And then last question, I'm just kind of curious, what are the stakes like? How does the Coast Guard think about the Secretaries' Cup? You know, it's a rivalry game. It's got a different dynamic. I'm actually in Dallas right now, just covered the Air Force-Army game and [Army Head football] Coach [Jeff] Monken was talking about emotions are going to be a big factor, and indeed they were. Is that same kind of experience happened with Coast Guard? I mean, how


Coach C.C. Grant: I would say that you don't have to say too much to get the kids amped up for the game. I mean, I think there's a pep rally scheduled for this evening for the kids. And I know going into the game, one of the things that, you know, being a part of rivalry games for a number of years now, the one thing you really have to worry about is them being too amped up when the game starts. Where, you know, the adrenaline's pumping and they're pumped. And, of course, you're at home that they forget about, "Hey, you're here, you got a job to do. This is a game." So I'll just remind them, you know, during the week that, you know, after the first hit, you know, after kick off, eventually, the game's going to be won by the team who plays the best. So not who's the most charged up at the beginning of the game. At some point you have to settle down and make plays.


Graham Knight: All right. And I lied to you. I've got one more. Coast Guard will be wearing the Station 17 uniform this time. The first time they wore it you gave a pep talk to them about, kind of, paying honor to the men who represented Station 17 or part of the Station 17. What kind of an impact do you expect that to have this this game?


Coach C.C. Grant: Well, I'll certainly use that again and just remind them one last time this season just to, you know, just remind those guys of the service that those who came before them had and what type of people they were. So and just kind of remember that they take that into the game with them. So we'll be excited for it. I'm sure Merchant Marines will be excited to be here. It's going to be a beautiful weekend, so we're looking forward to it.


Graham Knight: All right, coach, thank you. Good luck. I'll see you on Saturday.


Coach C.C. Grant: All right. Thank you.