• Graham Knight

Coast Guard Looks To Make It Two Straight At Home vs. AMCATS

by Graham Knight

Coast Guard hit the field 90 minutes after Army did on Saturday, September 18th, just 140 miles east of where their Service Academy brethren were playing UConn at West Point, and the Bears seemed to be channeling some of the same quick-strike karma as the Black Knights, scoring two touchdowns in their first four offensive plays, rolling to a convincing 33-6 Homecoming win over Nichols College.

The first touchdown came on the second play from scrimmage as junior running back Jared Colletti scampered 92 yards for the opening score of the game to give Coast Guard a 7-0 lead. Then, on their next possession, it was another junior's turn: running back Spencer McMillon dashed 71 yards on the second play of that drive to make the score 14-0 after just four plays.

McMillon added another 18-yard touchdown run in the second quarter to give Coast Guard a 21-0 lead at halftime. The Bears never looked back, holding Nichols off the score board until the third quarter and cruising to their second win in three games.

McMillon and Colletti both had 100-yard days: McMillon ran for 135 yards on 11 carries, an average of more than 12-yards per touch, and Colletti logged 141 yards on 21 carries.

Coast Guard Bears' junior running back Spencer McMillion after his long TD run in the game against Nichols College at Cadet Memorial Field on September 18, 2021.

"Coach came in with plan to run the ball and that's what we did," Colletti said after the game. "I got to give all the credit to the O-line, though. They killed it . . . and you saw what me and Spencer can do. So, me and Spencer, kind of like a one two punch, keeping us both fresh."

Bears quarterback Tafari Wall went 12 for 19 and 140 yards. He had one TD to Demaso Jaime in the 4th quarter and threw one interception. Jaime finished the day with three catches for 67 yards to lead the Bears in receiving.

On defense the Bears were stout, forcing three Bison turnovers -- all interceptions -- and handed Nichols its first loss of the season.

The two defensive co-captains: linebacker Michael Palermo and defensive back Adam Jabril-Barnes, dominated the game. Jabril-Barnes had seven tackles and an pick, while Palermo added 10 tackles.

"We got three picks," Palermo said. "You see 33-6, so I think that makes a huge difference. We wanted to put up a goose egg, didn't happen, but I'm just so proud of these guys. It's really all them. I'm just filling holes and making tackles, just like all of them,"

For Coast Guard, the chance to once again play at home, with fans in the stands and Homecoming celebrations, held special meaning

"We have a great fan base," Colletti said, noting that the first of two Homecomings this year at Coast Guard marked the golden anniversary of the USCGA football program, a celebration which had been delayed a year by the pandemic. "Those guys were all back so we just wanted to play for them."

"This place is special," added Palermo. "I think we play in the nicest stadium in the league. Just to come back, with the Homecoming guys . . . our crowd . . . there's no better feeling."

"Any time you can win in front of a Homecoming crowd it's special," agreed Head Coach C.C. Grant.

Next up for the Bears is another home game, this time against Anna Maria College. The AMCATS are coming off of a 23-13 win over Massachusetts Maritime in which quarterback Alex Cohen was named ECFC Player of the Week.

edited for web by Joe Harman