Throggs Neck, NY (Sept. 11, 2014) – Trailing 14-3 at the end of a sloppily played first half, the SUNY Maritime Privateers (1-1) defeated the Massachusetts Maritime Buccaneers (0-1) in and entertaining, second half, seesaw battle to take their sixth Chowder Bowl victory in seven meetings. QB Zack Chilcott took a QB sneak in from the one with 1:33 left to take the lead for good, but not before great last minute efforts by the visiting Buccaneers from Buzzard’s Bay on Cape Cod. An unsuccessful point after attempt gave the Privateers a 31-28 lead. Mass Maritime’s next comeback attempt resulted in an interception of a John Turdel “duck” by CB Chris Klass. MMA used their three remaining time outs to force a punt. With 22 seconds left, SUNY LB Duke Alvora took the snap and raced back 49 yards for an eventual safety while trying to run out the clock. However, the Buccos knocked him out of the end zone with nine ticks remaining on the game clock. SUNY kicked off from the 20 with a 31-30 lead, and the Buccaneers used a couple of nifty laterals on the return to get past midfield until they were stopped after time had expired for SUNY Maritime to come out on top.
The contest was played at SUNY’s Reinhart Field in the shadows of the Throggs Neck Bridge connecting The Bronx with Long Island on the 13th anniversary of 9-11. The home team hosted “Heroes Night” honoring the Military, NYPD, and NYCFD first responders in attendance and those related to players of their football team. From my seat, I could see the Freedom Tower in the distance and the New York City Skyline as well as the lit-up Throggs Neck Bridge. Freighters and tugs pushing barges steamed past the field through Little Bay toward the East River. The Empire State Building lit up in red, white, and blue. It was an appropriate game to attend on this infamous day.
The first half of play was marred by excessive penalties, turnovers, blocked kicks, and inept play by both offenses resulting in a 14-3 first half lead for MMA. Klass’s first INT resulted in three points for SUNY to score first on a 24-yard FG by Diego Deitrich (Bergen Catholic, NJ by way of Rio de Janiero, Brazil – remember, Catholic high schools in NJ do not recruit). The Buccaneers scored in the second period with a 10-yard TD pass from John Trudel to TE Aidan Desrosiers. The PAT was blocked. Their second score came close to the end of the first half when LB Victor Andrade picked up a fumble and returned it 30 yards for a TD. Trudel’s pass to Jon Wright gave MMA a14-3 lead.
SUNY honored members of players’ families in the military and first responders during halftime festivities. Many SUNY students, a mixture of military in hairstyles and some in uniforms but definitely typical college students, hung around during the first half and left at halftime not seeming confident in their classmates’ capabilities to come back. Both offenses ran the triple option and were frustrated in the first half against defenses very familiar with their similar styled offenses (SUNY’s HC is Clayton Hendrick-Holmes, a 1992 gradaute of the US Naval Academy) . Things would change in the second half. Both offenses came out much more crisp.
Chilcott ended an 88-yard TD drive with a 13-yard TD run and threw a two-point conversion to RB Greg Capernaro to tighten the score, 14-11. The Privateers didn’t stop there. On their next possession, a 52-yard pass down to MMA’s seven gave them a first and goal. After that, Capernaro ran it in from the four to take the lead for the Privateers, 18-14.
Late in the third, the Buccaneers offense found life starting a drive from their 44. In the final period, MMA started the scoring on a one-yard dive by David Yerxa to retake the advantage, 21-18. SUNY’s offense fired on all cylinders on a 67-yard drive with Chilcott rolling right and connecting with WR Brian Leonard on a post pattern from the same side for a 24-yard score. The home team was back in command, 25-21. Turdel brought Mass back quickly as a 34-yard pass to WR Bobby Rossano went to the Privateers’ 29. With a fourth and goal at the two, a quick slant to the right to Desrosiers reset the scoreboard for a 28-25 lead before Chilcott led his team from their 42 for the exciting finish.
The game started slow and sloppy. Checking out the surroundings was more interesting than the football game, but both offenses came to play better in the second half to make for an entertaining game.
Extra points: Traffic was fairly light driving into the city over the George Washington Bridge and non-existent on the way home. Take exit 9 off I-295 South before crossing the Throggs Neck and a quick right and a left at the next light takes you to the campus on Throggs Neck on the Long Island Sound.
Fans heckled the PA announcer who was used to saying “Maritime” to describe the home team. Fans would say, “They’re both Maritime!” There’s one set of bleachers looking toward Little Bay. Fans from both teams sit on the same side. The Home team stays across the way, near the shore line.
The most expensive cost this evening was the $13 toll to cross the GWB. Parking was free, tickets were free, program was $3, and two dogs with everything on them and an iced tea were only $8. Cheap date by myself and in New York City no less!
Driving off campus on the way home, there was neighborhood bar on a corner with an outdoor deck that was hopping after the game. Looks like a place we’ll have to visit if we go back for a Saturday afternoon game.
The campus has some affiliations as a Navy base. It’s on the grounds of what was originally Fort Schuyler which defended New York waterways back in the day.
The Privateers next game is literally a short swim away east along the Long Island sound at the Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point. The Buccaneers head back to Buzzard’s Bay to host Maine Maritime for another traditional rivalry game between Maritime schools. We go to FDU Madison in Jersey for another D-3 game when the Devils host The College of New Jersey Lions.
According to the game program, nearly 100% of SUNY-Maritime grads are employed in careers of their choices within three months after graduation. Their 565-foot training ship, Empire State, is docked on campus and cruises with student crews during the summer months around the world.