Springfield, Mass. -- October 13, 2012 -- Freshman quarterback Jonathan Marrero scored three touchdowns and passed for four more, all in the first half, to lead his Springfield College football team to a 66-13 Liberty League victory over the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in front of a Homecoming Day crowd today at Amos Alonzo Stagg Field.
With the win, Springfield raises its record to 4-3 overall, 2-2 in the Liberty League, while USMMA falls to 3-4 overall, 1-3 in conference play.
Marrero, making just his third start overall, and his first at home, had quite a day. The 5-9 Boston native ran for 144 net yards and three touchdowns of 27, 24, and 24 yards. He also passed for four more TDs of 14, 43, 57, and 36 yards -- accomplishing the vast majority of all that in the first half, including all seven TDs.
Marrero played for less than seven minutes of the third quarter before he came out of the game for good.
Tops among Marrero's accomplishments today was his Springfield College record-tying performance -- most TD passes in a game (4). It was the fourth time in SC history that had been accomplished, the last time by Kevin Cahill versus UMass Dartmouth in 2000.
Springfield won the toss and elected to receive. Just 2:33 later, the Pride had marched 75 yards in eight plays, with Marrero running down the left sideline for a 27 yard score. Senior Ricky Peacock (Tucker, Ga.) booted home the first of six extra points, and it was 7-0, Springfield.
With 3:36 left in the first period, Marrero found junior James Poggio (East Granby, Conn.) for a 14-yard score, and it was 14-0.
But with 17 seconds left in the first, the Mariners struck back with a 62-yard bomb right down the middle from senior QB Alex Coviello (Cape Coral, Fla.) to junior WR Westin Haddock (Merritt Island, Fla.), making it 14-7.
In the second quarter, SC scored five touchdowns, three within a span of two minutes. It began with Marrero running it in from 24 yards out with 13:07 left. That capped a 63-yard drive in five plays.
After taking advantage of a short punt, SC scored in lightning-quick fashion. It took one play for Marrero to hit senior RB Mike Davis (Madison, Conn.) for a 43-yard bomb of his own for a score. Marrero then found Poggio for a two-point conversion, making the score 28-7 with 11:20 left.
Then came the three TDs in two minutes, the first of which came with 3:23 remaining on a 24-yard run by Marrero. That culminated a 10-play, 79-yard march.
The next two times Marrero touched the ball, it took him one play each to zip the ball to Poggio for a 57-yard TD with 1:44 left, and to senior WR Phil Baier (Braintree, Mass.) for a 36-yard TD with 1:23 left. On that drive, SC took advantage of a Coviello fumble, which had set up a 1st-and-10 at the Mariners' 36.
In the second half, play slowed down, although there was a flurry of activity in the game's last 3:19.
Peacock scored on a 23-yard field goal with 5:23 left for the only points of the third quarter. SC had marched 42 yards on nine plays, making it 52-7.
With 3:19 left, following a muffed punt by the Mariners, it was SC freshman QB Timothy O'Brien (East Bridgewater, Mass.), (the Pride's #5 quarterback) busting up the middle for a 24-yard TD in just one play.
USMMA was not quite done, however. With 2:36 left, Mariners' back-up sophomore QB Luke Stidham (Baltimore, Md.) scored on a 7-yard burst, making it 59-13.
USMMA got the ball back one more time, but with 11 seconds left, the Mariners fumbled the ball one more time -- and Pride sophomore LB Mike Chicoine (Bridgewater, Mass.) scooped the ball up and ran it in from 29 yards away for the game's final tally with only eight seconds remaining.
This game featured the 9th- (USMMA) and 10th-ranked (SC) Division III rushing offenses in the country entering the contest. But SC rushed for 382 yards, while USMMA rushed for just 40 yards. Overall, SC gained 545 yards of total offense, while the Mariners gained 223 yards. SC produced 26 first downs to USMMA's 11.
Marrero completed six passes in eight attempts, plus a two-point conversion, including a long of 57 yards. He also ran for an additional 144 yards, averaging 9.6 yards per carry. Davis followed with 61 yards rushing, while fourth-string junior QB Bryan MacDonald (Rocky Hill, Conn.) rushed for 40 yards. SC had lost its top two QB's to injury much earlier in the season.
Poggio caught three passes for 80 yards and two TDs. Poggio also averaged 44.5 yards on four punts, including a long of 58.
Defensively, junior FS Sam Weiss (Glasser, N.J.) and freshman back-up LB Jacob Prezorski (Cobleskill, N.Y.) led SC with six tackles each.
For USMMA, Stidman turned out to be the leading passer, going 7-for-11 for 99 yards. Haddock had two receptions for 67 yards and one TD.
Defensively, for USMMA, junior DB Tyler Washington (Chatham, N.Y.) finished with a game-high 10 tackles.
Next Saturday, SC will continue its Liberty League battles at St. Lawrence in a 1 pm match-up.