THROGGS NECK, NY - The Maritime College football team is looking for their fourth straight postseason appearance in the 2019 season after finishing 7-4 last year and making an appearance in the New England Bowl. The Privateers have many new faces in the 2019 season, including first-year head coach Mickey Rehring.
"The transition to a new coaching staff this year has been great and that's because of the type of players we have here at Maritime," said Rehring. "The players are knowledgeable and able to take on these types of challenges, Maritime is not an easy place and they are challenged on a daily basis academically, socially and athletically. This is basically the third new offense for them in a calendar year so obviously it took them a day or two to get going, but now we're starting to see them come into their own and see the players that we thought we could count performing at a high level."
Maritime lost multiple key players on the offensive end from the 2018 season, including quarterback Thomas Wright and wide receivers Brandonn Drumgole and Christian Castle. Wright was named the ECFC Offensive Player of the Year in 2018, while his two favorite targets in Drumgole and Castle accounted for over 1,600 receiving yards and 20 touchdowns. However, Rehring is confident that the Privateers have the play makers to fill in the gaps and continue to run a powerful offense.
"You definitely can't replace the talent that we had last year, but it's something where the players that we have use that 'next man up' mentality," said Rehring. "We need to replace the quarterback spot and other skill positions, but you also need guys to block for them and we have a lot of those guys back up front."
One of the key returners on the offensive line for the Privateers is Michael Korwan, who was named Second-Team All-ECFC a season ago. Maritime's offensive line from last season only allowed 20 sacks out of 383 pass attempts in 2018 and helped Maritime average 4.4 yards per carry.
The Privateers will turn to senior captain Andrew Geni to help lead the way at the wide receiver position this season. Geni was named a captain earlier this offseason after missing the 2018 season due to injury. The Bronx, NY native is confident that the Maritime offense will operate at a high level this year, and praises Rehring's ability to connect with the team. "Coach Rehring came in right away and connected with everybody on a personal level," said Geni. "He is really excited to take over this program and we're just feeding off his energy."
Other key returns on the offensive end include, Second-Team All-ECFC tight end Benjamin Andrews, Christian Schiavone, William Patsakos, Liam McManus, and Michael Leahy. In 2018, Maritime averaged 32.64 points per game and 396.2 yards per game.
On the defensive end, Maritime returns captains Liam Bailey and Justin Snuffer, who were the top two leading tacklers from a season ago. As a junior captain, Bailey broke the single-season program record for tackles with 126 and earned First-Team All-ECFC honors at the linebacker position. In the secondary, Snuffer was second on the team in total tackles with 68 and picked up four interceptions with 77 return yards, which was good enough to put him at the top of the career record books in interception return yardage. Bailey and Snuffer both echoed the goal of improving on last year's results and taking home the ECFC title.
"Our goal is the same as last year, win the ECFC Championship," said Bailey. "We came up short last year, but we're looking forward to this year and getting it done."
"Always going into the year the expectation is championships," said Snuffer. "Being voted first in the preseason is a great honor, but to us it doesn't mean anything and we still have a lot to prove and you can see that here with how hard we're working every day."
In 2018, the Maritime defense held opponents to an average of 22 points per game and 309.4 yards per game. Other key returners to the defensive side of the ball include James Varga, Jabari Corsfield, Dennis Hanley, Joseph Behr and Tayler Trapani. On special teams, the Privateers return Joseph Gagliardi, who picked up First-Team All-ECFC honors as a freshman punter a season ago.
"Preseason has been great," said Rehring. "The intensity level that we've had at practice has been through the roof and just to see how the players have developed from the spring and now into fall and all the hard work that they have put in over the summer months."
Maritime opens up its 2019 season on Saturday, September 7 on Reinhart Field against Maine Maritime at 12:00 p.m. To see the full 2019 schedule, purchase season tickets, and buy your tailgate spot, please click the links below!