Maritime colleges fight for bragging rights in budding rivalry

first_imgIn the first game of his collegiate career, State University of New York Maritime’s Stephen Roman played Massachusetts Maritime in a game billed as the Chowder Bowl.Though it was the first meeting between the schools, it has since taken on greater historical importance.“It felt like it became an instant rivalry,” Roman said.The intensity of the matchup between the Massachusetts Maritime Buccaneers and SUNY Maritime Privateers is primarily fueled by the players’ career choices. Both colleges prepare their students for careers in the nautical industry. The players know they open the season each year against peers they will compete against for employment, as well as on-field supremacy. Alumni from both schools trade barbs on the game throughout the year.That banter has been one-sided, though. SUNY Maritime owns a 4-0 record in the series. Last season was the first since the series began that the two schools did not face off. The cruise schedule of Massachusetts Maritime’s training ship led to the game’s cancellation.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textOn Friday at 7 p.m., the rivalry resumes as SUNY’s cadets and a few thousand local fans will give Massachusetts Maritime a hostile welcome in Throgg’s Neck, N.Y.“I think it’s kind of a respect thing when you’re out actually in the industry after you’re through college and you look back … and know that you were the best football team,” former SUNY Maritime defensive end Thomas Boney said. “It’s kind of just being respected, being able to give them crap.”Massachusetts head coach Jeremy Cameron and SUNY head coach Clayton Kendrick-Holmes call their respective schools the destination for in-state recruits pursuing maritime careers.Yet in coastal states like New Jersey and Florida, Cameron and Kendrick-Holmes often find themselves trying to lure the same players to their academies. Inevitably, one coach misses out on a prospect. Those players take the field against the once-potential teammates they spurned.The recruiting crossfire only intensifies the rivalry.“I actually enjoyed playing at Massachusetts Maritime because I got recruited by them and actually wanted to beat them more,” Boney said.A.J. Gillan played linebacker and captained SUNY Maritime his junior year. But in high school, Massachusetts Maritime heavily recruited him, too. Then, the Privateers forgot him, Roman said.Beating his Chowder Bowl rivals became an obsession.Though only the 2009 Chowder Bowl was decided by more than 10 points, Massachusetts Maritime failed to stop New York in the three closer contests. While that dominance is a point of pride for the Privateers, it haunts the Buccaneers.Since spring practice, Massachusetts harped on its 0-4 record against its rival, defensive captain Nick Mazurkiewicz said. He also predicted an end to SUNY’s rushing dominance, a historic advantage.“We have a bunch of returning starters. My buddies on the line are doing excellent at practice, the linebackers are doing awesome, the D-backs are unbelievable so we have a bunch of experience coming back on D,” he said. “I think we can shut them down.”Regardless of the result, the game will ripple into the maritime workplace. Players from both sides of the rivalry said they are constantly reminded of the game’s importance by alumni.“My cousin graduated when I was a freshman and he was a senior captain, and I think he would be thrilled,” Mazurkiewicz said. “He’s always following me around, and I talked to a bunch of the guys from last season and the year before that, and they’re always pushing us to win because we’re a big family out there, you know, even when we’re not with each other.”On the field, some mild trash talk is exchanged.Some players consider Massachusetts a better educational institution with New York wearing the label of a less serious school, senior captain Eric Heedles said.Ultimately, SUNY prefers to point to its 4-0 record.Yet an underlying respect for each other’s career choices prevents any deep-seeded animosity.“We have the utmost respect for New York Maritime and in particular coach Holmes, obviously, with his service in the military,” Cameron said. “He’s a total class guy and he’s a great guy. So, you know we have a lot of respect for him and his program.”Holmes is a 1992 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy who performed active duty as recently as 2011 in Kandahar, Afghanistan. The respectfully intense Chowder Bowl is like a small-scale version of the Army-Navy game, he said.“I think our industry, the fact that it’s a smaller community that you actually work together from day one, I think it kind of heightens the — it’s an intense rivalry,” Cameron said. “I wouldn’t call it friendly at all.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on September 4, 2012 at 1:07 am Contact Jacob: [email protected] | @Jacob_Klinger_last_img

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