Coast Guard freshman WR Damaso Jaime is best man for the job

Freshman wide receiver Damaso Jaime has turned into a key contributor for the Coast Guard football team in his first season. (Photo courtesy of CGA athletics)
Freshman wide receiver Damaso Jaime has turned into a key contributor for the Coast Guard football team in his first season. (Photo courtesy of CGA athletics)

New London — Coast Guard Academy coach Bill George has a story about freshman wide receiver Damaso Jaime, involving George's recruiting visit to Jaime's home in Lake Como, N.J.

George was set to meet with Jaime and his mom and dad, Damaso and Lisa, but was also met by Jaime's older sisters Torri and Kailee.

"They're at me like bulldogs," George said, grinning as he told the story at Wednesday's weekly football team luncheon, speaking of Torri and Kailee. "One question after another. One of them circles a date like two years from now — it was two years ago in November or December — and says, 'If he comes to the Coast Guard, he'll be able to come to this wedding?'

"I said, 'Sure.' I had my feet crossed under the table."

And so it was that Jaime, who attended Naval Prep last season in Newport, R.I., before arriving at Coast Guard, missed a game this season to serve as the best man in Torri's wedding.

But that's no longer even the best story involving Jaime and the Coast Guard football team.

Jaime, listed at 6 feet, 190 pounds, started his first career game at wide receiver Saturday and helped lead the Bears to a 24-10 victory over WPI before 1,172 giddy fans at Cadet Memorial Field. Jaime, who previously started on the punt return team, made seven catches for 66 yards, including his first career touchdown from quarterback Ryan Jones with 5 minutes, 29 seconds to play, giving Coast Guard a more comfortable two-touchdown cushion.

Coast Guard will play rival Merchant Marine for the Secretaries' Cup at noon Saturday, to be broadcast by ESPN3, with Jaime in the lineup.

"It was very exciting. I was very nervous," Jaime said of the start against WPI. "I got nervous on the punt return (WPI punted to open the game), knowing 'I'm going to start my first offensive drive.' I fair caught it a little early. ... I wasn't expecting to be targeted right away."

Jones threw to him on Coast Guard's sixth play. Jaime caught it for an 8-yard gain on second-and-6. Jones wound up 30-for-37 for 251 yards and two touchdowns (he also rushed for a touchdown). Jaime was a part of that, once leaping for a catch over the middle in between two defenders.

He saw Jones glance at him running onto the field just prior to the touchdown and knew the ball was coming his way.

"When I get confident, I play better," Jaime said. "I wanted to make all the catches because I was messing up the assignments."

Jaime was inserted into the Coast Guard lineup during the Bears' bye week.

Jaime was originally the backup to Justin Moffatt at the "H" or slot receiver spot in Coast Guard's scheme and so the coaches thought it might be easier to move Moffatt than teach the freshman a new position. After a week of practicing that way, George nixed the idea and moved Moffatt back to "H" and put Jaime at the "R" or on the right side.

Jaime had people standing behind him to guide him at various times in the week leading up to the WPI game, at times fellow receivers Liam Middleton and Odell Graham and at times wide receivers coach Pat Meggers.

"He's really talented," Coast Guard senior captain and wide receiver Chip Crowley said. "I remember being thrust into a start role as a fourth class. It's been a great team effort in getting him ready. He's been great for us."

Another story from George: he watched a high school film of Jaime in which he helped lead Manasquan High School to the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group II title in 2016. Jaime, also a cornerback back then, had a 41-yard interception return to set up the game-clinching touchdown.

"I was like, 'Wait! We're recruiting this kid as a receiver!'" George said.

Jaime has one punt return for 14 yards this season. He's hoping to make that a part of his arsenal at Coast Guard, too.

"My head coach (in high school) went to Naval Prep," Jaime said Wednesday. "He steered me in the direction (of Coast Guard). On my overnight visit, I stayed with Jack (Brandt, now Coast Guard's senior captain). Jack's a great recruiter.

"The atmosphere, it's so small. My sisters went to college and I never thought I'd fit into the regular college experience. I was sold after my visit."

v.fulkerson@theday.com 

 

 

 

 

 

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