October 3, 2013
Hamilton’s football team is anything but weak spirited. During this year’s Fallcoming weekend, the Continentals had high hopes as they squared off against Wesleyan, who finished tied for fourth in the NESCAC League last season and defeated Tufts 52-9 in this year’s opening game. This weekend, Wesleyan (2-0 overall, 2-0 NESCAC) won at Hamilton for the first time since 2007.
From the kickoff of the game, Hamilton fought hard to match the opponent’s score. At the very start of the first quarter, the Cardinals already had grabbed a 7-0 lead on the first play of its second offensive series, which they continued to add to throughout the entire first half.
In the final five minutes of play, the Continentals avoided shutout thanks to sophomore Colin Pastorella’s 24-yard touchdown strike to Joe Jensen ’15.
Despite the heavy loss, the Hamilton vs. Wesleyan game proved to be a showcase of talent for several Continentals. On offense, returning starting running back and team captain James Stanell ’14 finished with 33 yards on eight rushing attempts. Unfortunatley, Stanell was injured in the second quarter and was unable to play for the remainder of the game. Jensen posted the second 100-yard receiving game of his Hamilton career with four catches for 103 yards and the Continentals’ touchdown. Pastorella played the entire second half and delivered the one touchdown pass, while Rico Gonzalez ’16 led Hamilton’s rushing attack. Chase Rosenberg ’17 also had first collegiate start in the first half of the game.
On defense, returning starting defensive end and team captain Andrew Madigan ’14 forced a fumble, and John Phelan ’16 was credited with a career-high 11 tackles, including two for losses for the Continentals. Alex Mitko ’16 also finished the game with a career-best 10 stops.
“We played very hard both ways, however we missed little assignments too often which can lead to big plays,” said Stanell. Head Coach Andrew Cohen also attributed the team’s loss to “not executing [plays] to the best of our abilities.”
At the start of a season with a distinctly “different culture” than the previous year’s, it is not unusual for a team to face these kinds of difficultires. Cohen has no doubts regarding the ultimate rewards of the team’s hard work. The team, he said, is a “great group” that is consistently improving during training and practices.
“[The team] did take a step back [against Wesleyan],” he said. It his clear, however, that this past weekend’s loss has not caused him to lose any hope. He said with confidence, “We will get back on track.”
Stanell and Madigan emphasize the team’s accomplishments from the Wesleyan game, notably the undeniable unity and effort demonstrated by all players.
“I was extremely proud of how hard everyone played,” Stanell said. “We will continue to work diligently everyday to produce the results we know we are capable of.”
Madigan also praised the Continentals’ enduring determination to play hard despite the disheartening level of competition. He said, “[Our] team never quit and competed from start to finish. We have a 110% mentality that doesn’t turn off, which is a huge positive on this season. If we make a few corrections and we all do what is asked of us, we will be successful.”
This weekend, the Continentals travel to Hartford, Connecticut to face Trinity. When Hamilton last met this opponent at Steuben Field, the men were defeated 14-53. According to Cohen, during this and future games, the goal is to work towards improving as a team rather than overly concerning themselves with their opponent. “We’re excited…we had a set back but that’s over with,” he said.
The dedicated members of the Hamilton football team share their coach’s enthusiasm towards building up and strengthening the new team. They also channel his optimism. “This is not the same Hamilton program it has been for the last decade,” Madigan said. “[We] are a family, and we don’t quit.”