Football suffers back-to-back home losses to Williams Ephs and Middlebury Panthers

By Sirianna Santacrose '15

Sometimes even hard work and consistent effort are not enough to create a game-winning situation. In the past two weekends, the football team has suffered losses to two NESCAC competitors, resulting in a current conference record of 1-6-0.

Their home game against Williams College on Oct. 27 began and ended in the Ephs’ favor. Darren Hartwell ’13 made a touchdown in the first few minutes after returning the opening 90-yard kickoff. This gave the Ephs an early 7-0 lead. The Conts responded by tying up the score over the course of six running plays, finishing off sophomore Tom Murphy’s first touchdown with senior Garrett Hoy’s successful PAT with 11:22 left in the first quarter. Midway through the second quarter, the score was still 7-7. But a touchdown made with 6:32 left in the first half, followed by a 38-yard touchdown completed to Hartwell three minutes later, allowed Williams to take the lead.

At the start of the second half, Hamilton junior James Stanell brought the ball into the end zone, helping to close the gap in the score. Jordan Eck ’13 passed to Patrick Donadio ’15 in the end zone, which tightened up the score to 21-18 with 8:55 left in the game. Williams’ Mallock reaffirmed the Ephs’ determination to win with a touchdown several minutes later. The Conts concluded their scoring of the day with a completed 22-yard pass from Eck to Jensen in the left corner of the end zone. Eph junior Richie Beaton added another touchdown, bringing the final score to 34-26. Although this was a loss for Hamilton, the Conts held a 414-yard advantage over Williams’ 304 yards by the end of the game.

Hamilton’s standout player was Stanell, who ran 109 yards and gave his team a touchdown on 19 carries. Eck also showed his ability to see open passes in high-pressure situations, throwing one touchdown and passing 271 yards during the game. This was a season high for him. Several other players had individual successes, including sophomore Joe Jensen, who caught six passes for a career-high of 109 yards. Hamilton defense was headed by Mike MacDonald ’13, who racked up eleven tackles.

The cold, windy weather swept across Steuben Field once again on Nov. 3, when Hamilton hosted Middlebury in the Old Rocking Chair Classic. This competition has been played for 33 years, and the Panther’s win was their 17th in a row in the Classic. Hamilton’s 11 seniors were honored before the game, which was their last home contest of the season.

The Panthers fought hard to gain advantage of the field in the first half. McCallum Foote ’14, who has broken NESCAC and school records this season with 27 touchdown passes, passed to a wide open Billy Chapman ’13 early in the first quarter. Chapman dodged several tacklers near the goal line and successfully kept possession of the ball into the end zone for the Panther’s first touchdown.         

At 1:55 left in the first quarter, Stanell determinately made it through a line of Midd defenders and outraced them for a 56-yard touchdown that tied up the score. First-year Matthew Minno made two touchdowns for the Panthers in the first half. Along with Minno’s contribution, fellow first-year Jake Feury’s 25-yard field goal, made with 46.8 seconds left, brought the score to 24-7 at the halftime.

Although Middlebury scored on both of their first two possessions of the third quarter, the Conts would not go down without a fight. Eck passed to Jensen for a 19-yard score in the right corner of the end zone with 4:44 left in the third. Three minutes later, Eck ran 11 yards untouched to the end zone, bringing the score to 37-21. However, the Panthers took the lead for good on their next two drives, with Zach Driscoll ’13 and Matt Rea ’14 making one touchdown each. Middlebury ended up with a total of 530 yards of offense and 28 first downs throughout the game.

Many players kept up strong stats in this game, as well. Stanell ran a game-high 129 yards. For the fourth straight game, Jensen caught a touchdown pass. Notably, Austin Fisher ’15 had his first interception and Hoy made all three of his PATs. MacDonald made 10 tackles, a team-high. He was selected for the all-conference second team last year and has made more than 200 tackles as a linebacker over his collegiate career.

This year, in the team’s 120th season, Andrew Cohen stepped up as the new Head Football Coach. He served as defensive line coach at Columbia University between 2005-2007, defensive coordinator and linebacker coach at Bucknell University until 2009 and most recently acted as defensive coordinator at Bowdoin College in 2011. When asked about the Williams game, he said “we had opportunities on both sides of the ball offensively and defensively, but our field position… was a problem. Their returner [Hartwell] was the best player in the league, so they had the ball and a good field position throughout the day.”

In regard to the loss to Middlebury, Coach Cohen said the team’s biggest problem was that it “struggled to cover the pass… their receivers are big and athletic and we had trouble stopping them.”

Although the team will lose 11 seniors next year, Coach Cohen is confident that the team will remain a cohesive unit.

“We’ll lose some key players to our team, but we have a lot of good young football players that’ll be able to pick up and continue to improve our program.”

Players are also hopeful that they will be able to keep strengthening their game play in the final contest of the season at Bates on Nov. 10. Stanell stated that “on the offensive side of the ball, I think we are gaining more and more confidence every week and we hope to keep building in our last game this Saturday.” If the team continues to build on this confidence, it will no doubt put up a hard fight against the 4-3 Bobcats this weekend.


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