HARTFORD, CT – Trinity College shut down the Williams rushing attack and opened up a 7-0 first half lead on their way to snapping the Ephs' nine-game win steak and extending their Jesse-Miller Field streak to 40 with a 21-13 win.
Trinity held Williams to just 24 yards on the ground on 26 attempts in improving to 2-0 on the year and dropping the Ephs to 1-1.
The game was characteristic of the intense rivalry between Williams and Trinity, a 60-game history that has the teams at a mere 0.5 point differential. Eph head coach, Aaron Kelton, was, "impressed with his team today," and is looking towards what is sure to be a bright future for the Ephs this fall. "Everybody's still got a lot of football left to play this year."
The Ephs were put in a tough position today, with a slew of key players forced off the field. Starting running back Alex Scyocurka remained sidelined after last week's match up at Bowdoin, starting QB, Chris Cleary, left the field after an injury early in the first quarter, center Vincent Nistico was also injured in the first quarter, and dynamic senior defensive back Tyler Cole was also unable to compete.
Trinity was able to start off the game strong, holding Williams scoreless throughout the entire first half, while putting themselves up on the scoreboard less than ten minutes into play.
Sophomore Bantam QB, Hedley Jennings, rocketed a 21-yard pass to star wide receiver AJ Jones, wide open after being lost by the Eph secondary. First-year Zach Conte converted the PAT Trinity and Trinity broke on top 7-0 with 6:18 remaining in the first quarter.
Though this first quarter featured some nice punt returns by Eph star wide receiver Darren Hartwell, the offense failed to follow through. And, when sophomore Adam Marske replaced Cleary as QB, the offense had some issues adjusting to the shift; Marske relied perhaps too heavily on Hartwell, missing some opportunities to connect with his other receivers. "He [Adam]came out on the field when we needed him and played with confidence. He did some really great things out on that field today," Kelton said of Marske about his debut today at QB.
Trinity maintained their seven-point lead as the clock ran out on the first quarter.
Marske led the Ephs to a bold first play in the second quarter, delivering a smart 24-yard pass, which hit sophomore WR, Greg Payton, in stride. Marske then opted predominantly for hand-offs to Tom Wohlwender, which came up empty as the experienced Trinity defense was able to shut down nearly all of the ground attempts.
Marske was able to connect later in the quarter to senior WR, Tom Kearney, gaining 34 yards for the Ephs. And, after a bubble-screen pass to Hartwell the Ephs were at the 20-yard line, in the midst of their longest drive of the game.
Sophomore Luke Faust, however, was unable to execute a 35-yard field goal attempt sending the ball wide to the left of the goal posts.
Though this wasn't ideal, "I'm not too worried about this performance from special teams," Kelton said. "We didn't do a great job, but we're getting better."
Trinity was also be the first team to score in the second half. Out of a scramble Trinity QB Hedley Jennings found junior Bantam WR, Drew Gombala at the five-yard line. From there, sophomore RB, Evan Bunker, charged into the end zone. Conte had his second successful PAT, and the Bantams led 14-0 at 9:23 of the third quarter.
The Ephs were able to get their first touchdown by employing a hurry-up/no-huddle offense, which Kelton said, "was not something we normally do but had in our game-plan. We had to try something new to really get back in the game."
After forcing the Bantams to punt Darren Hartwell returned Hedley Jennings punt of 40 yards, 36 yards and the Ephs got more yardage with a late hit being whistled against Trinity and had a first down on the Bantams' 24-yardline.
The Bantam defense held though as the Ephs gained two yards on a rush and then failed to complete three straight passes.
With just 3:30 remaining in the game the Ephs took over on their own 37-yard line, where Markse on first down was victimized by a pick by Rob Gau who returned the ball to the Eph 11-yard line. "It was unfortunate," Kelton noted, "but this interception was just one person missing one assignment. Nothing bigger."
A second down sack by Dylan Schultz left Trinity on the 21 with a third and 20. Hedley Jennings rolled right and threw back to his left to a wide-open Ben Crick who scored untouched. With the successful PAT Trinity led 21-6.
The Ephs would not go quietly though as they mounted a drive of their own that featured Marske hitting on 5 of 7 passes, the last a 6-yard bubble screen to Hartwell who scored the TD. Luke Faust's PAT was good and the Bantams led the Ephs 21-13 with 54 seconds left.
With everyone at Jesse-Miller Field expecting the Eph onsides kick, Joe Mallock kicked it off a Bantam and the Ephs recovered the ball. The referees, however, determined the Ephs had had a false start and on the re-kick the Bantams secured the ball and the win.
Next up for the Ephs is their home opener on Weston Field on October 8 when they entertain the Bates Bobcats at 1:30 PM.