CLINTON, NY – Coupling Darren Hartwell's record-setting offensive effort with the dynamic defensive presence of Chris Kim and Antonio Blanco, the Williams Ephs (3-3) beat the Hamilton College Continentals (1-5) 34-26.
The Ephs struck early as Darren Hartwell took the opening kickoff back 90 yards for a TD, giving Williams a 7-0 lead 12 seconds into the contest.
"Darren started the game off great," remarked Eph Head Coach, Aaron Kelton. "The long kick off return really set the tone and energy we needed… he is always dynamic and dominant."
The Continentals were quick to respond, scoring on their first possession, covering 60 yards in six plays. James Stanell carried four times on the drive for 45 yards, but it was QB Jordan Eck who ran the last nine for the TD. At 11:22 of the first quarter the game was tied at 7.
Midway through the second quarter the Ephs took over on their own 44 after a 12-yard punt return by Darren Hartwell. On third and 8 from the 46 Eph sophomore QB Tom Murphy connected on a 10-yard pass to Hartwell to pick up the first down. From there it was all Tom Wohlwender as the bruising back carried three times for gains of 26, 6 and 12 to put Williams up 14-7.
On the Continentals' next drive, Chris Kim picked off a pass by Jordan Eck, regaining possession for Williams and returning the ball to the Hamilton 49. From there, Murphy completed a 6-yard pass to Hartwell, and handed off to Wohlwender for five more yards before Kristian LaPointe picked up 15 yards.
Murphy then rocketed a 38-yard pass to Darren Hartwell for a touchdown boosting the Eph lead to 21-7 with just over three minutes left in the half.
The TD catch by Hartwell was his third of the year and the 19th of his career, giving him the career TD catch record at Williams.
The Continentals began their final drive of the half with two minutes on the clock. After six plays, the last of which was for a loss of 3 yards, they looked to Garrett Hoy for a 31-yard field goal attempt. Hoy sent it between the posts, closing the gap to 21-10 at the half.
The Continentals opened the second half by constructing a 13-play, 75-yard scoring drive to make the score 21-14. Facing a fourth and 15 from the Williams 27-yard line the Continentals' Jordan Eck lofted a pass to placekicker Garret Hoy for 15 yards to keep the drive moving forward.
After Eck ran 11 yards to the Eph 1-yard line the Continentals called on James Stannell to collect the last yard and then converted on a two-point conversion to make the score 21-18, Williams.
The Ephs, however, asserted themselves over the final quarter plus by scoring 14 unanswered points. The first of the pair of TDs came in the third quarter when Tom Murphy connected with Ryan Prokesch on a 25-yard TD pass with just under two minutes left in the quarter.
The final Eph TD was set up by a 17-yard punt return by Hartwell who moved the ball to the Hamilton 34. On the day between catches, kickoff returns and punt returns, Hartwell totaled 297 yards.
The 7-play scoring drive feaured a 12-yard pass to Richie Beaton and six rushes by Wohlwender, the last for two yards as he went into the end zone. Williams led 34-18 after Hamilton blocked the PAT.
The final score of the contest came with 10 seconds left when Hamilton's Joe Jensen hauled in a 22-yard pass from Eck to make the score 34-24. Eck added the final two points by running in the two-point conversion attempt, making the final score 34-26.
In his second start, Eph sophomore QB tom Murphy completed 12 of 23 passes for 174 yards and 2 touchdowns. Continental QB Jordan Eck connected on 19 of his 39 passes for 271 yards and 1 touchdown.
Tom Wohlwender led the Eph running game, with 24 carries for 130 yards and 2 touchdowns. "When they tried to cover Hartwell, we just turned to our running game," explained Kelton. "Tommy was there and he was impressive."
James Stanell had 19 carries, gaining 109 yards and rushed for 1 touchdown for the Continentals. Darren Hartwell snagged 6 passes for 86 yards and 1 touchdown, while Joe Jensen also snared 6 for 109 yards and 1 touchdown.
The Ephs' Joe Mallock found success on 4 of 5 extra points, but was 0 for 2 field goal attempts, an uncharacteristically shaky showing from the junior special teams standout. "It has something to do with stress," Kelton said of Mallock's performance. "But we've got a lot of confidence in Joe so we're trying big things, like 40-yard kicks. He'll get it back."
The Continentals out gained the Ephs both on the ground and in the air. Hamilton recorded 143 yards on the ground and gained 271 passing, while Williams rushed for 130 and secured 174 in the air. The Continentals totaled 414 offensive yards on the day, the Ephs 304.
Defensively the Ephs were led by sophomore LB Antonio Blanco and senior DB Chris Kim. Blanco registered 13 tackles (4 solos, 9 assists) and had an interception, while Kim notched 9 tackles (3 solos, 6 assists) and picked off a pass.
Hamilton's Mike MacDonald collected 11 tackles on the day.
"I thought we had a solid day today," Kelton said. "We managed to get the turnovers which helped us for sure, and we played well up front and got pressure on the quarterback."
Kelton looks forward to the Ephs' homecoming match-up against Wesleyan this weekend. "We're going to put together a good game plan and establish our dominance."
The Homecoming encounter next Saturday at Weston Field will kick off at 1:00 PM.