WILLIAMSTOWN, MA– Williams College first year quarterback Bobby Maimaron's fourth rushing TD of the game capped the Ephs' first possession in OT lifted Williams (6-3) over Amherst (7-2) 31-24 in over time in the Ephs' Homecoing game on Farley-Lamb Field when Amherst failed to match the TD on thier first OT possession.
They don't call it "The Biggest Little Game in America" for nothing. Saturday's matchup, played on a chilly Veteran's Day with seemingly every Williams student in the crowd, proved to be one for the ages. Coming into the game, Amherst was at the top of the NESCAC standings, needing only one more win to become league champions. Williams, meanwhile, was having had a resurgent season, but also reeling from a 35-0 loss to Wesleyan.
The Amherst Mammoths controlled the pace at the beginning of the game. After forcing a 3-and-out, Amherst proceeded to control the ball on offense for 9 minutes before settling for a field goal. The conditions made kicking difficult, even from only 29 yards out, but John Rak's kick just got over the bar to give his team a 3-point lead.
To counter this, the Ephs ran a no-huddle offense to keep their opponents off-balance. In only 3 minutes, quarterback Bobby Maimaron '21 and his offense went 63 yards up-field for a score. The drive featured a few highlight plays, including a first-down catch by senior Adam Regensburg that likely prevented an interception, and a 3rd and 7 rush by Maimaron that moved the chains. The drive was capped off by a designed QB rush for 2 yards. After the point-after from Min Kyu Park '21, the score was 7-3.
Feeding off the offense's momentum, the Williams defense stepped up by forcing a 3-and-out, maintaining momentum. When the offense got the ball back again, it used its quick-fire offense to move upfield quickly. After completing passes for big gains to Frank Stola '21 and Regensburg, respectively, the offense found itself in the red zone again. However, facing 3rd and short on the Amherst 7, Maimaron intended pass to Stola fell incomplete. Kyu Park's kick from 24 yards out went straight through the uprights, giving the Ephs a one touchdown advantage.
Williams kept rolling after this. The defense again played strong, allowing the offense to take possession at their own 25-yard line. Maimaron, whose running ability had given defenses headaches all season, racked up 30 yards on the ground in Williams' next possession. Aided mainly by Stola in the air, the offense cruised into threatening territory. The penultimate play of the drive, though, may have been the Ephs' best all season. Maimaron handed the ball off to Rashad Morrison '21, who then initiated a double-reverse by handing it off to another receiver. The ball was tossed back to Maimaron, though, who found a wide-open Morrison. The perfectly executed flea flicker brought the ball up to the 1-yard line, which Williams then gained with another QB run. Headed into the half, the score was 17-3.
The Ephs got the ball to start the 2nd half, and didn't let up the pressure. The Mammoths actually got a stop, but a fake punt by Regensburg turned into a first down and then some. This allowed Maimaron and the offense to move up the field and into the red zone. On 2nd down with 8 yards to go, Maimaron threw the ball away, but a late-hit penalty gave the Ephs a first down with only 4 yards to go. Yet again, Bobby Maimaron ran through a hole created by his offensive line, allowing him to convert his 3rd rushing touchdown. At this point, the Ephs had a 21-point lead.
The Mammoths responded. Gradually working their way upfield, the Mammoths had the ball at the 33 yard-line. On the ensuing play, receiver Craig Carmilani streaked up the field. Quarterback Reece Foy seemed to underthrow the ball to Carmilani, but he made the adjustment, with two defenders on him, and hauled it in for a touchdown. With about 6 minutes left in the 3rd quarter, the score was 24-10.
In a game already with 4 touchdowns to its name, 9 straight possessions ended with either a punt or, in one case, a turnover. This was to the Ephs advantage, though, as every possession without a score wound the clock down a bit more.
The Mammoths ended this trend on a 61-yard touchdown drive. Reece Foy completed 4 straight passes, including a jump ball to Carmilani that went 30 yards downfield, on their way to the end zone. His final throw was a well-placed back of the end zone toss to Bo Berluti. However, the extra point was pulled left, making the score 24-16 in favor of Williams.
The 21-point lead the Ephs had put up evaporated a few plays later. On 2nd and 20 at the Williams 15, Maimaron threw a pass down the field that was intercepted by John Ballard. Ballard caught the ball with momentum, and took it all the way back for a pick 6. Then, on the 2-point conversion, Foy completed a pass to Berluti, who ran into the end zone for 2 points.
The Ephs nearly earned their lead back on the next possession. After a touchback on the kickoff, Williams worked their way up the field and into field goal range. On 4th down, Kyu Park was faced with a 37-yard field goal attempt. Although the kick had the distance, it fell just outside of the left goalpost, thus keeping the score tied at 24. Neither team could score before regulation ended, bringing the game to overtime. It was the first time the two rivals had played past regulation since 2001.
The Ephs were the first team to receive possession in overtime, starting, at the 25-yard line. Williams seemed to be in trouble, facing 3rd and 9 with 24 yards to go, before Maimaron found Rashad Morrison '21 for a 12-yard completion. Soon after, Maimaron broke through the line for his 4th rushing touchdown, bringing the score to 31-24. This tied an Ephs record for the most rushing touchdowns in one game.
It was then up to the defense to seal the victory. It did not get off to a good start, as it allowed running back Hasani Figueroa to gain 12 yards on the first play. After that initial slip-up, though, they held strong. Amherst then faced 4th and 1, which they needed to convert to keep the game alive. Foy dropped back, and threw it to his receiver Beau Santaro. Before it could be completed, though, two Eph defenders stepped in and broke the pass up, ending the game and the 6-game losing streak against the Mammoths.
Nobody was prouder of the Williams plauyers than their coach, Mark Raymond. "This was a huge win for our team," he said. "I am so proud of the way they competed today. Their character and toughness is special."
Undoubtedly, the MVP of the game was Bobby Maimaron. The first-year was 23 for 41 with 183 yards and 1 interception, but he did his real damage on the ground and in his decision making. Consistently, he found pockets in the defense where he could run, which allowed him to gain 133 yards, with 4 touchdowns, on 33 attempts. He led an offensive attack that included 385 yards of total offense. Besides Maimaron, the top offensive player was Regensburg, who had 9 catches for 78 yards in his final Williams football game. Defensively, Jarrett Wesner '21 led the way with 7 tackles. The team had 2 sacks and one interception, which came via Desmond Butler '19 by way of an errant pass.
Amherst quarterback Reece Foy was 13 for 26 with 148 yards passing, 2 touchdowns and an interception. About two thirds of those yards went to senior Craig Carmilani, who had 6 catches for 101 yards and a touchdown, with some truly spectacular catches down the stretch. On the other side of the ball, John Callahan had 14 tackles, which was 5 more than the nearest Amherst player. Andrew Yamin, the second leading Mammoth tackler, had the only sack of the game for his team. They also had 1 interception, which John Ballard took for a pick-six.
The win gives the Ephs a share of the Little Three, as each team went 1-1. Williams' win prevented Amherst from winning the NESCAC championship, which then put the onus on the Trinity-Wesleyan game. Trinity ended up winning decisively, 28-3, to clinch its second NESCAC title.
The Williams team will look to build from this successful season, as many of its impact players, especially on the offense, were first-years.
Sharp-eyed Eph fans may have noticed the number 573 on the pant leg of each Williams' team member.
The number 573 represents the number of steps from the main gate of the Weston Field Athletic Complex to the barbershop on Spring St., where the Williams team gathers after a Homecoming victory.
Eph head coach Mark Raymond had that number put on each pair of game pants to remind the Ephs to battle step by step and they would get to 573, which would bring them to the barbershop at the end of "The Walk."
This was the Ephs first homecoming victory since 2012 when they topped Wesleyan 19-7.
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