WILLIAMSTOWN, MA -- In Mark Raymond's third year as the head coach of the Williams College football team the Ephs opened preseason camp with 68 players. The 2018 Eph roster has 21 first years, 21 sophomores, 15 juniors and 11 seniors.
"We're continuing to build the roster and prioritize where we need the most depth," added Raymond who is working to get the Eph roster back up to the NESCAC limit of 75 players."
Raymond was hired at Williams in the spring of 2016 after the recruiting window for the 2016 season had closed. Raymond's first recruiting class, the current sophomore class, featured three players who earned 2017 All-NESCAC honors in their debut season. QB Bobby Maimaron was named to the All-NESCAC Second Team and was named the NESCAC Rookie of the Year. LB TJ Rothmann and TE Justin Burke also were accorded All-NESCAC Second Team honors.
Williams was the most improved team in all of NCAA DIII in 2017 posting a 6-3 record, and that success earned Mark Raymond Coach of the Year honors in the NESCAC.
Highlighting the six wins last season were two contests in which the Ephs defeated a first place team. It took a last play of the game TD pass from QB Bobby Maimaron to WR Frank Stola to beat undefeated Middlebury on the road in the fifth game of the season, 27-26.
Maimaron also stood out in the season finale, "The Biggest Little Game in America," when he rushed for a school record-tying four TDs in a 31-24 OT upset of a 7-1 Amherst team on the Ephs' Farley-Lamb Field.
The Ephs will kickoff their 133rd season of football on September 15 in Brunswick, Maine when they take on the Bowdoin Polar Bears at 1:00 p.m.
A year ago the Ephs ran a spread offense and played a 4-3 on defense and that is what they expect to do again this fall.
The Ephs return nine starters on offense and nine on defense from last year. Graduation claimed NT and captain Chris Hattar and DT Sam Gowen on defense and center Ellis Eaton and WR/Punter Adam Regensburg on offense.
Hattar collected All-NESCAC First Team honors in 2017 starting all nine games. Of his 34 tackles last fall 17 were solos, four tackles were for a loss, 3.5 were sacks, and he returned a fumble for a touchdown in the win at Colby.
Gowen started all nine games as well and notched 15 solo tackles and four assists. He forced one fumble, posted 5.5 tackles for a loss, and recorded 2.5 sacks.
Apuzzi led the Ephs in solo tackles (47), added 22 assists, and broke up five passes. Seven of Apuzzi's tackles were for a loss of yards. Anthony was fourth on the team with 60 tackles (38 solos), broke up four passes, registered one sack, intercepted one pass, and forced a fumble.
Sophomore TJ Rothmann's 83 tackles (40 solos) was tops on the team as were his two interceptions. Rothmann also recorded 4.5 tackles for a loss and broke up six passes. Sophomore Jarrett Wesner posted a team high nine tackles for a loss, had 3.5 sacks, and of his 68 tackles (third best on the team), 36 were solos
Senior captain Austin Thomas who has seen time at both defensive end and linebacker tallied 39 tackles (21 solos), 6.5 tackles for a loss, 2.5 sacks, and broke up a pass. Senior defensive end Jameson Demarco registered 31 tackles, of which 8.5 were tackles for a loss and he contributed a team best 4.5 sacks.
In the secondary senior Desmond Butler led with 41 tackles (30 solos), a team high seven pass breakups, and he picked off one pass. Senior captain Amyhr Barber notched 28 tackles (23 solos), picked off a pass, and recovered one fumble. Sophomore Jake Kastenhuber added 32 tackles (26 solos), two tackles for a loss, broke up three passes, and intercepted one.
Raymond and his staff will be working hard on getting the Eph defense to create more turnovers this fall and his offense to turn the ball over less with the ultimate goal of improving the +1 that they fashioned in 2017.
The Mark Raymond football philosophy centers around taking the ball away from your opponent and not turning it over on offense.
|Rashad Morrison '21|
"We have a couple of big holes to fill after Chris Hattar and Sam Gowen graduated," said Raymond. "We hope our experienced linebackers and secondary will fill that void."
The second edition of Mark Raymond's Eph defense was much more aggressive and collectively in synch last fall than in 2016, proof positive that his young players are becoming more and more comfortable with his system, and gelling as a unit.
The center position on offense is always key, but even more so when you have a spread attack and the quarterback is not always taking the snap directly under center. The graduated Ellis Eaton was a battle-tested veteran who will be a challenge to replace for Raymond and his staff.
Justin Burke at TE is an outstanding blocker and a capable receiver with two of his catches last year being scoring grabs.
A trio of sophomore WRs return and all played at least eight games last fall. Playing in nine games Frank Stola was fifth in NESCAC with 51 receptions in his debut campaign. Stola caught six touchdown passes and recorded 656 receiving yards.
Justin Nelson was third on the Ephs with 28 catches for 368 yards and one TD, while Rashad Morrison in eight games caught seven passes for 71 yards including the key third down catch in OT vs. Amherst that gave the Ephs a first down. Morrison ran the ball 21 times for 135 yards and scored two TDs.
Senior WR Joey Volpe returns after being limited to just four games in 2017. He had eight receptions for 78 yards and caught one TD pass last fall.
Sophomore QB Bobby Maimaron had an impressive debut season in 2017, which landed him all-league and rookie of the year honors in NESCAC. He tied the Ephs' single game rushing TD mark with four TDs in the OT win over Amherst. Maimaron connected on 57.7% of his passes (162/281) for 1,800 yards and threw 12 TD passes. He also led the Ephs in rushing with 402 yards.
|Justin Nelson '21|
Sophomore RB T.J. Dozier who rushed 76 times in nine games and averaged four yards a carry and scored two TDs will likely be the featured back this fall.
The Eph attack last season scored 203 points and 167 of those points (82%) came form the first year class. QB Bobby Maimaron and WR Frank Stola led the team in scoring with 42 points each and classmate Min Kyu Park, a place kicker, was second with 41 points. TE Justin Burke, RB T.J. Dozier, and WR Rashad Morrison each scored 12 points, while Justin Nelson scored six.
Adam Regensburg, who caught 30 passes last fall for 297 yards and averaged 36.0 yards per punt has graduated. First year Andrew Schreibstein is being called on to handle the punting chores this season.
Last season PK Min Kyu Park converted 23 of 25 point after attempts and he hit on six of 11 field goal attempts.
A key ingredient of Raymond's second installment of the Eph offensive attack last season was the improvement of the unit's overall speed and the consistent play of the offensive line.
The 80-yard last possession of the game drive to edge Middlebury and the ability to convert a third and long against Amherst in overtime are two particular highlights in the growth of the Eph offense
In this the second season of the 9-game football schedule in NESCAC Williams will have four home games and will play five times on the road.
"We've had a really good training camp and learned a lot about ourselves as everyone came in prepared and ready to compete," stated Raymond. "The assistant coaches have done a great job of getting the kids ready to play."
As is tradition the season will conclude with 133rd playing of "The Biggest Little Game in America" with Williams this year traveling to Amherst, Mass. to take on arch rival Amherst College on Nov. 10.