Williamstown, MA – Trailing 9-7 at the half, the Williams football team (3-0) scored 14 unanswered points in the third quarter to take a 21-9 lead and went on to post a 21-16 win over visiting Trinity (2-1). The win by third year Eph head coach Mark Raymond snapped a 7-game Trinity win streak in the in the rivalry that began in 1884.
The Ephs dominated in the 3rd quarter for the third time this season and Eph sophomore inebacker TJ Rothmann made a pivotal interception in the end zone, and first year Jackson Bischoping's first and only pass of the game went for a 49-yard touchdown as the Ephs stunned the defending NESCAC champion Trinity Bantams.
The Ephs came out firing in the third quarter, driving all the way downfield in just 1:15 to put themselves on top for good, 14-9. The drive was sparked by two passes from sophomore quarterback Bobby Maimaron to sophomore wide receiver Frank Stola, the first being a 45-yard deep bomb down the middle and the second being a 21-yard touchdown in the back left corner of the end zone.
Trinity drove right back down the field, but on 3rd-and-8, sophomore linebacker TJ Rothmann jumped a pass from Trinity QB Jordan Vazzano and intercepted it at the goal line.
After Maimaron briefly left the game due to injury late in the third quarter, the Williams coaching staff called a deep pass on the first play for Jackson Bischoping. Bischoping delivered by unfurling a perfectly thrown dart that Stola caught at the 15-yard line and took all the way into the end zone to put the Ephs up 21-9.
"The thought process was, throw it up to Frankie, do some work, and it turned out pretty good, so I was happy with it," said Bischoping following the victory.
The Bantams controlled the pace of the first half, outgaining the Ephs 200-141 and consistently getting into the red zone. But each time Trinity drove inside the 20, the Williams defense held. In the first half, Trinity had three red-zone possessions and only came away with a field goal each time.
Williams had only one first-half red-zone drive, but scored a touchdown on a seam-route pass from Maimaron to sophomore tight end Justin Burke, which put Williams up 7-6 before Trinity kicked a field goal to score the last points of the half.
And then Williams did what they've done so well all season: make halftime adjustments and dominate their opponent in the third – a quarter in which they've outscored their opponents 45-0 this season. The Ephs' first drive of the third set the tone for the rest of the game, as Trinity didn't score again until very late in the fourth.
Nothing seemed to go right for Trinity after the half. Late in the third, a fake punt attempt on 4th-and-8 led to just a 6-yard gain, giving Williams possession inside the Trinity 40-yard line. In the middle of the fourth, when the game was still well within reach, Vazzano was intercepted by junior defensive back Ben Anthony. On the Bantams' second-to-last possession, Vazzano completed a pass a 4th-and-11 that would have been good for a first down only to see Williams senior defensive back Desmond Butler force a fumble, which Williams recovered.
With under two minutes to go, Vazzano exploited a blown coverage on a 73-yard touchdown pass that cut the deficit to 21-16, but the ensuing onside kick bounced out of bounds and Williams knelt out the clock from there.
Out of Trinity's eight second-half possessions, two resulted in interceptions, two in turnovers on downs, two in punts and one lost fumble, with only the final drive of the game resulting in points. For the second half and the game, the Ephs won the turnover battle 3-0.
"We knew we were going to have to weather some storms early, and offensively, we did enough in the first half to give us some breathing room, and the defense made some great stops," said Eph head coach Mark Raymond after the game. As for halftime adjustments, Raymond gave the credit to his assistant coaches and players: "It's just the coaches doing a fantastic job. We have a bunch of guys who can make adjustments on the run. They work so hard, they prepare so hard, and they're able to do those types of things."
Maimaron finished 12-of-25 for 154 yards and two touchdowns. Returning after not playing last week against Colby, Stola caught five passes for an impressive 138 yards and two TDs. Rothmann was all over the field, registering the pivotal end-zone interception along with a fumble recovery, 15 total tackles and 2.5 tackles for loss.
For the Bantams, Vazzano completed just 14 of 43 pass attempts with one touchdown and two interceptions, but threw for over 20 yards per completion with 286 yards. Running back Max Chipouras was the workhorse, carrying the ball a whopping 38 times for 135 yards. Wide receivers Jonathan Girard and Koby Schofer each picked up over 100 yards receiving, with Schofer scoring Trinity's only touchdown.
Next Saturday, the Ephs will travel to Lewiston, Maine to face Bates (0-3).