LEWISTON, ME – Three forced turnovers, a crucial goal-line stand, and a strong fourth-quarter rushing attack led the Williams Ephs (4-0) to a 31-7 win over the Bates Bobcats (0-4).
The Williams defense recovered a fumble on the first play from scrimmage and stuffed a fourth-and-goal run that would have made the game 17-14 in the fourth quarter. After Bates' turnover on downs, sophomore running back TJ Dozier dominated, rushing for 110 yards on two touchdowns – including a 75-yarder, his longest of the season – in the fourth quarter alone to ice the game.
On 3rd-and-3 from the 35-yard line in a competitive 17-7 contest, Dozier took the handoff, burst up the middle, made a quick cut to the right and sprinted down the sideline to extend Williams' lead to seventeen points. But the sophomore wasn't done yet. For good measure, he doubled the yardage on his next touchdown run, taking the handoff and going untouched straight up the middle for a game-sealing, 75-yard score. Bates couldn't lead any scoring drives from there, resulting in the final score of 31-7.
The Ephs got off to a torrid start, as freshman wide receiver Ryan Kingman scored on a 12-yard catch and run to quickly put the Ephs up 7-0. After an exchange of punts, sophomore quarterback Bobby Maimaron led a long, methodical drive downfield, resulting in a pass that sophomore wide receiver Frank Stola caught at the 5-yard line and took into the end zone to put Williams up 14-0. After an interception by senior linebacker Austin Thomas, a field goal by freshman kicker Andrew Schreibstein gave Williams a commanding 17-0 lead to end the first quarter.
In the second, both defenses held steady, but Bates managed to score on a 1-yard touchdown run by running back Christian Sanfilippo with 23 seconds left to cut the deficit to 17-7. After a series of punts in the third quarter, Bates led an 18-play drive only to see it end in a turnover on downs, as senior defensive back Desmond Butler made the stop on fourth-and-goal.
It was all Dozier from there.
After being held relatively in check in last week's win over Trinity, the Ephs shined again on the ground, rushing for three touchdowns. The Williams defense – which has allowed just 43 points on the season (10.75 per game) – forced three takeaways (two interceptions and a fumble), a season high, without turning the ball over. The Bates offense was unable to get into a rhythm for most of the game, as quarterback Brendan Costa was limited to just 8-of-19 passing for 66 yards with two interceptions in the first half. The second half was even tougher.
For the fourth straight week, Williams did not allow a single point in the third quarter – a testament to the stout Williams defense and the coaching staff's ability to make successful halftime adjustments. This week, they didn't allow one in the fourth, either.
"[Our team was] resilient," head coach Mark Raymond said after the Ephs' strong fourth quarter. Things weren't going our way at certain times in the game, and we just stuck with it and made some big plays at critical times."
Next Saturday at 2:00 ET, the Ephs (4-0) return to Farley-Lamb Field to play Middlebury (2-2).