WILLIAMSTOWN, MA– Luke Apuzzi's first quarter blocked punt set the tone for the Williams College Ephs (5-1) as they beat the Bates College Bobcats (0-6) Saturday afternoon.
The defense and special teams were outstanding, only giving up points after the game was well out of reach.
The Ephs got ahead early, courtesy of their special teams. On a Bobcats punt, Apuzzi brushed past blockers for the block, setting up teammate Jarrett Wesner to pick the ball up and run unopposed to the endzone.
Bates almost recovered on the next drive. On a play-action pass on third down, quarterback Brendan Costa threw to a wide-open Christian Olivieri. He maneuvered past two defenders for nearly twenty yards after the catch, and was only stopped by a touchdown-saving tackle by senior safety Ben Anthony at the 1-yard line. In response to this big play, the defense showed incredible resilience, stopping Bates from converting four run plays in a row. The score held at 7-0.
Using this momentum, the Ephs trudged forward from their own 1-yard line. Quarterback Bobby Maimaron and the offense kept the Bobcats defense off balance with a combination of runs and passes, steadily moving upfield. Soon, the team found themselves in a first-and-goal situation. Maimaron went to his biggest receiver, sophomore Tyler Spiezio, who came down with the ball in the corner of the endzone for a touchdown.
Williams extended their lead once more before the half. Only a drive after turning the ball over on downs in the redzone, the Ephs ran a play that fooled the Bobcats defense. Maimaron ran a play action pass and found Spiezio again, streaking downfield well past the last man on defense. He was able to beat his pursuers for 75 yards, leading his team to a comfortable 21-0 lead.
The second half got off to a chaotic start. First, Costa threw an interception to sophomore defensive back Rocco Giandomenico, setting the Ephs up for another score by putting them in good field position. However, on the very next play, first-year back Joel Nicholas fumbled after being tackled from behind on a long run, giving the ball back to the Bobcats.
The defense, though, forced a three-and-out, giving the ball back to Maimaron. Sophomore running back Dan Vaughn played the starring role in each play of the drive, rushing for 38 yards and catching a wide-open touchdown pass for 26 yards. Each team would score one more touchdown in the fourth quarter, making the score 35-7 at game's end.
Maimaron had a great game, throwing for 209 yards and three touchdowns. He was helped by Spiezio, who finished with 81 yards and two touchdowns, and junior Justin Nelson, who had 97 yards on three receptions. Vaughn led the way on the ground, with 96 yards on 13 carries along with his touchdown through the air.
Defensively, Wesner was the best player on the day, finishing with 7 tackles, an interception and returning a blocked punt for a special teams touchdown.
"I'm excited we came out and played this way today," said head coach Mark Raymond. "It was an all-around great team win for us." The win today gave Mark Raymond his first 5-game win streak at Williams, proof positive that he has quickly rebuilt the Eph program in his four years at the helm.
After extending their win streak to five games, the Ephs will hit the hardest part of their schedule, starting with an away game at Trinity College (4-2) next week. The game will take place at 1:30 PM.