HARTFORD, CT– Senior safety Ben Anthony intercepted a pass with five minutes to go in the fourth quarter to seal the win for his Williams College Ephs (6-1) over the Trinity College Bantams (4-3), 29-15.
The Ephs won in Hartford for the first time since the 2001 season and ended the Bantams' 20-game home win streak dating back to the 2014 season at the same time.
Anthony's end zone interception saved a possible game-tying touchdown and led to a Tyler Spiezio receiving touchdown, his second of the day. This was the second straight week that Spiezio had two touchdowns.
The Ephs hit their offensive stride courtesy of a Frank Stola touchdown. Unlike most of his scoring plays, though, this one came on a 38-yard punt return. The offense tacked on another touchdown during the next drive with a play-action pass from junior quarterback Bobby Maimaron to a wide-open Spiezio. By the end of the first quarter, the Ephs had a comfortable 14-0 lead.
The Bantams, however, hunkered down on defense and started chipping away at the deficit on the other side of the ball. First, quarterback Seamus Lambert led a drive from Trinity's 25-yard line up the field fifty yards to just outside the redzone. Then, he found receiver Jonathan Girard in the corner of the endzone, placing it just out of the reach of two Ephs in the secondary. The Bantams could not convert the extra point, leaving the game at 14-6.
The Bantams scored their second touchdown of the game in dramatic fashion. Starting on their own 37-yard line, Lambert completed four straight passes to move them to the Williams 11-yard line. Tijani Harris ran the ball four times, and seemingly turned the ball over on downs on a stop inches away from the endzone. However, because the Bantams started their redzone offense with 11 yards to go rather than 10, they were able to get another first down. This set up another run, this time converting the touchdown. Another missed extra point, though, kept the Ephs ahead 14-12.
The next Williams possession ended with a punt, which DeVante Reid ran back for 41 yards back to the Ephs' side of the field. This was important because the game's defenses both stepped up their play in the third quarter, holding the offenses relatively stagnant. Reid's return gave the Bantams momentum, setting up a 34-yard pass to star receiver Koby Schofer. With the game on the line, though, the Ephs held Trinity to a field goal, relenting the lead yet keeping the game close at 15-14.
Halfway through the fourth quarter, when it looked like the Ephs might be forced to punt again, Maimaron fooled the defense on a play-action pass and found an open Justin Nelson 36 yards downfield for a go-ahead touchdown. This was the junior's first receiving touchdown of the season, hot off the heels of a 3 catch, 97-yard day last week. A two-point conversion from a lateral to first-year Paul Harshbarger made the score 22-15.
The following drive ended with Anthony's interception and 41-yard return, a huge play that largely sealed the game. The Ephs tried to run out the clock, a strategy that was interrupted by a 37-yard rush by sophomore Dan Vaughn to the 2-yard line. With first and goal and over two minutes to go, the Ephs could not kneel the ball to end the game, nor was there anywhere to run but into the endzone. So, Vaughn was given a handoff, but instead of plowing through, he jumped and tossed it to an open Spiezio behind the defense. Up two touchdowns with 2:22 left, there was little more Trinity could do.
Vaughn had an outstanding day, with 123 rushing yards on 20 attempts and a touchdown pass. Maimaron and his receivers had a tough time beating Trinity's coverage, but he managed to complete two touchdown passes with no interceptions, while also carving out 74 yards on the ground. Nelson had three catches for 58 yards and a touchdown.
Junior linebacker Jarrett Wesner led another strong team effort on defense, accounting for 11 tackles, including a sack and three tackles for loss. The Ephs had six players rack up five tackles or more. They also made Lambert's day very difficult, with six sacks on the day.
"Great effort today by the guys," said head coach Mark Raymond. "We had contributions from a lot of people today, and we made winning plays in the fourth quarter."
Williams will face another stern test in Connecticut next Saturday when they go toe-to-toe with rival Wesleyan University (6-1) at 1:00 PM. Wesleyan with a win over Amherst today needs to beat Williams to win the Little Three title outright.
The win today by Williams marked the Ephs' sixth consecutive win of the season