SAMANTHA BEATI ’17
The Bantams hosted Amherst this past Saturday on an exciting Homecoming Weekend as 15 seniors competed in their last game in The Coop. Trinity was trying to preserve its perfect season while Amherst, the defending three-time NESCAC Champions, were looking to save their season after a 3-3 start.
The first half was tough for both sides. An impressive opening drive by the Bantams was halted after a fumble by Max Chipouras ’19 inside the Amherst 20-yard line. The offense struggled to find their rhythm again, and the two teams punted a combined 7 seven times following that play. Eric Sachse ’19 finally ended the scoring drought, kicking a 39-yard field goal to give the Bantams a 3-0 lead in the second quarter. The field goal marked his 12th of the season, setting a new NESCAC all-time record.
On the subsequent drive, however, Amherst marched down the field for a touchdown making it 7-3. Three plays later, a batted pass by Sonny Puzzo ’18 was intercepted by Amherst safety Zach Allen inside Trinity territory. A quick three-and-out gave the ball back to the Bantams, but Allen once again intercepted Puzzo on a batted ball three plays later. Luckily, the defense held up again, allowing Amherst to only muster three yards in six plays before finally missing a 35-yard field goal. The game went into halftime with the Purple and White leading 7-3.
After a defensive stop to start the half, the Bantam offense came out strong, driving 10 plays into Amherst territory before ultimately turning the ball over on downs. Amherst capitalized, scoring another touchdown on the ensuing drive with less than four minutes left in the third quarter, making the score 14-3. This marked the first time all season that the Bantams trailed by more than a touchdown, and the first second half deficit faced all season.
The Bantams responded to the adversity, scoring on a 4-yard pass from Puzzo to Darrien Myers’17 for a touchdown scoring with less than 14 seconds left in the third quarter. The drive started with a negative play but on second down, Puzzo hit Nick Gaynor ’17 on a 20-yard strike, sending the 5,395-person crowd rocking and sparking the Bantam offense. Myers then caught three of his Trinity personal record 15 catches, scoring on the third one, sparked by blocks from Gaynor and Bryan Vieira ’18.
“I had a feeling that I was going to get a lot of opportunities after seeing other teams have success in the run pass option against their defense,” Myers said of his record-breaking performance. There’s no better feeling than ending my career in The Coop with a touchdown and tying a Trinity record. I did not play against Wesleyan due to an injury last year and the last time we played them at Wesleyan we lost in a heartbreaker. I feel that I am due for a big game against our rival and I’m excited that it will be for an undisputed championship.”
Just 22 seconds after the score, co-captain Spencer Donahue’17 sacked and stripped the Amherst quarterback, recovering a fumble and returning the ball 8 yards for the go-ahead touchdown. The Bantams secured momentum from this point forward. Amherst attempted a game-winning drive, co-captain Paul McCarthy ’16 intercepted a pass and ran it back 52 yards for an insurance touchdown, making the score 24-14. McCarthy had another interception on the ensuing possession to seal the victory and at least a share of the NESCAC Championship.
Donahue was recognized as NESCAC Defensive Player of the Week for the third time this season, notching 11 total tackles including nine solo, in addition to his game-winning score. Carty Campbell ’18 and Liam Kenneally ’18 ended the day with eight tackles apiece.
“I was just in the right place at the right time,” Donahue said of his game winner. “My teammates did a great job and allowed me to get a free shot on the quarterback. The individual accolades are nice because it brings attention to our entire team and program but I never set out for those achievements. The only achievement that matters is winning the championship and going 8-0.”
The victory was the first over Amherst for seniors McCarthy, Donahue, Myers, Gaynor, Jamie Law, Matt D’Andrea, Angel Tejada, Yosa Nosamiefan, Will Lochtefeld, Ryan Murphy, Mamadou Bah, PJ Dorsey, Archi Jerome, Adam Hahn, and Hederson Watkins, as well as their last home game.
After the game the emotions on the field were palpable, but the team started this season dreaming of an 8-0 record and NESCAC Championship, so there is still work to be done. The Bantams will face Wesleyan University in Middletown, Conn. this Saturday, Nov. 12, at 12 p.m. to finally have a chance to fulfill their goal.
SAMANTHA BEATI ’17