Football's 16 Game Winning Streak Snapped at Amherst

The Football Bantams lost for the first time in nearly two years, 28-20, against Amherst last Saturday in an away matchup against the Mammoths. With a 21-point deficit late in the fourth quarter, the Bantams came back with two touchdowns and nearly completed an onside kick, but came up short as the clock ran out. With this loss, the Bantams fell to 7-1 and saw their 16-game winning streak come to a halt.
In the first quarter, Amherst got on the scoreboard first with a five-yard touchdown run after a 44-yard drive downfield. After Trinity sophomore Ian McDonald ’20 booted the ball to Amherst’s five-yard line and the Bantams defense kept the ball deep in Mammoth territory before forcing a punt. Tri-captain quarterback Sonny Puzzo ’18 and running back Max Chipouras ’19 both had 15-yard rushes to put the Bantams on the board with 3:15 left in the opening half. But the Mammoths squeezed out one more touchdown before the half ended, giving them momentum in the locker room for the half.
Amherst started the second half with a 67-yard drive, eventually leading to a 2-yard rushing touchdown, which increased their lead to two scores. Both defenses forced 7 punts and the Mammoths capitalized on a short Bantam punt to give them a healthy advantage in Bantam territory. On a crucial 3rd and 5 play, the Mammoths barely edged across the first down line, which eventually led to a couple of rushing plays to put the Mammoths up by three touchdowns with 7:28 left in the game.
But the Bantams weren’t going to allow more points and were determined to make a fourth quarter rally. Trinity began its comeback with a 27-yard kickoff return out of the end zone by first-year Colin Beaulieu ’21, and went 73 yards in 13 plays for their second touchdown. Chipouras had a 14-yard run to start the drive and Puzzo connected with Koby Schofer ’20 for a 16-yard pass to make it a two-score game, 28-13. Amherst managed to pick up Trinity’s onside kicks, but the Bantam defense forced a punt after an Amherst penalty negated a first down in Trinity territory. The short kick was downed at the Trinity 20-yard line and the Bantams marched 80 yards to make it a one-score game. Puzzo connected on a 25-yard pass to receiver Joe Samuelman ’20 and a 26-yard pass to Cliff David ’18. They scrambled 14 yards for a first down on 3rd-and-14 play to keep the chains moving, before Chipouras scored his 10th rushing touchdown of the fall to cut the Trinity deficit to 28-20 with 33 seconds remaining in the game. Trinity’s second onside kick was fumbled and Trinity’s Matt Patry ’20 emerged with the ball, but Amherst was ruled to have recovered it and they ran out the clock.
Next week, Trinity hosts Wesleyan to conclude the 2017 NESCAC football season. Trinity, the defending NESCAC champions and Amherst, the league champions from 2013 to 2015, can both win or share the league title with a win on the last Saturday of play. Both can share the NESCAC trophy with one or more other teams if they both lose their final game.

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