SOMERVILLE - Senior Gavin Segall-Abrams (Greensboro, NC) kicked a 19-yard field goal with 3:14 remaining in the fourth quarter, and 6'7" junior receiver John Squires (Swampscott, MA) caught touchdown passes of eight and 31 yards from junior QB Ryan Katon (Durham, CT) as the Bates College Bobcats ended a 24-year losing streak against Tufts with 21-20 victory in NESCAC football action on Saturday afternoon.
Bates had not defeated Tufts in their annual match-up since the 1985 season. Trailing 20-18 early in the fourth quarter, the Bobcats went on a 21-play, 85-yard drive that resulted in Segall-Abrams' game-winning field goal. They converted a fourth and two from the Tufts 17 with a three-yard run by senior Jared Jamal (Concord, MA) to keep the drive alive. The Bobcat defense then held the one-point lead with interceptions by junior Cam Evans (Norwell, MA) and senior Myles Walker (Needham, MA) in the closing minutes.
Tufts senior quarterback Anthony Fucillo (Winthrop, MA) smashed team records with 35 completions and 71 pass attempts in the game, which gained 341 yards through the air. However, the Jumbo passing attack was inconsistent and Tufts hurt itself with 11 penalties for 70 yards. Meanwhile, the Bobcat offense gained 362 yards while the defense finished with four interceptions overall.
A scoreless first quarter included a missed 43-yard field goal by Tufts junior Adam Auerbach (Glen Rock, NJ). The Jumbo defense held Bates to just 39 yards in the first 15 minutes.
Early in the second, the visitors got on the scoreboard first after Bobcat sophomore DB Kyle Starr (Concord, NH) intercepted Fucillo at the Jumbo 24. Bates used four plays, including a 19-yard Katon to Squires completion, to get into the end zone on a three-yard run by sophomore Patrick George (Gloucester, MA). They missed the extra point and led 6-0 at 12:05 of the second.
Tufts answered on its next possession during a drive that was extended by a roughing the kicker penalty against Bates. Fucillo passed 26 yards to senior receiver Greg Stewart (Wilmington, MA), who finished the day with 13 catches for 126 yards. The pair then hooked up again for 10 yards to convert a fourth-down play. For the touchdown, Fucillo passed nine yards to senior Billy Mahler (Milwaukee, WI) and Tufts took a 7-6 lead with the PAT at 8:30 of the second.
The Jumbo defense stopped Bates three-and-out on its next drive. The offense turned that into three points with a 27-yard field goal by Auerbach at 5:38 of the second. Fucillo had an 18-yard completion to senior Pat Bailey (Beverly, MA) and a 16-yard connection with freshman Pat Nee (Essex Jct., VT) during the drive.
The teams continued to produce points in the second quarter. Bates went 68 yards in eight plays for a touchdown and a 12-10 lead at 2:27. A 47-yard catch by Squires, who had nine receptions for 149 yards overall, converted a third and 27 and put the Bobcats at the Jumbo 11. Two plays later, Katon and Squires produced an eight-yard touchdown.
Taking over with just 2:21 to go until halftime, Tufts was able to go to the locker room with a 13-12 advantage after a 41-yard field goal by Auerbach with 37 seconds on the clock. An 11-yard Fucillo to sophomore Marty Finnegan (Oak Park, IL) pass converted a third and 10 during the possession.
The Jumbos extended their lead to 20-12 after getting the ball to start the second half. Starting the possession near midfield after a short kickoff and 12-yard return, Fucillo eventually passed 24 yards to sophomore Dylan Haas (Yorktown Heights, NY) for the touchdown at 13:28.
Continuing back-and-forth scoring drives, Bates answered with a 15-play, 71-yard touchdown possession that cut the margin to 20-18 at 7:02 of the third. The Bobcats converted three fourth-down plays during the drive, including the 31-yard TD pass from Katon to Squires.
Bates' Andrew Kukesh (Exeter, NH) and Tufts' Matt Murray (Winthop, MA) traded back-to-back interceptions late in the third. Playing on Homecoming Day at Tufts, the game went to the fourth quarter with the hosts leading by two. After Tufts junior J.T. Rinciari (Congers, NY) intercepted a Katon pass at the Bobcat 46, the Bates defense held firm and forced a Tufts punt that was downed at the 12. Twenty-one plays later, Bates had their eventual game-winning score to end a generation of futility against the Jumbos.
Katon finished the contest with 265 yards of total offense for Bates, completing 17 of 33 passes for 211 yards and running the ball 20 times for 54 yards. Defensively, junior Brett McAllister (Exeter, NH) led Bates with 10 tackles, including two sacks for 14 yards in losses. Among senior Ted Durkin's (Rye Beach, NH) six tackles were two for 13 yards in losses.
Junior linebacker Ferras Albitar (Coto de Caza, CA) was everywhere for Tufts, recording eight solo stops and nine assists for 17 total tackles. Senior defensive lineman Alex Gresham (Milton, MA) was credited with eight tackles. On offense, senior Jumbo Pat Bailey (Beverly, MA) caught eight balls for 49 yards and rushed six times for 27 yards.