LEWISTON, MAINE -- After two big wins in the comfort of their own backyard, the Williams College Ephs (3-0) faced their first road challenge of the year this afternoon against the Bates College Bobcats (1-2) at the newly-renovated Garcelon Field. It appeared that the lack of a home crowd and the long bus ride to Maine did little to affect their determination, however, as they exploded for 6 touchdowns and 485 yards of total offense in a resounding 41-0 shutout win over Bates.
Senior quaterback Pat Moffitt lead the offensive barrage, completing 21 of his 29 passes and throwing for three touchdowns and 280 yards in his most impressive performance of the young season. Junior linebacker Dylan Schultz was the focal point of the Eph defensive lockdown, as he recorded a sack, 2 tackles for a loss, and 10 solo tackles, all of which were team-highs.
When asked if last week's triumphant win over Trinity might have diminished the importance of the Bates game, Williams head coach Aaron Kelton was quick in offering his answer.
"I told the guys all week that the Trinity game means nothing if we didn't come out and win this one," said the rookie coach. "We did a good job of deemphasizing that victory over the course of the week and just focusing on getting ready for Bates. Some solid gameplans were drawn up on offense and defense and our guys did a great job executing them. Overall, we looked very sharp."
The efficient execution of the offensive scheme enabled Moffitt to distribute the football quite democratically, passing to nine different Eph receivers on the day. The most productive of these targets was junior receiver J.C. Stickney, who caught 4 passes for 81 yards, including a 32-yard reception in the first quarter that set-up the Ephs' opening score. Stickney and Moffitt would connect deep again in the final fifteen minutes on a 31-yard touchdown hookup that put Williams ahead 34-0.
"J.C. Stickney gave us a tremendous effort today," praised Kelton. "It was really a breakout game for him and we hope it can be a kind of confidence builder going forward. Pat Moffitt played a really great game. He directed our offense very well and made several key throws on third down to keep us on the field. We had a lot of guys step up in the passing game to make big plays."
Among those who got in on the airborne act were sophomore Darren Hartwell, who followed up a monster game last week with 4 catches for 37 yards, including a second quarter touchdown grab, the first of Moffitt's three touchdown throws. Senior tight end Jon Carroll was the recipient of the second, and he lead the receiving unit in receptions with 5 for 57 yards. Junior B.J. Griffin contributed 3 catches for 48 yards, and classmate Thomas Kearney made a splash with a long 38-yard snag in the second quarter in what Kelton acknowledged as an "outstanding effort."
The Williams ground game was operated by committee as well, with 6 different players carrying for positive yardage. Senior stud Ryan Lupo broke the plain from 5 yards out for the Ephs first score in the opening quarter, and freshman runningback Alex Scyocukra tacked on another touchdown rush two Eph possessions later to put the team ahead 14-0.
On the other side of the football, the Eph defense was suffocating, allowing just 82 total yards. Bobcat quarterbacks combined for 19 passing yards on 2 completions, while the runningbacks gained 63 yards on 38 carries. While the unit did not force any turnovers, they did register 7 tackles for a loss (2 of which were attributed to senior Dan Canina) and 2 sacks (awarded to Schultz and senior Tim Kiely).
"Our defense established the line of scrimmage in this game and that was a huge key to our success," commented Kelton. "The secondary didn't give up any big plays and our whole team tackled well.
Next week, the Middlebury Panthers will travel to Williamstown to try and derail the Ephs off the track towards a perfect season. The Panthers, who usually rely on a prolific passing game, should be another tough challenge for the Williams defense.
"[Bates] played a tough, physical game, and they tried to keep us off balance with some blitzes, but we did a good job of picking those up...and, other than a couple untimely penalties, we limited our mistakes and looked very sharp in all facets of the game. We're going to have to work hard this week and strive to get even better. Middlebury is a team that's going to throw the ball around and use all parts of the field, so we'll have to be ready for their aggressive attack."
The Panthers-Ephs showdown will take place next Saturday at Weston Field in Williamstown, with kickoff scheduled for 1:30PM.