Bunker, Bantams End Amherst's 14-Game Win Streak
Hartford, Conn. – Freshman RB Evan Bunker (Topsfield, Mass.) rushed for 211 yards and a touchdown and threw the game-winning touchdown toss in the fourth quarter to senior TE Chris Hunt (Westford, Mass.), as the Trinity College Bantams scored three times in the final 6:02 in a 28-13 victory over the previously-undefeated Amherst College Lord Jeffs in New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) football action this afternoon at Jessee/Miller Field. Trinity, ranked No. 5 in New England, wins its fifth straight game and its 39th consecutive triumph at home, while snapping the visiting Lord Jeffs' winning streak at 14 in a row. The Bantams, which visit Wesleyan next Saturday in their last game of the year, and the Lord Jeffs can each earn a third of the NESCAC Championship title with a win against the Cardinals and a loss by 7-0 Williams at Amherst on the same day. Amherst was ranked No. 1 in New England and No. 8 in the ECAC Lambert Meadowlands Poll entering the game. Trinity has not lost a game at Jessee/Miller Field since its current FieldTurf surface was installed prior to the 2002 season (36 games).
Trailing, 13-7, with 1:14 left in the third quarter and pinned at its own three-yard line after a picture-perfect, rugby-style punt by Amherst K/P Matt Rawson (Bethesda, Md.), Trinity drove the ball 97 yards on 18 plays for the game-winning score. Bunker totaled 49 yards on 11 carries on the drive and rushed five straight times to advance the ball from the Amherst 27-yard line to the five-yard line to set up a 3rd-and-5 situation. Lining up as the quarterback out of the shotgun, Bunker took the snap and sprinted forward toward the line of scrimmage, before stopping and completing a jump-pass over the linemen to a Hunt for a five-yard score. Senior K Tim Costello (Solana Beach, Calif.) nailed the extra-point to give Trinity its first lead of the game at 14-13 with 6:02 left in the fourth quarter.
The Bantams forced a punt on Amherst's next possession, and a Bantam bounce of a short effort by Rawson gave Trinity the ball back in Lord Jeff territory. After five more Bunker rushes, Trinity sophomore QB Ryan Burgess (Dracut, Mass.) threw 29 yards to senior Michael Galligan (Shoreham, Mass.) on a play-action pass down the left sideline for another Bantam score. Leading, 28-13, with 3:11 on the clock, the Trinity defense forced four consecutive incompletions on Amherst's ensuing drive, and put the nail in the coffin with a 25-yard scoring strike from Burgess to Hunt in the game's final minute.
Amherst had opened the game with a 34-yard kickoff return by sophomore Landrus Lewis (Pennsauken, N.J.), followed by a 47-yard bomb into the end zone from senior co-captain QB Alex Vetras (Clyde Hill, Wash.) to senior WR Andre Gary (Exeter, N.H.) on its first play from scrimmage. Lewis picked off Burgess to stop Trinity's first drive, and the Lord Jeff capitalized with a 35-yard field goal to take a 10-0 lead 3:01 into the game. The Bantams got on the board late in the first stanza on a four-yard rush by Bunker, after senior captain S Ben Sherry (Wayland, Mass.), lining up in the backfield, completed a 25-yard pass down the left sideline to Galligan on a fake punt from the Trinity 45-yard line on 4th-and-4. Trinity kept itself within six points at 13-7 shortly before intermission when sophomore DB Julian Brown (Philadelphia, Pa.) jarred the ball loose from Amherst junior RB Eric Bunker (Topsfield, Mass.) in the end zone to force an incompletion on 3rd-and-goal from the five-yard line, which held the Jeffs to a 22-yard field goal by Rawson
Evan Bunker broke the Trinity carries record for the second week in a row with 45, as Trinity totaled 251 rushing yards as a team and held the ball for 42:45 of the game. Burgess finished 6-for-11 for 124 yards, and Hunt led all pass catchers with 98 receiving yards on five grabs. Eric Bunker, Evan's older brother, paced the Lord Jeffs with 51 rushing yards on 11 carries, while Vetras was 16-for-38 for 162 yards, and Gary caught five balls for 62 yards. Defensively, junior ILB Walter Fallas (Everett, Mass.) paced Trinity with eight tackles, while junior DE Herman Brito (Wayland, Mass.) had 1.5 sacks, Sherry intercepted a pass, and senior CB Tony Coffield (Baltimore, Md.) broke up four passes in the second half. Amherst junior DB Evan Rosenstein (New Canaan, Conn.) led all tacklers with 13, while sophomore DL Matt Sponheimer (Orange, Conn.) totaled 12 tackles and two sacks, and Rawson landed five of his seven punts inside the Bantam 20-yard line.