Football continues run; prepares for Wesleyan

Continuing their undefeated season, the Williams football team played a solid game last Saturday to defeat the Hamilton College Continentals by a score of 39-14. The keys to the game for the Ephs were the punishing running provided by Fred Storz ’01, Williams’ dominant offensive line and the containment of Hamilton’s potent offense. Storz finished with a season-high 215 yards and four touchdowns, and the Ephs’ secondary limited Continental quarterback Robbie Peters to 139 yards on 16 of 31 passing. Peters had been averaging 244 yards in the air per contest.

After the coin toss, it wasn’t long before Storz opened up the scoring. A three-and-out by Hamilton on their initial possession gave the Williams offense the ball with excellent field position. Two 13-yard completions by QB Sean Keenan ’00 to Matt Sigrist ’99 and Mike Paolercio ’00 put the Ephs inside the Continental 20. Three straight rushes by Storz, totaling 18 yards, capped the drive. Sophomore Bob Kaufman’s extra point attempt was blocked, but the Williams defense quickly shut down the Continental offense. Two plays into Hamilton’s second drive, Chris Sweatman ’00 broke through the line and registered his first safety of the year. This defensive gem upped the Eph lead to 8-0.

The Williams offense couldn’t capitalize on its next possession, and the game became a battle of ball control. Sandwiched between Hamilton punts were two interceptions tossed by Keenan, only his third and fourth on the season. Finally the Eph offense settled down and went back to putting points on the board. First, Colin Vataha ’01 converted a field goal from 24 yards out, which was set up by a 15 yard reception by tight end David Nemeskal ’99 and a 23 yard jaunt by Storz. On the next possession, Williams broke the game open with a touchdown drive led by 39 yards and a TD from Storz.

Right before half, the Hamilton offense finally began to show some signs of life, and Peter’s arm showed some indications of what passing skills he brought to the table. Peters and running back Chris McCarthy marched the Continentals up the field in five plays, culminating in a two yard plunge for Hamilton’s first score. The Ephs went into halftime with an 18-8 lead.

Knowing that they were facing a potential upset bid, the Williams squad came out in the second half with much more intensity. Storz scored the only two touchdowns in the third quarter and elevated the Ephs’ lead to 32-8.

Mike McAdam ’99 then notched a final touchdown in the fourth quarter to cap the Eph scoring. A late Hamilton score left the scoreboard reading 39-14 with the Ephs going home as victor for the sixth time this fall.

Keenan finished with 245 yards passing and Matt Sigrist led receivers with 88 yards on 6 catches.

The defensive secondary, consisting of John Berry ’00, Chad d’Entremont ’99, Casey Flavin ’00 and Dan DiCenzo ’01 held Hamilton’s air attack in check, while the defensive front seven, led by Sweatman, John Lewis ’99 and Chris Hale ’00 frustrated Peters and the Hamilton ground game all afternoon. The Continentals only managed 245 offensive yards on the game against Williams’ 574. Lewis had the Ephs’ only interception and Hale led the team with two sacks.

On the offense’s continued huge output, Keenan remarked that “the running and passing games really help each other. They did some things we didn’t expect that they’d seen on tape, and our balance really helped us out.” Regarding his own flashy stats Keenan said, “I could care less. It’s all about the team winning the game.”

Tri-captain Berry knew that Hamilton would be a much tougher game than many fans realized. “They do some complex things offensively and defensively. We had to prepare well for this one because without this win the Wesleyan and Amherst games wouldn’t be as special.”

The games that Berry alluded to are easily the two biggest on the Ephs’ schedule every year. The two Little Three games at the conclusion of the Williams football season can make or break the year for the team.

Berry realizes that hardly any motivation will be necessary for the homecoming game with Wesleyan. “If [the players] couldn’t get pumped for this one, they would have to be dead inside,” he says. “We will try to exorcise some demons in this one,” he adds, referring to last year’s 28-14 Wesleyan victory. “There were excuses made after last year’s loss about the weather and the officiating. It won’t be that way this year. We have to be able to look ourselves in the mirror. We know we’ll get no second chance.”

The homecoming game between the 6-0 Ephs and the 5-1 Wesleyan Cardinals will start at 1:30 at Weston Field this Saturday afternoon.