The Williams football team is hoping that its case of deja vu doesn’t go away until mid-November.
With the same score that they beat Bowdoin last year en route to a perfect 8-0 record, the Ephs started the 1999 season Saturday with a 42-0 thrashing of the Polar Bears in Maine.
The Ephmen dominated the game from start to finish, gaining 398 yards in total offense while holding the Polar Bears to a new school record of just 97 yards in total offense.
“We’re happy with the win,” said Head Coach Dick Farley. “The big part of it was playing an awful lot of kids and getting them all some game experience.”
The Ephs jumped on the Bears early and often, taking advantage of a Bowdoin team replacing 19 starters from last year. Near the start of the first quarter, Williams methodically marched 52 yards to the end zone. The first points of the 1999 campaign were scored by tight end Sean Collins ’02 on a two-yard pass from senior quarterback Sean Keenan. On the next Eph offensive opportunity, Keenan threw a 25-yard, fourth down strike to wide receiver Matt Student ’01 for the second of his five touchdown passes on the day.
The Eph defense played a magnificent game, displaying the precision and aggressiveness of a veteran unit. The Ephmen forced four turnovers and gave the offense excellent field position all day long. By the end of the first half, Bowdoin had -12 yards in total offense. The Polar Bears threw together two solid drives in the third quarter, only to be stymied short of the goal line by the strong Eph defense.
“We expected a lot of different things from them, but they pretty much kept it simple, and it ended up being our base defense against their base offense,” said linebacker and team tri-captain Chris Hale.
“We knew what they were going to do because our coaches got us ready.”
Meanwhile, the aerial and ground assault continued through the second quarter. Junior tailback Fred Storz, NESCAC’s leading rusher last year, rushed for 65 yards on the day and caught a seven yard touchdown pass midway through the second quarter, Keenan’s third on the day. Williams scored one last time in the half on a quick drive within the two-minute warning, capped by senior Mike Paolercio’s 29-yard reception from Keenan.
“I think we did a good job testing our passing game, because we had some receivers who were coming back from injuries,” Storz said. “We didn’t want to throw into big game untested. Another positive thing that we took from the Bowdoin game was what we accomplished on the field in terms of confidence on offense.”
In the second half, the Ephs came out shooting again. Bowdoin chose to kick off at the start of the game, so Williams began both halves of the game with the ball. Keenan made Bowdoin pay for this coaching error by throwing a 52-yard bomb to Student on the first play of the second half.
Bowdoin managed to move the ball more in the second half, but the Ephs held strong and repelled all attacks. Head Coach Dick Farley started pulling out some of his starters midway through the third quarter, indicating that the day was won for the purple and gold. In the fourth quarter, junior quarterback Nick Goggans capped the Ephs’ perfect day with a five-yard touchdown pass to sophomore tight end EricBellucci.
Saturday the Ephs travel to Hartford to take on a very strong Trinity team that drubbed Colby 35-3 last weekend.
Last year the Ephs won 34-6 at Weston Field, but as in the past, the Bantams can never be underestimated. Though they finished with a disappointing 2-6 record in 1998, Trinity appears to be much improved on both sides of the ball. Trinity promises to use a blitzing defense and physical offensive running game as in years past, despite the fact that the Bantams have a new coach this year.
“The level of competition will be different this Saturday than it was last weekend,” Farley said.
“Trinity’s a very athletic team, and I think they match up well with our strengths.”
Kickoff is scheduled for 1:30 p.m.