The 2001 season started victoriously for the Ephs as they squared off against NESCAC preseason favorite Colby in Waterville, Maine and came away with an impressive 28-13 win. With the victory, Williams avenged last year’s 27-24 loss.
“It was a good team effort,” said head coach Dick Farley. “Field position was a big part of the victory. Scott Farley [’03] did a great job for us on kickoffs. Beating a club like Colby up in their place was a giant win for us.”
The game could not have started more auspiciously for the Ephs. On the first play from scrimmage, defensive back Johnny Kelly ’03 intercepted Colby quarterback Pat Conley and returned the ball to the Colby three-yard line. On the ensuing play, fullback Tyler Shea ’04 ran in for the touchdown. Twenty-three seconds into the season, the Ephs had a 7-0 lead.
The White Mules, though, quickly struck back, as Conley completed a 50-yard pass to the Ephs’ 28 yard-line. Colby continued to move the ball, reaching the Williams five-yard line. The Eph defense, however, tightened up and held the White Mules to a short field goal.
The teams settled down after that, with both teams trading field goals. Starting quarterback Joe Reardon ’04 hit wide receiver Colin Brooks ’02 with a 38-yard strike, resulting in a Scott Farley 20-yard field goal late in the first quarter. Colby responded with a long drive resulting in a 30-yard field goal. Entering halftime, the Ephs held a 10-6 lead
The White Mules gave the Ephs a gift midway through the third quarter when Colby snapped a ball through the endzone, giving the Ephs a safety and possession of the ball.
On the ensuing drive, runs by tailbacks Mike Hackett ’04 and Ken Clark ’03 set up another Scott Farley field goal, this one from 25 yards out.
On their next possession, Reardon led the offense from midfield to the Colby three with several key passes, including a 22-yard completion to wide receiver Ryan Friend ’03 and a nine yard completion to Hackett on a third and seven to keep the drive alive. From there, Reardon hit senior tight end Sean Collins ’02 on fourth and goal for a touchdown, giving the Ephs a 21-6 lead with 11:29 left in the game.
With the clock against them, Colby had to rely on the arm of Conley to bring them back. Conley eventually delivered, hitting wide receiver Jason Cunnane for a 26-yard touchdown with 4:10 left in the game.
With over four minutes left in the game, the Williams offense needed to move the chains and eat up some clock. They delivered. Reardon completed another crucial third down pass, a 21-yarder to Friend with just over two minutes left.
On the next play, Hackett sealed the game with a 44-yard touchdown run, making it a 28-13 game with just 1:30 left. “That run really broke their back,” said Coach Farley.
The White Mules frantically tried to score again, but time ran out and the Ephs left Waterville with a 28-13 win.
The win not only boosted the squad’s confidence as it continues with NESCAC play, but also helped to answer some preseason question marks.
While the Ephs were slightly outgained in total yards, the defense played well. It was able to limit the potent White Mule offense to only one touchdown and stop the White Mules’ most dangerous player, Danny Noyes, from making any big plays.
Reardon, who had been splitting time with fellow sophomore Jake Moore, also helped his case with a strong performance (19-25 for 192 yards) and impressed the coaching staff with his play in the second half when he led the Ephs to two key touchdowns.
“[Reardon] was able to make some big plays in the second half,” said Coach Farley. “Brooks and Friend ran some great routes and [Reardon] made some good throws to get them the ball.” Hackett was the offensive player of the game for the Ephs, finishing the game with 96 yards on 21 carries and scored a touchdown.
The Ephs now look ahead to a Trinity team that manhandled Bates 41-7, and are primed to revenge the 23-0 beating it received in Williamstown last year.
“[Trinity coach] Steve Mohr knows us inside and out,” said Coach Farley. “They also have a very talented team. The last couple years, we’ve beaten up on them, so I’m sure they are looking at this game the way we were looking at Colby.”
This weekend’s game is away in Hartford, with kickoff at 1:30 p.m on Saturday.