Despite a sluggish first quarter, football rolled over the visiting Trinity Bantams 30-13 on Saturday led by a four-touchdown performance from quarterback Joe Reardon ’04. The win pushes the Ephs’ record to 2-0 and extends the team’s unbeaten streak to 10 wins dating back to the start of last season.
“I was very happy with our performance for three quarters,” Head Coach Dick Farley said. “We got sloppy in the fourth when we gave up two touchdowns, but they had some older kids against our younger kids and that’s what happens at this time in the season.”
Both Reardon and co-captain Scott Farley ’03 credited the effort of the team as a whole this week as part of the reason for the victory.
“Our success was a combination of preparing well and carrying it over into [the game],” Reardon said. “We had a good week of practice, but you also have to bring that over into the game. We were able to do that.”
Without a doubt the standout performance of the day came from Reardon. Asked to carry the Eph offense on his back for much of the first half and third quarter, Reardon delivered, finishing the day with 22 completions on 38 attempts for 267 yards and four touchdowns.
Reardon also made several key completions on third and fourth downs, which allowed the Ephs to build a 16-0 halftime lead despite missing a rushing attack.
“We couldn’t run the ball,” Coach Farley said. “You don’t run into a brick wall, so we tried to climb over it.”
Even with Reardon’s stellar effort, it was the Bantams who were on the attack early. After stuffing running back Mike Hackett ’04 on fourth down at their own 33, the Bantams, using runs by both Brain Fabrizio and Tom Pierandri and a no-huddle offense, moved the ball down to the Eph 15-yard line, but kicker Skip Sullivan missed a 32-yard field goal, and the game remained scoreless.
After stopping the Ephs on third down, the Bantams got the ball at midfield and again moved into scoring position, but Sullivan missed his second field goal of the quarter, and the Ephs remained unscathed.
After dodging two Bantam chances, the offensive wheels began to turn. On a third-and-two from the Eph 32, Reardon found Farley over the middle. As Farley leapt to catch the pass, Trinity safety Aaron Goldstein charged in and drilled Farley, who somehow managed to bounce off the hit and then sped down the sidelines to the Bantam 29.
“It was a slant pattern so it was in the back of my mind that I might get hit,” Farley said. “I saw him coming, so I just instinctively turned my back around and was able to get downfield.”
Helped by Farley’s superb play, the Ephs got down to the 18, where Reardon found Ryan Friend ’03 on a quick slant on third down for a touchdown. The touchdown was part of another impressive performance from Friend, who this week caught 10 passes for 120 yards.
After trading possessions, the Ephs made it down to the Bantam seven-yard line, helped by great field possession after a late hit penalty on Trinity on Farley during the punt return. The Bantam defense, though, dug in and the Ephs were forced to settle for a Farley 23-yard field goal, making the score 10-0.
The Trinity offense was unable to counter the Ephs in the second quarter as the Williams defense allowed only one first down in the second quarter.
“Our defense just executed better in the second quarter,” Farley said. “I think we had to see their offense and get more comfortable with it. The no huddle is something we don’t do so we can’t duplicate it in practice.”
After a diving interception from linebacker Graham Goldwasser ’04 in Trinity territory the offense struck once more before the half. Relying heavily on the arm of Reardon, the Ephs moved to the Bantam seven where Reardon found a wide open Jonathan Siff ’05 for a touchdown. However, a holding penalty pushed the extra point back 10 yards and Farley pushed his kick wide, so the score stayed at 16-0 at the half.
After the Ephs again held the Bantams to a three-and-out to start the second half, the Ephs put the game out of reach. This time finding some success on the ground, the Ephs mixed Hackett runs and Reardon completions to get the ball to the Trinity 24. After three straight incomplete passes, Reardon found Friend for another key completion, keeping the drive alive. Two plays later, Reardon rolled out and threw back to an open Hackett for an 11-yard touchdown, making the score 23-0.
On the next possession, defensive end Andrew Maurer ’04 alertly read a swing pass and intercepted quarterback Greg Ward’s pass at the Bantam 26. Six plays later, Reardon found Farley’s secondary mate, Johnny Kelly ’03, in the back of the end zone for Reardon’s fourth touchdown of the day, capping the Eph scoring at 30.
The use of Farley and Kelly at wide receiver can be expected more this season, as Coach Farley again expressed his concern over numbers this year.
“It’s something we’re doing out of necessity,” Coach Farley said. “I would like not to do it, but if we want to put a competitive football team out there, it’s something that we’re going to have to do.”
Scott Farley, who also kicks, punts and returns punts with Kelly, expressed his willingness to help the team.
“I’m going to do whatever I can to help the team win,” he said. “It would probably be better if I could concentrate on one position, but we’re here to win football games.”
With the game firmly out of reach, Coach Farley put in younger subs to give them some game time experience. With the second team in, Trinity was able to pick up two touchdowns, one of which was an impressive 85-yard touchdown run by speedy freshman running back Brad Davis. The scores, though, were too little and too late and the Ephs walked away with another NESCAC win.
The Ephs will travel up to Maine next weekend to take on the 0-2 Bates Bobcats.