Football loses to Trinity for first time since ’96

To most, football’s 10-0 loss to Trinity (2-0) on Saturday was disappointing, if not devastating. To Head Coach Dick Farley, it is a sign that the days of Williams (1-1) dominating the NESCAC are over.

“Williams is a good NESCAC football team, but maybe the days where schools go six years without beating us are coming to an end,” he said the next day. “We’ve been spoiled [in the past]. We’re like a lot of the other teams in the league right now.”

Indeed, it took a heroic effort by the Ephs defense to keep the game close against a strong Bantam team that mustered 393 yards of total offense, including 260 on the ground. Despite racking up 225 more total yards on offense and keeping the Eph defense on the field for over 35 minutes of the game, the Bantams were unable to score until the fourth quarter, as the Ephs dodged bullet after bullet throughout the game.

Drew Finkeldey paced the Trinity offense with 140 yards on 17 carries, including 53- and 24-yard scampers. The thunder to Finkeldey’s lightning came from Tom Pierandri, who netted 117 yards on 29 carries. Finkeldey, in his first year as a running back after two as a wide receiver, has notched 100 yards in both of the Bantams’ games this season.

Tim Crawley ’05 did all the rushing for the Ephs as Mike Hackett ’04 was held out of the game due to injury. Crawley picked up 69 yards on 22 carries, but only found 16 yards in the second half.

Two-time NESCAC Offensive Player of the Year Joe Reardon ’04 and Trinity’s two-headed QB combo of Josh Pitcher and Erik Paisley were equally ineffective: Reardon went 11-for-27 for 93 yards and three interceptions, while the Trinity tandem was 11-for-28 with 133 yards and two interceptions.

Graham Goldwasser ’04 continued his fine play of a week ago, adding 16 tackles, including five unassisted and a fumble recovery.

Though the defense wasn’t great, it stepped up when it had to for most of the game to keep Trinity off the scoreboard. John Schneider ’04 started that trend by picking Paisley off on the Ephs 2-yard line in the final seconds of the first half to send the game into the half knotted at zeroes.

At the start of the second half, it appeared Williams would force Trinity to go three-and-out, but a roughing the kicker penalty negated what would have been good field position for the Ephs and gave Trinity a fresh set of downs.

The Eph defense again stepped up to the challenge, forcing Trinity to punt a second time, but Joe Wahl’s punt was dropped by Kellen Williams ’04 and recovered by the Bantams on the Williams 33.

Trinity drove down to the Eph 6-yard line setting up a 23-yard chip shot field goal, but excellent penetration by the Eph defensive line combined with a low kick allowed the Ephs to block the field goal and preserve the 0-0 tie.

After a Williams three-and-out, Trinity had a second shot at a short field goal, driving down to the Eph 10-yard line. Bantam kicker Kevin Swiniarski again lined up the kick, but this time pushed it too far right.

Despite the myriad scoring opportunities the Ephs allowed, Farley was pleased with his team’s defensive effort. “That’s one of the better defensive games we’ve played in a lot of years here,” he said. “We had a lot of three-and-outs so our defense was on the field for a long time with their backs against the wall.”

The Bantams broke through at the end of the third quarter, driving 40 yards before the Eph defense clamped down at their own 28-yard line. Trinity switched kickers and asked Swiniarski’s fellow first-year Brett Sheridan to kick a 44-yarder, which he came through on – aided by a stiff wind to his back.

Trinity tacked on a second score halfway through the final quarter of play as their offensive line opened up gigantic holes for Pierandri and Finkeldey to take the Bantams 66 yards downfield and into the end zone.

The Eph passing game struggled mightily all game, with Reardon managing to get only four passes to his wide receivers all day long. One of those four, however, was punctuated by a remarkable diving catch by Jamaal Mobley ’04, who dove towards the sideline, hauling the ball in one-handed in midair.

“It was a very fine catch: went up, got the ball, had the wind knocked out of him,” Farley said.

The Ephs now prepare for a weaker Bates team (0-2) that is coming off of a 24-14 loss to Tufts. Bates’ first-year running back, was named NESCAC Rookie of the Week on Sunday for his fine play in the game, in which he gained 141 yards on 36 carries. The Bates defense stifled the Tufts offense, allowing only 10 points and 215 yards of total offense.

“I don’t think they’re quite as good as Trinity, or at least I hope they’re not,” Farley said. “We’ve got to learn from our mistakes and try to get ready for this weekend.”

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