Hamilton falls to football, 14-7

On the back of co-captain Brian Morrissey ’09, football rolled – or rather, trudged – to victory. The senior running back rushed for 201 yards on 42 carries as Williams (4-2) battled Hamilton (2-4) to a 14-7 victory in sloppy conditions.

“When you consider the conditions, [Morrissey’s performance] was really amazing,” Head Coach Mike Whalen said. “He seemed to get stronger as the game went on and simply took over the game in the fourth quarter. The offensive line and our three tight ends also did a fantastic job blocking.”

Morrissey’s 42 carries set a school record. He also scored a touchdown and averaged 4.8 yards per carry.

Once again, Williams’ defense set the tone. Aided by the abysmal conditions, the Ephs held the Continentals to just 75 yards of total offense (39 rushing, 36 passing). Williams also set a school record by limiting Hamilton to three first downs over the course of the game.

“They have been playing great team defense all season,” Whalen said. “We have lost three starters for the season [Dan Canina ’11, Dan Johnson ’11 and Dylan Schultz ’11] and yet other guys just keep stepping up. It’s a credit to our players and our coaches.”
Williams got on the scoreboard with just under four minutes to go in the first quarter. Quarterback Pat Moffitt ’11 hit Bryce Bennett ’11 on a 30-yard touchdown pass, and Scott Sobolewski ’10 chipped in the extra point to put Williams up, 7-0. Given the slippery conditions, Moffitt finished the day with predictably low statistics: 70 yards passing (5-for-15) with one touchdown and one interception.

Neither team found any momentum in the second quarter, bringing Williams into halftime with only a slim lead.

Midway through the third quarter, the Ephs saw that lead disappear. After driving 32 yards into Continental territory, Moffitt was picked off by linebacker John Lawrence, who ran the ball 69 yards the other way for the score.

Although it took Williams until well into the fourth quarter to respond, the response was decisive. Starting the drive on their own 42, the Ephs put the ball in the hands of Morrissey, who did not disappoint. On four consecutive carries, the co-captain took the ball 18 yards into Continental territory. Then on third and two, Moffitt connected with Stew Buck ’09 on a 30-yard pass completion to bring Williams into the red zone. Morrissey did the rest of the work, eventually rumbling into the end zone on a six-yard run with two minutes left on the clock.

Morrissey gave credit to his blocking. “Our success running the football started up front with the O-line.  We were getting two or three yards of push every time we ran,” he said. “Those guys challenged themselves after the Tufts loss, and they went out there this Saturday and dominated the line of scrimmage. We also used Ace Norris [’09] at fullback more than we usually do, and he did a great job of getting to the linebackers and clearing running lanes for our backs.”

Stagnant for the first 58 minutes of the game, the Continentals couldn’t muster any reserves on their final drive. On the second play of the drive, Hamilton fumbled the ball, which defensive lineman Devin McLoughlin ’09 recovered.

With 1:49 left, Williams ran out the clock to seal the 14-7 victory.

After two weeks on the road, Williams will return to Weston Field this Saturday for a Homecoming showdown against Wesleyan. Kickoff time is set for 1 p.m.

The team will then travel to Amherst for the final game of the season.

“Since we don’t go to the NCAAs we treat this week as the first round of our playoffs,” Whalen said. “We have an opportunity to play two good football teams over the next two weeks and if we play well, we have a chance to win a Little Three championship. This is our seniors’ final game on Weston Field and it’s homecoming, so I hope our players will be excited to play.”