Football (1-1) fell to Trinity 21-13 in Hartford on Saturday. The loss snapped a nine-game winning streak.
The Ephs’ offense was decimated by injuries, as running back Alex Scyocurka ’14 was sidelined for a second-straight game with a knee injury, quarterback Chris Cleary ’12 left in the first quarter with a sprained ankle and center Vince Nistico ’12 was forced to leave the game in the first quarter with a concussion.
Trinity opened the scoring in the first quarter on their second drive, blazing 79 yards down the field to score. After a two-yard loss on a run, Bantam quarterback Hedley Jennings ripped off a 37-yard fireball on third down from the Trinity 19 to break into Eph territory at the 42. After two rushing plays, Jennings connected with Andrew Grombala in the end-zone, giving the Bantams a 7-0 lead on the Ephs that lasted through the first half.
Adam Marske ’14 stepped in to lead the Ephs’ offense after Cleary left. Marske made some good passes in the second quarter, including a 34-yard throw from the Williams 20 to Tomas Kearney ’12 with 10 minutes remaining in the quarter. Tom Wohlwender ’13 rushed for four yards before Marske connected with Darren Hartwell ’13 for six yards to get a first down at the Trinity 36. A facemask penalty pushed the men up to Trinity’s 21, where Marske found Hartwell again for three yards. Wohlwender rushed for two more yards on third down. Luke Faust ’14 came on to attempt the 35-yard field goal, but his kick sailed wide right.
The men’s defense limited the Bantams in the second quarter. Dan Canina ’12 crushed a promising Trinity drive with nine-yard sack on second-down at the Williams 33, and the Ephs forced the Bantams to punt after a third down stop on one of its rare second-quarter scoring opportunities. The defense sent the game to halftime with Trinity up 7-0.
“We have a pretty talented group on defense, and they kept us in the game,” Kelton said. “They applied some pressure that gave us opportunities.”
The teams traded three-and-outs to open the half before Jennings broke off a 45-yard pass with 11 minutes remaining to put the Bantams at the Ephs’ three. Eric Bunker rushed the remaining three yards and gave Trinity a 14-0 lead.
After two three-and-outs, the men’s offense finally ignited. Noah Goldberg ’12 recovered a Trinity fumble to give the men premium position at the Trinity 49. Marske found Hartwell for a five-yard pass, and Wohlwender broke a nine-yard rush for a first down at the Trinity 35. Marco Hernandez ’14 ran for four yards before the Bantams stifled Wohlwender, forcing the men into a third-and-six. Marske scoured the field and found Kearney for a 31-yard touchdown pass. Kicker Joe Mallock ’14 could not convert the point after, but the men had tightened Trinity’s lead to 14-6.
The defense then forced another Bantam three-and-out, and the men headed to the final quarter with the score 14-6 in favor of Trinity.
In the fourth, the men failed to convert on a fourth-and-two at the Trinity 26, and Trinity padded its lead with three minutes remaining. Bantam Rob Gau picked Marske off at the Williams 37 and returned the ball to the 11. Co-captain Dylan Schultz ’12 sacked Jennings for nine yards on second down, but the Bantam quarterback recovered to convert on third-and-20 with a 21-yard end-zone pass. Trinity went up 21-6 with under three minutes to go.
Marske exploded in the Ephs’ next drive, connecting with three different receivers to lead a 24-second scoring blitz from the Williams 43. Marske converted on third-and-11 with a pass to Greg Payton ’14 to earn a first down at the Trinity 47. Following an incomplete pass, Marske and Payton connected again for six yards. The sophomore then completed a 24-yard pass to co-captain JC Stickney ’12 on third down to earn a first down at the Trinity 21. A 15-yard pass to Hartwell gave the men a first-and-goal at the Trinity six, and Wohlwender rushed two yards to the Trinity four. After a Bantam timeout, Marske punched in the touchdown with a pass to Hartwell. Faust’s extra point attempt was good, and the men pulled to 21-13 with less than a minute remaining.
Trinity ran down the clock with its rushing game, and handed the men their first loss since their Nov. 14, 2009 game against Amherst.
Marske passed for 237 yards, going 20-33 with one interception. Hartwell had eight receptions for 55 yards. Wohlwender was the Ephs’ top rusher, running on 14 plays for 29 yards. Schultz had 12 total tackles in the game, and Ladd Hamrick ’13 recorded 11.
“Adam [Marske] played with poise and took command of the huddle,” Kelton said. “He got us into some positive plays, and with another week of preparation, he’ll improve.”
“Hartwell and Stickney are very talented guys that are a big part of our passing game,” he added. “Greg [Payton] has been a good surprise for us, and he and Tomas [Kearney] add to our depth.”
The men will look to regroup for their first home game against Bates on Saturday at 1:30 p.m.
“We have to limit big play opportunities and tackle well [to win against Bates],” Kelton said. “We need to establish the run game, and that’ll set up our passing game nicely.”
Stickney emphasized that the men have to play a physical game to shake off the loss. “The most important thing is for us to be extremely physical,” Stickney said. “If we stay sharp, the talent on our team will be able to win against anyone.”