Men’s football (3-3) fought its way to a close 34-26 victory against Hamilton last Saturday. Quarterback Tom Murphy ’15 led the Ephs to their second straight victory, and Antonio Blanco ’15 exceled on defense with 13 tackles and an interception.
“We have done a better job of focusing and doing the little things better. We played with more passion and did a better job executing,” Head Coach Aaron Kelton said of the team’s success.
Williams gained momentum from the very first play of the game as tri-captain Darren Hartwell ’13 returned the opening kickoff for a 90-yard touchdown. Joe Mallock ’14 promptly added the extra point, and Williams took a 7-0 lead just 12 seconds into the game. Hartwell was named NESCAC Special Teams Player of the Week for his scoring effort.
Hamilton wasn’t fazed, however, and the Continentals drove down the field on their opening possession for a score of their own. A nine-yard run by Continental quarterback Jordan Eck and an extra point by Garrett Hoy tied the game at 7-7 early in the first quarter.
The Ephs were unable to break through the Continentals’ defense again until midway through the second quarter, when runningback Tom Wohlwender ’13 scored on a nine-yard run. Mallock’s PAT brought the Ephs to a 14-7 lead.
The Ephs quickly regained possession of the ball with the help of an interception by defensive back Chris Kim ’13. The turnover resulted in another scoring drive, this time on a 38-yard pass to Hartwell. The score earned Hartwell the school record for most career receiving touchdowns with a total of 19. The honor was previously held by Brendan Fulmer ’07.
“Darren [Hartwell] is a great player and has had a very good career,” Kelton said. “I am so proud of his accomplishments and proud of the way he has led our young team.”
On Hamilton’s opening drive of the second half, the opposing team marched the ball down the field, leading to a one-yard touchdown run by James Stannell. The Continentals were successful on a two-point conversion that brought the score to 21-18 with the Ephs still in the lead.
However, the Ephs made some big plays that helped extend their slim lead in the third quarter. The Continentals’ next drive was halted by Blanco intercepting a pass from Eck, and the Ephs scored on Murphy’s 25-yard touchdown pass to Ryan Prokesch ’14. Mallock tacked on the PAT to give the Ephs a 28-18 lead.
In the closing minutes of the game, Hartwell gave the Ephs great field position with a 17-yard punt return that propelled the men to one last scoring drive. Wohlwender ran in his second touchdown of the day, and although Hamilton blocked the extra point, Williams took a 34-18 lead with under two minutes to play.
The Continentals made one last drive down the field. Eck found wide receiver Joe Jensen in the endzone with 10 seconds left and then ran in the two-point conversion to move the score to 34-26, but the effort came too late.
Wohlwender had a tremendous game, running for 130 yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries. Murphy also impressed, completing 12 of 23 passes for 174 yards and two touchdowns.
“I think our offense has definitely improved over the last two weeks,” Hartwell said. “The offensive line has done a great job blocking in the run game, and Tommy Wohlwender gave a great effort running the ball on Saturday.”
Williams hopes to carry its momentum into its Homecoming game against Wesleyan on Saturday. Kick-off will be at 1 p.m. on Weston Field.