Football (4-3) pulled out an impressive victory over Wesleyan on Saturday in a thrilling Homecoming game at Weston Field.
In front of hundreds of spectators, the Ephs defeated the Cardinals 19-7 in a contest that featured the continued dominance of the Eph defense and a solid performance by the running game.
“The win was big for our program and our season,” Head Coach Aaron Kelton said. “It was great to have a big crowd and for us to make our fans proud.”
NESCAC Offensive Co-Player of the Week Alex Scyocurka ’14 fueled Williams’ impressive performance. On just the men’s second possession, Scyocurka broke off a 93-yard run and outran the pursuing defenders to give Williams a touchdown. The effort broke the school record for longest touchdown run and gave the men a 7-0 lead after Joe Mallock ’14 tacked on the extra point.
“It was great to have Alex Scyocurka back,” tri-captain Peter Christiani ’13 said. “When he’s healthy, he’s the most dynamic running back in the league, and he showed that with his 93-yard run. He just took over with that run; no one was going to bring him down.” Scyocurka has struggled with injury this season and is now almost fully recovered.
The men’s defense put constant pressure on Wesleyan, not allowing the Cardinals to pass midfield in the first quarter. Late in the first quarter, defensive lineman Adam Datema ’15 sacked Cardinal quarterback Jesse Warren in the endzone, resulting in a safety that put the Ephs up 9-0.
The defense piled on even more points in the second quarter when linebacker Antonio Blanco ’15 returned a fumble 18 yards for a touchdown with three minutes to go in the half. Mallock’s PAT gave Williams a 16-0 lead going into halftime.
“Anytime the defense is scoring nine points on the day, you have to like your odds to win,” Christiani said.
Wesleyan came out refreshed in the second half and surged to an early score when runningback LaDarius Drew rushed four yards into the endzone. Sebastian Aguirre converted the PAT, shrinking Williams’ lead to 16-7. Wesleyan had two more opportunities to score in the third quarter, but in both instances, the Ephs held the Cardinals to field goal attempts, which Aguirre missed wide right.
By the start of the fourth quarter, the men got their offense moving, manufacturing an eight-play drive highlighted by a 15-yard gain by Scyocurka and 20-yard rush by Tom Wohlwender ’13. The Ephs settled for a 19-yard field goal by Mallock, bringing the score to 19-7 in their favor.
Near the end of the game, Wesleyan twice threatened to mount a comeback, but both times the men had no trouble stopping their opponent’s threats. Emmanuel Whyte ’13 came up with a critical interception with six minutes left to play. Whyte’s effort was countered by a Cardinal drive that managed to drive the Ephs deep into their own territory. But as the Cardinals marched to the Ephs’ 27-yard line, the defense forced a turnover on downs with just two minutes left in the game.
From there, the Ephs ran out the clock, extending the team’s winning streak to three.
Scyocurka had a phenomenal game, racking up 205 yards and a touchdown on 29 carries. Quarterback Tom Murphy ’15 posted 96 passing yards, completing seven of 24 passes with one interception.
“We did a good job all day keeping the tempo and keeping Wesleyan off balance,” Kelton said. “We finished plays today, and our defense played well.”
On Saturday, Williams will finish its season against Amherst when the rivals face off for the Little Three championship. The annual game, often dubbed “The Biggest Little Game in America,” will take place on Amherst’s Pratt Field at noon.
“We know it is a big game for both schools, and it is great to be a part of such a great college rivalry,” Kelton said of this Saturday’s game.
The Ephs will be working hard over the next week to prepare for the game, but the tri-captains are confident that the team will be ready for the Jeffs.
“They are a very good team, but if we play a complete game on both offense and defense for all four quarters, I’m confident we’ll come away with a win,” tri-captain Darren Hartwell ’13 said.