Football drops heartbreakers to Tufts, Midd

Alex Scyocurka ’15 racked up 117 yards on 27 carries in the men’s ovetime loss to Middlebury.
Alex Scyocurka ’15 racked up 117 yards on 27 carries in the men’s ovetime loss to Middlebury.

Last Saturday, Tufts outlasted men’s football (1-4, 1-4 in the NESCAC) by a score of 27-20.

Williams marched down the field 71 yards on the strong arm of Austin Lommen ’16 on a drive featuring two big catches by Alex Way ’16 and capped by a 16-yard rollout screen pass to Steven Kiesel ’15 for a touchdown, getting the men out in front early.

On their ensuing drive, Lommen botched a handoff to Alex Scyocurka ’15. This mistake resulted in a fumble that was returned 31 yards for a Jumbo touchdown, quickly knotting the game at 7-7.

Williams, however, was able to answer immediately. The Jumbos attempted a squib kick to neutralize the Ephs’ return threat, Connor Harris ’18, but this trickery backfired when running back Greg Plumb ’18 fielded the kick and returned it to the Williams 46-yard line. From there, Lommen favored receiver Darrias Sime ’16 on the drive, who came up with a clutch 16-yard reception on 3rd down and also the go-ahead 6-yard touchdown catch. Eph kicker Joseph Mallock ’15 was unable to convert the PAT, however, leaving the score at 13-7 with 1:25 remaining in the first quarter.

Quarterback Jack Doll connected with Zack Trause at the Williams 25-yard line, and after catching the short pass, Trause cut through the Eph defense all the way into the end zone. After Zack Thomas nailed the PAT, the Jumbos found themselves with a 1-point lead with 12:37 to go in the half.

The Jumbos then took advantage of a squandered Eph opportunity. On 2nd and 12 for the Jumbos, Doll found Jack Cooleen wide open in the middle of the field, and Cooleen took the ball 68 yards all the way to the Eph 5-yard line before being chased down by Taysean Scott ’17. Two plays later, Doll completed a touchdown pass. A bad snap on the PAT held the Jumbo advantage to seven, 20-13 at the end of the first half.

In the second half, after a Williams three-and-out, Tufts running back Trause slipped up the middle and ran 60 yards up to the Williams 12-yard line before being brought down. Doll found Greg Lanzillo in the end zone on the very next play, extending the Jumbo lead to 14 with the addition of the extra point.

In the fourth quarter, Lommen completed a 16-yard pass to Lewis Hayes ’17 and then executed a double reverse to Harris and then to Mark Pomella ’16, who completed a 13-yard pass downfield to Harris. A dump pass to Scyocurka netted 12 more yards, setting up an 8-yard touchdown pass to Kiesel several plays later. Mallock converted the PAT, bringing the Ephs within 7 with 5:22 left in regulation.

The Jumbos punted the ball with 14 seconds on the clock giving Williams no chance to put together a last-minute drive; time expired with Tufts on top, 27-20.

On Oct. 11, in a very evenly-matched contest that could not be decided in regulation, Williams lost to Middlebury by a score of 23-20 in overtime.

Both teams started slow as the first quarter was scoreless, and the score at halftime was just 3-0, in favor of the Ephs. That score resulted from a 40-yard field goal by Mallock to cap a drive that featured Scyocurka breaking a 24-yard run deep into Middlebury territory.

Middlebury catapulted into the lead with 10:30 left in the 3rd quarter after returning a botched fumble for a touchdown.

Two transfers of possession later, Williams was able to answer. Pinned on its own 7-yard line, Pomella marshaled the Ephs down the field utilizing an option rushing attack; he would total 34 yards rushing on that drive. When they reached the Middlebury 30-yard line, Scyocurka took matters into his own hands, cutting to the right side and finding his way to the end zone. Mallock made the extra point, putting the score at 10-7.

On the following drive, Middlebury reached as far as the Williams 27, but Mike Davis ’17 put a stop to the drive with a spectacular diving play to break up a pass.

The Eph defense held on three consecutive plays inside their own 5-yard line, and the Panthers had to settle for a Michael Dola field goal, which evened the score at 10 with 10:40 remaining in the 4th quarter.

Lommen connected with Hayes on a cross route in the middle of the field. Hayes broke a tackle and led the entire Middlebury defense on an electrifying chase down the field until he was finally brought down at the 8-yard line for a total gain of 77 yards. Scyocurka rushed up to the 2-yard line, which set up a play-action floater to Hayes in the back of the end zone, putting Williams up 17-10 with 6:18 remaining in regulation.

Three consecutive incomplete passes set up a 4th and 10 for Middlebury, but QB Matt Milano was able to find Grant Luna for the first down. Two more completions and an 8-yard scramble later, Williams was flagged for pass interference, putting Middlebury on the Williams 13-yard line. Milano connected with Brendan Rankowitz on the 2 and, two plays later, completed a swing pass to Drew Jacobs for a touchdown with just under a minute left.

Michael Dola made the PAT, tying the game up, and Williams did not try to do anything dramatic with the final possession of regulation. Thus, the game went to overtime.

Middlebury won the toss and elected to go on defense first. Williams was able to get the ball to the 3-yard line with screen passes to Scyocurka and Jean-Luc Etienne ’15, but the Panther defense held on the goal line and forced Mallock to kick a field goal, provisionally putting the Ephs up 20-17.

The pressure was on for the Williams defense. After allowing a short pass and rush by Drew Jacobs to put the Panthers on the 14, they forced a 3rd down and 10. However, Matt Milano was able to find Brendan Rankowitz in the end zone right past the outstretched fingers of Tom Cabarle ’15, giving Middlebury the score they needed for the win. The final score was 23-20.

On Saturday, the men will travel to Hamilton for a 1 p.m. contest.