Ephs top Continentals 21-14, end four-game skid

Steven Kiesel ’15 had five catches for 62 yards in the Ephs’ 21-14 victory over the Continentals last Saturday.
Steven Kiesel ’15 had five catches for 62 yards in the Ephs’ 21-14 victory over the Continentals last Saturday.

Football (2-4) scored touchdowns in each of the first three quarters, amassing a 21-point lead to overcome Hamilton last Saturday. Hamilton surged late as the men let off the gas a little bit, but Hamilton’s 14 fourth quarter points fell short leaving the men victorious, with a final score of 21-14.  The win snapped a four-game skid for the Ephs and gives them some positive momentum heading into their last two games and quest for the Little Three title.

Hamilton had a promising start to open the game with a drive that went all the way to the Williams eight-yard line. However, linebacker James O’Grady ’16 forced a fumble that was recovered by tri-captain Tom Cabarle ’15. The turnover effectively killed any momentum Hamilton had in the first quarter and stalled its offense for the next three quarters.

After a series of ineffective drives, the Continentals stood on their own 19-yard line after an Eph punt. They proceeded to fumble the ball into the arms of defensive back Mike Davis ’17. The Ephs quickly capitalized on their excellent field position with a quick three-play drive capped off by an Austin Lommen ’16 swing pass to Jean-Luc Etienne ’15. Etienne sped his way into the end zone untouched, putting the Ephs up 7-0 as the first quarter came to an end.

The Continentals failed to respond to the Eph touchdown as they again turned the ball over on the first play of their first drive in the second quarter. This time Hamilton attempted a running back pass, but the trick play backfired as the ball-hawking safety Cabarle snatched an interception in Hamilton territory. The Ephs proceeded to score on another quick three-play drive. Lommen connected with Lewis Hayes ’17 and Darrias Sime ’16 before tri-captain Alex Scyocurka ’15 ran the ball in to extend the lead to 13. Joe Mallock ’15 failed to convert the extra point, leaving the score at 13-0.

Both offenses were completely ineffective after this score until Hamilton moved into the red zone right before the end of the half. However, a James Howe ’16 and Ellis Eaton ’18 combo sack forced Hamilton out of the red zone and into a long desperation throw as time expired in the half. Cabarle, who was a part of three turnovers in total on the day, intercepted the pass. The Ephs have been desperate for big plays on defense, and Cabarle steeped up in a big way for the men on Saturday.

Hamilton’s defense responded early in the third quarter with a big defensive play, intercepting Lommen and returning the ball to inside the Williams 10-yard line. Williams’ defense did not break, however, stopping Hamilton on the goal line twice and forcing a turnover on downs.

Starting from inside their own one-yard line, the Ephs quickly mounted yet another three-play scoring drive. The Ephs came out guns blazing despite the awful field position as Lommen hit wideout Steven Kiesel ’15 and Sime on passes of 33 and 34 yards, respectively. After a roughing-the-passer-penalty, Lommen hit Kiesel again, who maneuvered his way into to a 14-yard touchdown. The Ephs then completed a successful two-point try, extending their lead to 21 with just under five minutes left in the third quarter.

Hamilton finally put together a scoring drive, scoring seven points with a run-heavy drive. The Continentals followed that up with a more balanced scoring drive that cut the Ephs’ lead to only seven. Defensive back Josh Helmkamp ’15 did his best to stop the scoring drive with a nice sack, but the Continentals converted a long third down and ended up scoring on a three-yard run.

The score was 21-14 in the Ephs’ favor with just over four minutes left in the game. Hamilton attempted an onside kick but was unsuccessful, but they forced a punt, giving them one last chance to tie the game. The Eph defense would not allow the Continentals to even sniff the end zone as they forced incomplete passes on second and third down, forcing a crucial fourth down toward the end of the fourth quarter. On fourth down, the Ephs sacked the Continentals’ quarterback, ending any chance of a comeback. The game ended with the Ephs on top, 21-14.

The standouts for the Ephs were Lommen, Kiesel and Cabarle. Lommen went 23-33 with 234 yards passing and two touchdowns to just one interception. Kiesel accounted for 62 of those yards on five catches. Cabarle, however, was certainly the MVP of the game, as he was involved in three turnovers and also led the team with 10 tackles. His defensive spark really was the difference in the game as Hamilton came out on top in most statistical categories outside of turnovers.

“When the offense needed a break, the defense got us the ball,” tri-captain Alan Felix ’15 said. Felix called the win an all around team win and is excited about the team’s form heading into this Saturday’s homecoming game against Little Three rival Wesleyan.

“At this point in the season, records do not matter, it is time for the Little Three,” Cabarle said. “I am looking forward to the tremendous atmosphere this Saturday for homecoming and giving some haircuts at St. Pierre’s Barbershop on Spring St.”

Last Saturday’s win was the 18th consecutive win for the Ephs over the Continentals. The loss extends Hamilton’s 18-game losing streak, which stretches back to the 2012 season. Williams will compete this Saturday at 1:30 p.m. at home against Wesleyan for its homecoming game.