Football earns 31-24 OT win over Amherst in historic Homecoming bout

They don’t call it “The Biggest Little Game in America” for nothing. At Homecoming on Saturday, a chilly Veteran’s Day with thousands in attendance at Farley-Lamb Field, football (6–3) notched a 31-24 overtime victory over Amherst. Quarterback Bobby Maimaron ’21 scored his fourth rushing touchdown of the game in overtime, and the Eph defense stopped the Mammoths on the game’s final possession.

Coming into the game, Amherst stood at the top of the NESCAC standings, needing a win in the final regular season game to clinch the league title. Williams, meanwhile, was coming off a 35-0 loss to Wesleyan in the midst of a resurgent season. Amherst had won the previous six meetings between the rivals.

The Mammoths controlled the pace at the beginning of the game. After forcing a three-and-out on the first series, the Amherst offense proceeded to keep the ball for nine minutes before settling for a field goal. The windy conditions made kicking difficult, but Amherst kicker John Rak hit a field goal from 29 yards out to give his team a three-point lead.

On their second drive, the Ephs kept their opponents off balance with a no-huddle offense. In only three minutes, Maimaron led the men 63 yards up the field for a score. The drive was kept alive by a few highlight plays, including a first-down catch by Adam Regensburg ’18 that likely prevented an interception and a third-and-7 rush by Maimaron that moved the chains. A 2-yard touchdown run by Maimaron finished the drive, and after a successful extra point from kicker Min Kyu Park ’21, the score was 7-3.

Feeding off of the momentum built by the offense, the Eph defense stepped up and forced a three-and-out. When the offense got back on the field, it used its quick-fire pace to move into Mammoth territory. Completing passes for big gains to Frank Stola ’21 and Regensburg, Maimaron brought the Ephs into the red zone. However, on third-and-1 on the Amherst 7, Maimaron’s intended pass to Stola fell incomplete. Park’s kick from 24 yards out went straight through the uprights, giving the Ephs a one touchdown advantage.

The men kept rolling in the first half. The defense forced another three-and-out, allowing the offense to take over at the Williams 25. Maimaron racked up 30 yards rushing on the ensuing drive. Aided by Stola in the air, the offense cruised up the field.

The Ephs pulled off a flea flicker on second-and-10 from the Mammoths’ 24. Maimaron handed the ball off to Rashad Morrison ’21, who handed off to another receiver. The ball was tossed back to Maimaron, though, and he hit a wide-open Morrison, who was taken down at the Amherst 1. The perfectly-executed trick play set up Maimaron for a 1-yard touchdown run to bring the score to 17-3.

Neither team was able to score for the remainder of the first half, and the Ephs went into halftime with a two-touchdown lead.

The men got the ball to start the second half and did not let up the pressure. The Mammoths forced a fourth-and-9, seemingly ending the drive, but the Ephs completed another trick play for a first down. In punt formation, Regensburg faked the kick and ran 20 yards up the field.

Having extended the drive, the Eph offense continued to move up the field and into the red zone. On second-and-goal from the Mammoths’ 8, Maimaron threw an incomplete pass, but a roughing-the-passer penalty gave the Ephs first-and-goal at the 4. The offensive line created a hole, allowing Maimaron to rush for his third touchdown of the game, extending Williams’ lead to 24-3.

Amherst responded on its next drive. Gradually working their way upfield, the Mammoths faced third-and-7 at the Ephs’ 33. Wide receiver Craig Carmilani streaked down the left side. Quarterback Reece Foy, who replaced starter Ollie Eberth in the second quarter, threw a jump ball to Carmilani in the end zone. With two defenders covering him, Carmilani adjusted to secure the catch and the touchdown. With six minutes left in the third quarter, the score was 24-10.

The game then saw nine straight possessions without a score. Eph defensive back Desmond Butler ’19 intercepted a pass to give Williams good field position, but Amherst forced a punt. Going into the fourth quarter, the Ephs maintained their 14-point lead.

With 9:20 left in the game, the Mammoths mounted a 61-yard touchdown drive to end the scoring drought. Foy completed four straight passes, including a 30-yard jump ball to Carmilani. His final throw of the series was a well-placed toss to Bo Berluti at the back of the end zone. However, the extra point was wide left, making the score 24-16 in Williams’ favor.

A few plays later, the Mammoths erased the Eph lead, which stood at 21 points in the third quarter. On second-and-20 at the Williams 15, Maimaron threw a pass that was intercepted by Amherst safety John Ballard. Ballard caught the ball with momentum and took it all the way to the end zone for a touchdown.

Needing a two-point conversion to tie, the Mammoths opted for a passing play. Foy completed a throw to Berluti, who crossed the goal line to knot the contest at 24.

The Ephs nearly regained the lead on the next possession. Starting at the Williams 25 with 7:17 left on the clock, rushes by Maimaron, Morrison and Ryan Pruss ’20 brought the ball across midfield. After five minutes in possession, the men faced fourth-and-11 from the Amherst 20.

Head coach Mark Raymond called on Park for a 37-yard field goal attempt. Although the kick had enough distance, it fell just outside the left goal post, keeping the score tied at 24.

Neither team could score in the final two minutes, bringing the game to overtime. It was the first time the rivals played past regulation since 2001.

The Ephs received possession first in overtime, starting at the 25. The men seemed to be in trouble, needing nine yards on third down, but Maimaron found Morrison for a 12-yard completion. After a 1-yard rush, Maimaron broke through the line for an 11-yard score, his fourth rushing touchdown of the game. Park’s extra point brought the score to 31-24, and Amherst needed a touchdown to extend the game.

On the Mammoths’ possession, the Eph defense did not get off to a good start, allowing running back Hasani Figueroa to gain 12 yards on the first play. After the initial slip-up, though, the men rebounded to force third-and-6 from the 9. Foy completed a pass to James O’Regan, but he was stopped a yard short of the first-down marker.

Amherst then faced fourth-and-1, needing to convert to extended the drive. Foy dropped back and threw over the middle to wide receiver Beau Santaro in the end zone. Two Eph defenders, however, covered Santaro tightly, and the pass fell incomplete to end the game.

Quarterback Bobby Maimaron ’21 tied a school record with four rushing touchdowns on Saturday. Photo courtesy of Sports Information.

Williams secured its first win over Amherst since 2010 and its first Homecoming victory since 2012, when the men topped Wesleyan 19-7.

Nobody was prouder of the team than Raymond.

“This was a huge win for our team,” he said. “I am so proud of the way the [players] competed today. Their character and toughness is special.”

Maimaron finished 23-of-41 with 183 yards and an interception, but he did his real damage on the ground and in decision-making. He consistently found pockets in the defense where he could run, garnering 133 yards on 33 carries. His four rushing touchdowns tied the school’s single-game record.

The Eph offense totaled 385 yards from scrimmage. Regensburg had nine catches for 78 yards in his final game at the College. Defensively, Jarrett Wesner ’21 led the way with seven tackles.

For Amherst, Foy was 13-of-26 with 148 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. Carmilani caught six passes for 101 yards and a touchdown, making some truly spectacular catches down the stretch. John Callahan had 14 tackles for the Mammoths, and Andrew Yamin had his team’s only sack.

During the game, the number 573 was stitched on the pant leg of each Eph player. The number 573 represents the number of steps from the main gate of the Weston Field Athletic Complex to the barbershop on Spring Street, where the Williams team gathers after each Homecoming victory in a tradition known as “The Walk.” Raymond had the number put on each pair of game pants to remind the Ephs to battle to earn the opportunity to walk.

In 1992, Sports Illustrated called The Walk “the best postgame tradition in America.”

The win gave the Ephs a share of the Little Three title, as each team went 1-1 against Little Three opponents. Trinity defeated Wesleyan 28-3 to secure the NESCAC championship and move to 8–1 on the season. Amherst finished tied for second at 7–2, and Williams was tied for fourth at 6–3.

The men will look to build from this successful season, as many of its impact players, especially on the offense, were first-years.

The Ephs graduate Regensburg, Lloyd Campbell ’18, Sam Gowen ’18, Connor Harris ’18, Jackson Johns ’18, Justin Sim ’18 and co-captains Michael Berry ’18, Ellis Eaton ’18, John Gannon ’18 and Chris Hattar ’18.