Hartford, Conn. - The Trinity College football team, which won, 28-17, at Bates last weekend in its season opener, will host the Williams College Ephs on Saturday, Sept. 28 at 1:30 p.m. in one of the most storied rivalries in all of small college football. The Bantams, coached by Jeff Devanney (8th season, 50-7), are currently tied with Amherst, Colby, Middlebury, and Wesleyan for first place in the NESCAC at 1-0.
The Bantams are looking for their fourth straight win against an Eph team that was stunned at Colby, 31-8, for its first season-opening setback since 2007. Trinity, which owns a 47-game winning streak at home, won at Williams, 17-13, last fall in Williamstown, while Williams last defeated Trinity, 29-21, at home in 2011. Trinity's last home loss was also to the Ephs, as Williams defeated the Bantams, 31-10, in 2001 which was the last year Jessee/Miller Field had a grass surface. Williams snapped Trinity's New England Division III-record 31-game winning streak in 2006, while Trinity ended 23-game winning streaks by the Ephs in both 1991 and 1996. All three streak-ending games took place at Williams' Weston Field. Trinity trails the all-time series against Williams, 36-33-2, but has won eight of the last 10 meetings between the teams. The Bantams are ranked No. 2 in the New England Division III Poll.
Trinity used two fourth-quarter touchdowns to win at Bates for its 18th consecutive season-opening win. Senior co-captain RB Evan Bunker (Topsfield, Mass.) totaled 134 rushing yards and three touchdowns, including the go-ahead score in the fourth quarter. Sophomore QB Henry Foye (Madison, Conn.) connected on a 13-yard scoring pass to junior WR Chris Ragone (Sarasota, Fla.) for the fourth Bantam touchdown Saturday, while senior LB Tom Haverty (Marion, Mass.) and junior S Mike Mancini (Rocky Hill, Conn.) had 14 tackles apiece for the Trinity defense against a Bates offense that attempted just five passes.
Foye and first-year Sonny Puzzo (West Caldwell, N.J.) combined for 140 passing yards, while senior Ben Crick (Middlebury, Conn.) added 48 rushing yards, and senior A.J. Jones (Upper Darby, Conn.) and sophomore Ian Dugger (West Hartford, Conn.) totaled eight receptions for 91 yards. Haverty also had a sack and Mancini forced two fumbles, while senior OLB Mike Weatherby (Atlantic City, N.J.) contributed nine tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, and one sack, and junior CB Brian Dones (Philadelphia, Pa.) had an interception, a fumble recovery, and a pass breakup. Sophomore Kyle Pulek (Cheshire, Conn.) averaged 38.7 yards on seven punts with two dropped inside the Bates 20-yard line. Mancini was honored as the NESCAC Co-Defensive Player of the Week for his fine performance.
The Williams College football squad, under the direction of Head Coach Aaron Kelton (4th season), find themselves at 0-1 entering the Trinity game for the first time since 2007. The Ephs were on the short end of a lopsided loss despite a 70 percent completion percentage by quarterbacks Adam Marske and Tom Murphy (21-30), as the pair also combined for four interceptions. Williams managed just 21 rushing yards on 33 carries last weekend, and Steve Kiesel and Greg Payton totaled eight catches for 86 yards receiving between them. DB Tom Cabarle and LB James O'Grady paced the Eph defense against Colby with six tackles apiece, and Cabarle added a forced fumble and a pass breakup. Joe Mallock is a special teams weapon both kicking and punting for Williams.
"Williams is a very talented team with many different good players at the skill positons," said Devanney. "Every year when these two teams play the records don't matter at all. Players from both teams just seem to rise to the occasion."