Lewiston, Maine - Senior QB and tri-captain Sonny Puzzo (West Caldwell, N.J.) passed for 192 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Trinity College Bantams to a dominant, 51-0 victory over the Bates College Bobcats in New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) football action on Saturday afternoon at Garcelon Field in Lewiston. The victory is Trinity's 11th win in a row dating back to the fall of 2015 and its 36th against Bates all-time, having not lost to the Bobcats since 1979. The defending champion Bantams return to Jessee/Miller Field next week where they will host Williams at 1:30 p.m. Bates welcomes Tufts University to campus next Saturday for a 1 p.m. game.
After shutting out Colby, 35-0, in last weekend's season opener, the Bantams had another dominant showing on both sides of the ball once again. Junior K Eric Sachse (Winchester, Mass.) put Trinity on the board first with a 22-yard field goal, his only of the game, before the Bantams scored four-straight touchdowns to open up a 31-0 lead after the first quarter. The first score came via a pick-six by Dominque Seagears (Silver Spring, Md.) who jumped a pass by Bates QB Sandy Plashkes (Del Mar, Calif.) and returned it 13 yards to the house. After a three-and-out from the Bobcat offense, junior KR/WR John Spears (Boston, Mass.) returned a punt 51 yards to the Bates' 16-yard line which was followed by a 16-yard touchdown scamper by junior RB Max Chipouras (Longmeadow, Mass.) on the next play from scrimmage.
Puzzo tossed his first touchdown of the afternoon with 6:14 remaining in the first quarter to senior FB Clifford David (Ambler, Pa.), David's first career touchdown, after Bates fumbled the ball away on the previous possession. Puzzo was on the throwing end of another career-first, this one a 17-yard touchdown reception by rookie WR Jonathan Girard (Poughkeepsie, N.Y.) that came at the 1:03 mark of the first quarter and put the Bantams up 31-0.
Trinity only scored twice in the second quarter but the defense, which allowed just 172 yards of total offense, kept Bates from any chance of mounting a comeback. Puzzo connected with sophomore RB Joe Samuelman (North Andover, Mass.) on a 31-yard passing play to open up a 38-0 lead with 5:53 left to play before the half. Just over three minutes later, first-year WR Dakota Foster (Hyattsville, Md.) hauled in his first collegiate score on a 20-yard touchdown reception from Puzzo as the Bantams took a 45-0 score into the break.
The scoring slowed in the second half with the lone touchdown coming as time expired in the fourth quarter. Junior QB Brad Whitman (Salisbury, Mass.), who came on for Puzzo, found junior RB Matt LaPorta (Ridgefield, Conn.) on a screen pass for a nine-yard touchdown to cap off the 51-0 victory.
Trinity's defense held Bates to just 45 yards through the air and 127 rushing yards in its second shut out of the fall. Junior OLB Dago Picon-Roura (Roslindale, Mass.) and rookie DB Matt McCarthy (North Reading, Mass.) paced the defense with seven tackles each while first-year OLB Xavier Francis (Bowie, Md.) and senior DE Brandon Blaise (Morristown, N.J.) had six and five tackles, respectively, as 11 Bantam defenders had three or more tackles on the afternoon. Picon-Roura, Francis and Blaise combined for four tackles for loss while Seagears and junior LB Sean Smerczynski (Topsfield, Mass.) also tallied stops behind the line. McCarthy and sophomore LB Jacob Martilotti (Wayne, Pa.) also scooped up a fumble each in the victory.
Peter Boyer (Dover-Foxcroft, Maine) led the Bobcats with 46 rushing yards on 15 carries while Kyle Flaherty (Litchfield, Maine) also topped 40 yards on the ground. DB Coy Candelario (Haverhill, Mass.) led all players with a career-high 12 tackles for Bates while fellow DB Conner Suraci (North Haven, Conn.) finished with nine and LB Bobby Dee (Plymouth, Mass.) with eight. LB Chase Fulton (Benecia, Calif.), LB Max Breschi (Carlisle, Pa.) and DL Tyler Harrington (Haverhill, Mass.) all recorded tackles for loss for the Bobcats as well.