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Football Earns Mammoth Victory

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Middlebury Football Team

Middlebury Football Team

Emma Stapleton

Emma Stapleton

Middlebury Football Team

By SEBASTIAN SANCHEZ

The football team is 4–0 after beating the previously undefeated Amherst Mammoths 35–31 in a game that came down to the final minutes on Saturday, Oct. 7. It was not the prettiest of games, as Middlebury finished with under 300 total yards, 200 fewer than the Panther onslaught of Colby two Saturdays ago. The Panthers grinded it out though, especially with help from their defense, which put up 14 of the Panthers’ 35 points.

Amherst scored first in the remaining two minutes of the first quarter by going 53 yards in 11 plays then kicking a field goal to take a 3–0 lead. Jared Lebowitz ’18 started Middlebury’s next drive on its own 19-yard line with 1:56 left in the first quarter. He continued into the second, dashing 14 yards to the Amherst 44. Then he completed a short pass to Maxim Bochman ’20, aided by a Mammoth penalty, and found Frank Cosolito ’20, who is back from an injury, to move the football to the Amherst 30. Lebowitz completed another pass to Cosolito and completed the 17-play, 81-yard and six and half minute drive with a dart to Bachman from eight yards out to give Middlebury a 7–3 lead.

On the subsequent possession, Mammoths quarterback Reece Foy was sacked for a big loss of 10-yards by Matthew Daniel ’19. Two plays later, Kevin Hopsicker ’18 jumped the receiver’s route, intercepted the pigskin and took it 32 yards for the second score of the quarter. Carter Massengill ’20 completed the extra point and the guests took a 14–3 lead with nine minutes left in the first half.

But the defense was still not done. Two series later, Amherst was pinned at its own 13-yard line. This time, Wesley Becton ’18 intercepted Foy’s pass and took it 13 yards to the house, giving the Panthers a commanding 21-3 lead.

As if that was not enough for the Amherst Mammoths, the ensuing kickoff gave the Panthers even more fuel to add to the offensive fire. A 61-yard kickoff by Massengill was returned 11 yards, until Jonathan Hobart ’21 forced and recovered the fumble at the Amherst 15. Though Lebowitz was called for intentional grounding, he made up for it and connected with Cosolito from 27 yards out for Middlebury’s fourth score of the quarter and a 28–3 lead.

The Mammoths managed a score late in the second quarter after their ground game dominated the series. Massengill’s kickoff was returned 30 yards to the Amherst 41 and the next four plays were all running, amounting in a 34-yard rushing by Jack Hickey. Middlebury held a comfortable 28–10 lead heading into the third quarter.

Starting the third quarter on their own 33, the Panthers were unable to move the chains and were forced to punt. Maxwell Rye ’20 booted the ball 47 yards, while 12 more yards were tacked on due to a holding penalty. Field position did not matter this time, as Mammoths tailback Hasani Figueroa took a pitch pass 74 yards down the left sideline, cutting the Middlebury lead to 11. The next 12 minutes were a defensive battle as neither team gave up a touchdown and the contest headed into the fourth.

The Panthers scored their last touchdown at the start of the fourth, when Lebowitz found Conrado Banky ’19 from 31 yards out. Massengill connected for his fifth and final extra point and Middlebury took a 35-17 lead.

“Our offense stuck to what we’ve done well in all the games we’ve played this season,” said Kevin Woodring ’20. “We held onto the ball, were efficient in our passing game and were able to move the ball on the ground at the end of the game. Overall, our defense allowed us to play the way we know how to and it amounted to a win.”

Amherst continued to claw back, scoring at the 11-minute mark on a 7 play 55-yard drive and once again at the eight-minute mark. Amherst final score was an 81-yard bomb from Ollie Berth to James O’Regan to bring the hosts within four.

But when the Panther defense needed to, it buckled down and that team in purple could not find another opportunity to score. Middlebury improved to 4–0 with a 35–31 win over its previously undefeated rival.

With their undefeated season on the line, the Panther defense returned to what gave the team success in the first half.

“We wanted to be aware of complacency and wanted to do our best to eliminate it at all costs,” said defensive back Jourdon Delerme-Brown ’20.

“That simply meant for us to relax and begin re-executing the game plan. Once we took the score out of it and just played the game play-by-play, we were back in control.”

Middlebury will have another tough matchup this Saturday, Oct. 14, when it hosts Williams (3–1) on Youngman Field at Alumni Stadium. The Ephs only loss came at the hands of defending Nescac champion Trinity (4–0).

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