Football Narrowly Defeats Bates


Middlebury’s defensive line faces off against Bates on Oct. 20 at home.

The Middlebury football team took on the Bates Bobcats in front of the Homecoming crowd this past Saturday. After a thrilling fourth quarter, the Panthers finished with the win, 35-34.

The previous week started off a new sense of momentum for the Panthers. On Saturday, Oct. 13, the team traveled to Williams College, where they snapped Williams’ undefeated streak this season with a score of 21-10. 

Two Middlebury players received NESCAC Player of the Week awards, senior Bobby Ritter (Defensive Player of the Week) and junior punter Maxwell Rye (Special Teams Player of the Week). A total-team effort propelled the Panthers over the Ephs, an attempt to come back from their loss to Williams in the 2017 season.

This week’s matchup was a little too close for comfort, but the Panthers held on for the win — this being their 30th straight win over Bates.

Three consecutive touchdowns in the second quarter on the part of the Panthers included 92-yard and 17-yard touchdown passes from quarterback Will Jernigan ’21, as well as a drive into the end zone for Drew Jacobs ’18. By halftime, the Panthers were up 28-13.

The third quarter kept the momentum going for awhile, as a matched score for each side put the teams up 35-20. Soon, however, Bates began capitalizing on Middlebury turnovers and driving down the field. Another Bobcat score in the late third quarter put them just a touchdown away from the Panthers, and the intensity increased. The next Bobcat possession also led to a touchdown, making the score 35-34 during the fourth quarter.

At the 2:20 mark, Bates had one last chance to take the lead. With less than a minute left, senior Clay Hunt picked off the Bobcat pass, allowing the Panthers to take home the victory, 35-34.

Jernigan led the offense in the game, completing 17 of 26 passes for 266 yards. On the defensive end, Hunt led the team with nine tackles and the game-sealing interception.

Next weekend, the Panthers will go on to face the Trinity Bantams, who are 5-1 on the season.