Football Brings Home the Old Rocking Chair


The Middlebury football team made a comeback, defeating the Hamilton Continentals on Nov. 3.

The Panther football team took home a big win against the Hamilton Continentals this weekend, pulling off a 35-17 victory in the Old Rocking Chair Classic. Not only did the Panthers improve their Old Rocking Chair Classic record, beating the Continentals 31 out of their 39 meetings all-time, but they also improved their season record to 5-3, heading into the last game of the season.

Along with the win, the Panthers brought home the rocking chair — a tradition created in 1980 by John Kirk ’39 and Mac Bristol, a 1943 Hamilton graduate, to intensify the competition between the two NESCAC schools. Every year, the Hamilton and Middlebury football teams compete for the rocking chair, given to the athletic department until the next season’s bout.

 The road to the rocking chair began in the first quarter of the game, as the Panthers successfully took control within the first five minutes. Sophomore quarterback Will Jernigan found Conrado Banky ’19 for a 49-yard touchdown and first score of the game. On the ensuing Hamilton drive, Middlebury recovered a fumble that led to a touchdown connection between Jernigan and junior Frank Cosolito.

Though Hamilton shot back in the second quarter with a six-yard rushing touchdown to put the Continentals on the board, Jernigan and Cosolito connected on another pass in the last five minutes of the half, to put the Panthers up 21-7 with 3:56 on the clock.

The half was far from over. Hamilton was able to punch in another touchdown with 1:30 before halftime, and a turnover on the part of the Middlebury offense offered an opportunity for Hamilton to decrease the deficit. The Continentals were able to score a 30-yard field goal right before the half, closing the Middlebury lead to 21-17.

Middlebury running back Peter Scibilia ’21 added two more touchdowns to the scoreboard, making the final score 35-17.

The Panthers were able to capitalize on plays to secure their victory on Saturday. They edged out the Continentals in total offensive yards 379 to 351, and time of possession 30:34 to 29:26. Additionally, the Panthers only had two turnovers to Hamilton’s three, which all aided Middlebury in its fight for the win.

Next week, Middlebury will take on the Tufts Jumbos on their own turf. Last year, the Panthers concluded their 7-2 season with an on-the-road victory against Tufts. This season, Middlebury will look to do the same in front of the home crowd, for its last game of the 2018 season.