The two biggest plays of Homecoming Saturday's 31-6 football victory over Colby both hinged the same one major factor: the speed and athleticism of junior slotback Shawn Doherty (Mansfield, Mass.).
With less than six minutes left in the third quarter, Bates led 10-0, and the Bobcat offense had yet to reach the end zone. Quarterback Trevor Smith (Malvern, Pa.) ran for 14 yards on a quarterback keeper into Colby territory. On the next play, Smith faked another run before pitching out to Doherty on his right. Doherty ran through about 10 yards of broken field before finding an open lane up the sideline into the end zone. Earlier in the play, a couple of Mule defensive backs appeared as though they have had the angle on forcing Doherty out of bounds, but his speed soon rendered their efforts moot.
Less than seven minutes later, in the early stages of the fourth quarter, Bates used four different backs, including two carries by Doherty, to run the ball nine straight times, moving the ball from their own 3-yard line to the 50. On the 10th play of the drive, Smith threw a swing pass to Doherty in the right flat, where Doherty deftly gathered the ball and quickly changed direction to cut through two tacklers, aided by an outside block from junior wide receiver Kevin Davis (North Andover, Mass.). Once again, in the open field, no one could catch Doherty — he got away from a lunging Daniel Maddox at the 15 and galloped in the rest of the way, a total of 50 yards. It was his second touchdown of the game and his fifth in the past three weeks. With a 24-0 lead and only 12:50 left in the game, victory was sealed.
The win established Bates' best start after six games, at 3-3, since the Bobcats were 4-2 in 1982. They'll take aim at their first outright CBB title this Saturday at Bowdoin (1-5).