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Weekend Preview: Football team opens season at Amherst

Ryan Katon '12 will start at quarterback in Bates' 2010 season opener at Amherst on Saturday.

The early fall season heats up for many Bates varsity teams this weekend, while the football team debuts with a game at Amherst on Saturday.

The Bobcat football team begins every year against a traditional NESCAC conference power, either Trinity or Amherst. So it's nothing new for Bates to open the 2010 season against the defending conference champions with a game at Amherst's Pratt Field. Kickoff is at 1 p.m.

The Lord Jeffs are coming off of a perfect 8-0 season in which they led Division III in rushing defense and sacks per game (4.75), although only five defensive starters are returning. Quarterback Alex Vetras passed for 14 touchdowns and 1,613 yards in 2009. For Bates, the competition for the starting quarterback position between junior Ryan Katon (Middletown, Conn.) and sophomore Trevor Smith (Malvern, Pa.) has been temporarily tabled due to Smith's preseason injury. Katon will lead a new-look, young offense with only one senior starter, slot back Evan Tierney (Carlisle, Mass.). Five linebackers are the centerpiece of Bates' starting defense, including senior captains Ted Durkin (Rye Beach, N.H.) and Myles Walker (Needham, Mass.).

Keep track of the game via Live Stats and Live Video. Read Amherst's game preview here, and the Bates season preview is viewable at http://olle-test.bates.edu/x221970.xml.

Bates volleyball takes Manhattan this weekend, with four matches at the NYU Women's Volleyball Tournament. The Bobcats face CCNY Friday at 6 p.m., then NYU at 8 p.m. On Saturday at 10 a.m. they'll take on Hunter College, followed at 12 p.m. with a match against Centenary. The Bobcats' match against the host Violets, scheduled for Friday at 8 p.m., can be followed via webcast and Live Stats at http://gonyuathletics.com.

Bates' field hockey and men's and women's soccer teams all play at NESCAC rival Trinity on Saturday, seeking conference wins to take home. Field hockey and women's soccer both start at 11 a.m., and men's soccer takes on the Bantams at noon.

The men's and women's cross country teams head to Boston's Franklin Park for the Codfish Bowl, an annual meet featuring a plethora of teams in the region. Following their defeat of Bowdoin, Tufts and Colby last weekend in a "Super XC" meet at Pineland Farms, the Bates men have earned a No. 6 ranking among New England Division III teams, and for the first time since 2005 the Bobcats have received votes in the national rankings.

The men's tennis team heads to Williams College this weekend for the USTA/ITA New England Division III Men's Tennis Championships. Keep up with the latest results at http://williams.prestosports.com/landing/index.

Bates' women's golf team plays host to Bowdoin and UMaine-Farmington in the Bates Invitational, starting at 11 a.m. on Saturday at Martindale Country Club in Auburn. The men's golf squad plays on Sunday at the Colby Invitational.