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Football Preview: Giant-killer Ephs strut into Lewiston

Williams College (2-0) at Bates College (0-2)
Parents & Family Weekend

Oct. 7, 2006, 1 p.m.

Garcelon Field, Lewiston, Maine

Williams has won 17 of 18 games between the Ephs and Bobcats. Bates’ lone win came in 2003 by a 10-7 score at Williams.

Bates nearly won its second straight Williams game at an exceedingly mucky Weston Field on Oct. 8, 2005. The Bobcats led 7-2 going into the fourth quarter before QB Pat Lucey connected with tight end Jim O’Leary on a 5-yard touchdown. Williams was outgained by Bates (206 total yards to 177) and had less first downs then the visitors (16 to 9). Starting at tailback due to injuries suffered the previous week by Jamie Walker and Greg Thornton, Eric Obeng gave the Bobcats a 7-0 lead in the second quarter, scoring on a 3-yard run. Obeng, normally a defensive lineman, punished Eph would-be tacklers for 110 yards on 35 carries on the day. It was the first victory of the season for Williams, which hasn’t lost a game since and rides an eight-game win streak into today’s game.

The 2005 Bates College football team finished 2-6 for the third consecutive season, yet showed flashes of accomplishing much more.

Three of the six losses told the story of a team with promise. At Williams College, the Bobcats led the Ephs (who finished 6-2) for nearly an entire game before succumbing by an 8-7 score. They led Bowdoin (who finished 6-2) 14-0 in the fourth quarter before losing by a touchdown, and succumbed to Colby (who finished 7-1) by seven points as well.

Can 2006 be the year the Bobcats break out of this rut? Several signs say yes.

The Bobcats’ hopes probably begin with their defense, where they return nine starters from 2005.

Bates ranked second in the NESCAC in quarterback sacks with 22, with First Team All-NESCAC end Terence Ryan collecting 10.5 of them, the highest total for any NESCAC player since New York Jets head coach Eric Mangini had the same number in 1993 for Wesleyan. Ryan, who also led the league in tackles for a loss with 12.5, figures to draw special interest from opposing offensive lines, yet the Bobcats can make them pay with high-quality pass rushers at other spots, including DE Anthony Begon, DT Eric Obeng, and ILB Todd Wilcox. The Bobcats hope to show their defensive backfield is much improved from last season, led by FS Adam Kayce, who tied for the NESCAC lead with 4 interceptions in 2005.

In addition to the ever-present issue of staying healthy, Bates’ offensive line may hold the keys to the team’s fortunes. The Bobcats return all but one of their starters from the offensive skill positions, but have only one offensive lineman coming back.

Junior quarterback Brandon Colon, the 2004 NESCAC Offensive Rookie of the Year, returns poised for a big season. Colon’s total passing yards took a slight dip in his sophomore year, from 1,388 to 1,165, but the strong-armed passer set a school record for lowest interception percentage, with only five giveaways in 226 attempts.

Colon’s primary target will be senior All-NESCAC wide receiver Dylan MacNamara, who ranked in the top four in the conference in receptions (5.5 per game) and receiving yards (63.9). RB Jamie Walker, who finished the season with two straight 100-yard games and was fourth in the NESCAC in rushing (77.7 ypg), has been very effective throughout his career when healthy. Sophomore Greg Thornton’s season ended with an injury in the second game, but the Bobcats should benefit from his explosiveness carrying the ball in 2006.


Three players from last year’s team were named All-NESCAC, including First Team selections Rich Aronson and Chris Decembrele. The prestigious New England Football Writers’ Division II-III All-New England Team also included Decembrele at defensive end. All-NESCAC Second Team pick and team captain Patrick Magoon was named to ESPN The Magazine’s Academic Team for the Northeast region. Wide receiver Brian Von Ancken set a new team record with three touchdown receptions against Bates last fall.

The Jumbos return strong nucleuses on both sides of the ball this fall. Team MVP Decembrele, linebacker Adam Arsenault, and defensive backs Bryan McDavitt and Brett Holm give the team All-Conference talent on defense. A new quarterback will work behind an experienced line with weapons that include speedy tailback Will Forde and a good receiving group including Von Ancken, Steve Menty and David Halas.

Williams established two big things Saturday: the end of the winning streak in the history of New England Division III football, and the rise of a new top dog in the NESCAC. The Ephs served Trinity its first loss in 32 games with a 41-16 pounding in Williamstown.

The Ephs spread the ball around to many targets in gaining 447 yards of offense on the day, compared with Trinity's 354. Junior quarterback Pat Lucey, who was named the NESCAC Offensive Player of the Week, put up an impressive line in the biggest game of his career, connecting on 19 of his 27 pass attempts (70 percent), for 3 touchdowns and no interceptions, and scrambled 6 times for 36 yards as the Ephs' second-best rusher. Williams rushed for 131 yards, led by Brian Morrissey’s 71 yards on 18 carries, and held the Bantams to 52 yards on the ground.

Bates lost 21-12 at Tufts despite achieving an edge on the Jumbos in total offense, 238 yards to 199, as well as a 16-14 edge in first downs. The Bobcats were their own worst enemies at times, having a would-be Jamie Walker touchdown called back by an illegal block penalty, and later having a false start penalty move them back from the Tufts 2 and settling for a Zach Demma field goal.

2006 Bates Schedule/Results
9/23     @ Amherst       L, 6-31

9/30     @ Tufts            L, 12-21

10/7     WILLIAMS*     1 p.m.

10/14   WESLEYAN   1 p.m.

10/21   @ Middlebury   1 p.m.

10/28   COLBY**           1 p.m.

11/4     @ Bowdoin      12:30 p.m.

11/11   HAMILTON   12 p.m.

* Parents & Family Weekend

** Homecoming Weekend


QB #15 Pat Lucey

TE #88 Jim O'Leary

OT #78 Henry Szalowski

OG #62 Mike Brown

C #66 Chris Kenney

OG #58 Jeff Callahan

OT #79 John Szawlowski

SE #80 Brendan Fulmer

FL #81 Jon Drenckhahn


DE #99 Matt Boggia

DT #83 Andrew DeSalvo

DT #77 Devin McLaughlin

DE #35 Adam Kowalski

LB #45 Jonathan Dolan

LB #57 Jordan O’Reilly

LB #44 Nick Fersen

DB #28 Jon Snipes

DB #24 Jonathan Poppe

DB #11 Luke Moran

DB #20 Elliot Moffie


K #80 Brendan Fulmer

P #80 Brendan Fulmer


QB #14 Brandon Colon

RB  #39 Jamie Walker

FB  #37 Adam Poplaski

TE  #82 Ross Van Horn

LT  #54 Ryan Wimberly

LG  #72 Matt Lopez

C  #58 John MacKenzie

RG  #67 Brian Machunski   

RT #64 Chris Ward

WR  #11 Dylan MacNamara

WR  #12 Dave Philbrook

DE  #90 Terence Ryan  

DT  #94 Eric Obeng     

DT  #95 Chris Robinson

DE  #43 Anthony Begon

ILB   #57 Todd Wilcox  

ILB  #51 Graham Raymond

OLB  #32 Ron DiGravio

ROV   #40 Coleman Peeke

CB  #1 Shawki White

FS  #2 Adam Kayce

CB  #9 Kevin Reyes


K #21 Zach Demma

LS #51 Graham Raymond

P #96 Chris Hertz


Pat Lucey (33-for-48/369 yds./3 TD)

Brian Morrissey (37 att./155 yds./2 TD)

Cory Catelli  (12 att./50 yds./2 TD)

Jon Drenckhahn  (15  rec./208 yds./1 TD)

Brendan Fulmer  (9  rec./166 yds./2 TD)

Jim O'Leary  (7  rec./90 yds./2 TD)

Scott Soblewski (2-2 FG/6-6 PAT)

Brendan Fulmer (0-1 FG/2-3 PAT)

Brendan Fulmer (7 punts/39.3 avg.)


Brandon Colon (27-for-60/278 yds./1 TD)


Jamie Walker (42 att./113 yds./1 TD)

Greg Thornton (10 att./48 yds./0 TD)


Dylan MacNamara (11 rec./62 yds./0 TD)

Matt Gregg (8 rec./111 yds./0 TD)

Ross Van Horn (4 rec./52 yds./0 TD)

Zach Demma (2-2 FG/0-2 PAT)

Chris Hertz (12 punts/30.9 avg.)

Bill Jennings (2 KR/22.5 avg.)

Trinity at Hamilton, 12:30 p.m.

Tufts at Bowdoin, 1 p.m.

Amherst at Middlebury, 1 p.m.

Wesleyan at Colby, 1 p.m.

Williams at Bates, 1 p.m.