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Football Preview: Lord Jeffs come to Garcelon for season opener

Bates College Bobcats vs. Amherst College Lord Jeffs

Garcelon Field - Lewiston, Maine

September 22, 2007 - 1 p.m.

Live Audio Streaming
Bates College has partnered with Teamline to make live play-by-play of 2007 season home football games available to listeners from anywhere.

Veteran announcer Al Harvie '65 will be making the call from Garcelon Field for each home game.

There are two simple ways to listen in on the play-by-play:

  1. Free via the Internet. Simply follow this link or click on the Teamline logo above.
  2. Via any telephone for $5 per game. To access the game via any phone just dial (216) 502-3200. Enter team code 0424 when prompted. Long distance charges may apply, depending on your particular long distance plan or provider.

The Series

The Lord Jeffs come to Garcelon fielding an all-time record of 19-4-2 against the host Bobcats. Bates' last victory over Amherst came in the fall of 1999, when the Bobcats defeated the Lord Jeffs 19-7 in Lewiston.

Last Meeting

In 2006, the Bates College Bobcats traveled to Pratt Field for the season opener with high expectations, only to be met by an explosive and experienced Amherst team. The Lord Jeffs put up 21 unanswered points in the first quarter of play and went on to win the contest 31-6.

The Lord Jeffs used their experienced air attack, led by the All-NESCAC combination of senior quarterback Nick Kehoe and senior wideout Mark Hannon, to outgain the Bobcats in total offense 344-159. The game started quickly for the Amherst offense, for only five minutes into the contest Kehoe hooked-up with Hannon for a 39-yard scoring strike. Following a Bates three and out, Hannon took the ensuing punt 64 yards to the end zone for his second score in as many touches. Hannon would finish the day with 7 receptions for 94 yards and two scores. Amherst would add two more scores before half and take a 28-0 lead into the locker room.

Bates came out in the second half with hopes of a comeback, scoring on a 3-yard run by senior Jamie Walker. However, the Amherst defense would prove to be too much for the Bobcats, forcing 7 punts and 2 turnovers, and keeping the Bates passing attack under 100 yards (99). The Bobcat defense held tough in the second half, allowing only 3 points and keeping Amherst running backs to 84 yards and no touchdowns in the game.

Scouting Amherst

The Lord Jeffs are coming off their 10th straight winning season under head coach E.J. Mills, after going 5-3 in 2006. However, Amherst enters the season with a younger team, having graduated 14 seniors from the 2006 squad, including a handful of All-NESCAC selections. Among those graduates was Second-Team All-NESCAC quarterback Kehoe, leaving a large hole to fill behind under center. The leading candidate to takeover at the helm is sophomore Lucas Loeffler, who served as Kehoe's back-up in 2006. Amherst will also have to fill three slots on the offensive line due to the graduation of Ryan Smith, Matt Mascioli and Nate Riccardi.

Handling the rushing duties will be the running back tandem of junior Eric NeSmith and sophomore Aaron Rauh. NeSmith finished last season fifth in the NESCAC in rushing (58.0 ypg), while Rauh picked up a NESCAC Rookie of the Week award on his way to 48.8 yards per game. Amherst's defense, on the other hand, returns eight starters, including tri-captain Rob Grammer in the secondary, to a defense that ranked 11th in the nation in scoring defense at 11.3 points per game.

Scouting Bates

The Bobcats hope to build on the stingy run defense from last season, which ranked 11th in the country only allowing 67.1 yards per contest. Returning seven starters from last season Bates hopes to replicate the success against the run this season. However, they will have to do so without the likes of two-time All-NESCAC defensive end Terence Ryan. Perhaps their biggest challenge will be filling the shoes of reliable defensive tackle Chris Robinson, who was also lost to graduation. Bates looks to senior defensive end Anthony Begon, who over three years has amassed 10 sacks as well as 20 tackles for loss, to replace the edge rushing threat of Ryan. Filling the holes behind Begon at the inside linebacker positions will be the senior tandem of Graham Raymond and team captain Todd Wilcox; according to head coach Mark Harriman, “The linebacker group is as strong as we've had.” Senior Ron DiGravio will be joined by returning starter Coleman Peeke at the outside linebacker position. DiGravio led the Bobcats in tackles last season with 57, and was second on the team with 11.5 tackles for loss.

Bates looks to shore up a secondary that ranked last in the NESCAC in terms of yards allowed through the air (198.2) and touchdowns (13). Three-year starter Kevin Reyes leads a more experienced group of defensive backs into week 1. With 4 interceptions last season and 7 in his career, Reyes is joined by sophomore Bill Jennings and junior Corey Pattison at the cornerback position and is supported by sophomore Kyle McAllister at the safety position.

The Bates offense expects to pick up where it left off from last season. The last two games of the season, Bates averaged over 340 yards of offense, 230 of that coming through the air via the arm of senior quarterback Brandon Colon, who enters his fourth season as the starting signal-caller. In his second year as offensive coordinator, Matt Dence expects the Bobcats to keep things going in the right direction. Seven starters return on the offensive side of the ball, including all five offensive linemen. Senior Brian Machunski gets the duty of securing Colon’s blindside and is joined up front by seniors Ryan Wimberly and Raoul Scott, creating perhaps the most experienced position group on the team. Benefiting from the experience up front will be juniors Shawki White and Greg Thornton, who will be splitting the running back duties. A key loss for the Bobcats was All-NESCAC wide receiver Dylan MacNamara, but primed to fill his role will be a talented corps which includes sophomore standout Matt Gregg, senior Dave Philbrook and sophomore Tom Beaton, a converted quarterback.

Kickoff Weekend in the NESCAC

Tufts at Hamilton, 12 p.m.: The Continentals hope to avenge the shutout (17-0) they were dealt by the Jumbos in Week 1 of last season.

Williams at Bowdoin, 1 p.m.: 2006 NESCAC Offensive Player of the Year Pat Lucey will lead a very talented Ephs team into Brunswick with hopes of continuing their undefeated streak from last season.

Middlebury at Wesleyan, 1 p.m.: Middlebury ended Wesleyan’s five-game winning streak against the Panthers last season by means of a 23-yard field goal, stealing the game 10-7 in the closing minutes. The Cardinals look to avenge their close loss and start a new win streak against the Panthers.

Trinity at Colby, 1 p.m.: The Mules host perennial powerhouse Bantams for a rematch of what was a 27-10 victory for Trinity last season.