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Football team scores 31-21 Homecoming win over Colby

Bates linemen Alex Gentilli (74) and Chris Hertz (73) converge on tight end Sean Wirth (with ball) after Wirth's 2-yard touchdown catch got the Bobcats off to a 7-0 lead in their 31-21 victory over Colby on Saturday.

McAllister

Walker

Liu

Peeke

Katon

Tierney

Durkin

Wirth

LEWISTON, Maine -- The Bates College football team made Homecoming Weekend one to savor on Saturday at Garcelon Field, defeating rival Colby College 31-21 for the first time since 2002 while taking advantage of a whopping 10 turnovers.



Colby turned the ball over on its first seven possessions of the game, and the Bobcats turned them into four touchdowns for a 28-0 lead before the halfway point of the second quarter


Bates (1-5) first-year quarterback Ryan Katon (Durham, Conn.)completed 13 of 23 passes for 139 yards and three touchdowns, one each to junior TE Sean Wirth (Barrington, R.I.), sophomore WR Evan Tierney (Carlisle, Mass.) and junior WR Matt Gregg (Milton, Mass.).

Colby (3-3) held Bates to 185 yards of total offense and 10 first downs despite the Bobcats' big advantage in time of possession, 36:20 to 23:40. The Bates defense held Colby to just eight first downs and 229 yards of total offense.

Dan Prunier rushed for 104 yards and 2 touchdowns on 25 carries for the Mules, but he committed four of Colby's seven fumbles in the game, losing three of them. Starting quarterback Patrick Burns threw three interceptions, all in the first half, and was relieved by Stephen Carroll, who completed 8 of 25 passes for 91 yards with 1 TD and 1 interception.

Colby turned the ball over on its first seven possessions, and Bates turned them into four touchdowns, giving the Bobcats a 28-0 lead with 8:19 left in the second quarter.

The Bates defense's tour de force performance started when junior DE Rich McNeil (Lawrence, Mass.) batted a Burns pass into the arms of fellow defensive lineman Mark Liu (Lexington, Mass.), giving Bates the ball at the Colby 9. Three plays later Katon found Wirth in the corner of the end zone for a 2-yard touchdown connection.

Bates got the ball back as sophomore LB Ted Durkin (Rye Beach, N.H.) recovered a Prunier fumble at the Bates 30 at the end of the first quarter, and Katon threw a 35-yard bomb into the end zone to Tierney, who made a spectacular leaping catch over his defender for his first career touchdown reception.

First-year CB Cam Evans (Norwell, Mass.) then picked off a Burns pass at the Colby 22 to set up a third Bates score, a 20-yard connection from Katon to Gregg.

With the Bobcats ahead 21-0, junior FS Kyle McAllister (Exeter, N.H.) swiped the ball out of Prunier's hands and sprinted 41 yards into the end zone, putting the Bobcats ahead 28-0 and sending the Homecoming crowd of approximately 2,700 into pandemonium.

Colby got on the scoreboard on the final play of the first half, a 1-yard plunge by Prunier that came two plays after Carroll found Connor Walsh for a 38-yard reception that took the Mules to the Bates 2 with under 15 seconds left.

The Mules cut the lead to 28-21 in the third quarter. They completed an 8-play, 44-yard drive capped by an 11-yard Carroll toss to Kenneth Prior. Katon was sacked by Sam Handler and fumbled on Bates' next play from scrimmage, and Alex Tisch fell on the ball at the Bates 10. Prunier ran the ball into the end zone on the next play, cutting the lead to 28-21 with 6:30 left in the third.

The Bates defense collected itself to force two consecutive Colby punts, followed by two more Colby fumbles. Sophomore LB Myles Walker (Needham, Mass.) forced a Prunier fumble and recovered it himself to give Bates the ball at midfield. Bates then took a big step toward sealing victory. After Thornton was tackled for a 12-yard loss by Handler with about five minutes remaining in the fourth quarter and Bates leading by a touchdown, the Bobcat offense was saddled with a fourth down and 20 at the Colby 31. Bates decided to go for the first down, and pulled it off in spectacular fashion, when Katon began to roll right before turning around and lofting a pass toward the left sideline, where junior TE Matt Sherburne (Windham, Maine) made a leaping, over-the-shoulder catch, barely in bounds and right at the first-down marker. The chains were brought in and Bates had its amazing first down. The play set up a 27-yard field goal by sophomore P/K Gavin Segall-Abrams (Greensboro, N.C.), the first of his career, to make it 31-21 with 3:41 left.

Lamont Henry led the Colby defense with 10 tackles, while Alex Halls had 9.

The defensive stars for Bates were many. Durkin and senior LB Coleman Peeke (Exeter, N.H.) had 10 tackles apiece to lead the Bobcats, with Durkin delivering a pair of bone-rattling pass breakups and Peeke snagging a key interception to help seal victory in the fourth quarter. McAllister and Walker each forced a pair of fumbles. McAllister perhaps shined the brightest with his 7 tackles, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, one interception and the 41-yard touchdown return. Liu had four tackles, one sack, one forced fumble and one interception. McNeil batted away two passes and recovered a fumble.

Complete Statistics: Bates 31, Colby 21

Bates tight end Matt Sherburne exults after his spectacular 20-yard reception on 4th down and 20 late in the fourth quarter.