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Football Preview: Cats look to start new streak vs. Continentals

If John Squires continues to draw double coverage, other Bates receivers may find open space to be thrown to, as on this Ryan Katon to Evan Tierney connection in the Colby game. (Photo by Lincoln Benedict '09)

Game Notes

Hamilton College Continentals (1-6) at Bates College Bobcats (1-6)

November 13, 2010 at 12 p.m.

Garcelon Field, Lewiston, Maine

Live Video Webcast (Free)

Live Stats

The Series

The Continentals lead the all-time series 17-15. The Bobcats who have won six of the past eight meetings between the two schools, including a streak of five in a row from 2004 through 2008. Bates also brings a four-game home winning streak against Hamilton into today’s contest.

Last Meeting

Bates took a 14-10 halftime lead and maintained its advantage deep into the second half, but Hamilton touchdowns with 4:36 and 1:46 left to play in the fourth quarter lifted the Continentals to a 24-14 victory in Clinton, N.Y., last year. Bates took the early lead, as linebacker Kevin Helm '12 intercepted a pass by Dan Peters and returned it 32 yards to set up a 1-yard touchdown run by Patrick George '13. Hamilton tied the score and then pulled ahead 10-7 with a 67-yard touchdown pass from Peters and a field goal by George Taylor. With 5:40 left in the first half, Bates defensive end Tyler Kuehl '12 picked up a Peters fumble and rumbled 59 yards for the second Bobcat touchdown.

Bates limited Hamilton to just 11 first downs and 33 rushing yards on 29 attempts. Helm led the way with 11 tackles, followed by Myles Walker '11, who had nine, and Cam Evans '12 added two interceptions.

Last Weekend for Bates

In a wild, back-and-forth game, the Bobcats had a chance to take the lead with 51 seconds left to play in the fourth quarter, but a 27-yard field goal attempt caromed off the left upright and Bowdoin escaped with a 21-20 victory last Saturday in Brunswick. Bates struck first, as sophomore quarterback Trevor Smith capped a 10-play, 69-yard drive by finding junior receiver John Squires for a 25-yard touchdown. On the ensuing Bobcat possession, Smith and the offense went back to work, driving 52 yards in five plays to set up senior Jared Jammal for a 1-yard scoring plunge. Bowdoin managed two first-half touchdowns of their own, and one in the third-quarter, but had all three point-after attempts blocked by Bates -- in order, by senior Ted Durkin, junior Pat Quinn and senior Devin Horvath. After a Polar Bear field goal with 1:27 remaining in the third, the Bobcats took over facing a 21-14 deficit. Two possessions later, when a high snap on fourth down sailed over the head of punter Grant White, the Bobcats were set up deep in Bowdoin territory. Junior Ryan Katon wasted no time, finding Squires for a quick 11-yard touchdown strike on the very next play. Bates failed to convert the PAT, and Bowdoin maintained their lead at 21-20.

The Bobcats outgained the Polar Bears 312-288 in total offense. Jammal, Katon and first-year Ryan Curit all gained over 45 yards each on the ground. Squires finished with four catches for 58 yards to go along with his two touchdowns, and senior Evan Tierney chipped in with a big 31-yard reception. Walker recorded seven solo tackles, including two for a loss. Helm was credited with five tackles, including Bates' lone sack and two tackles for a loss. First-year Andrew Kukesh had two fourth-quarter interceptions.

Last Weekend for Hamilton

Trailing 27-14 entering the fourth-quarter, Hamilton put up a fight, finding the end zone twice, but ultimately the Continentals fell to visiting Middlebury 30-26. First-year running back James Stanell finished the game with an impressive 22 carries for 151 yards and two rushing touchdowns, and also caught three passes for 32 yards, including a 22-yard score. Quarterback Jordan Eck completed 21 of 30 passes for 224 yards and two touchdowns, but did throw an interception and was sacked four times. Middlebury quarterback Donald McKillop was too much for the Hamilton defense to handle as he amassed 359 yards and two touchdowns through the air on 30-of-46 passing.

Scouting the Bobcats

In its quest to send the seniors out with the first victory on the newly renovated Garcelon Field, the Bates offense will be matched up against a Hamilton defense ranked next to last in the conference, giving up an average of 30 points per game. The Bobcats sit second in the conference in rushing attempts on the season, averaging almost 45 per game, so it will be no surprise if Bates continues to rely on the run. In the passing game, Squires, who is tied for third among NESCAC receivers with five touchdown catches and trails only two other receivers in the conference with his 16 yards per catch average, should continue to be the primary target.

On defense, Bates will continue to depend upon their three leading tacklers: Helm and senior captains Walker and Durkin. It has been another strong season for Walker, who enters the final game leading the entire conference with 73 tackles, while Helm is eighth with 60.

Scouting the Continentals

Hamilton averages 15.6 points per game. Stanell has been one of the Continentals’ bright spots on offense, at 5.9 yards per carry, 62.7 yards on the ground per game, and with five of Hamilton’s 15 touchdowns. The Continentals have had three starting quarterbacks this season, with Steve Mello and Lance Wilson sharing snaps with Eck. All three have over 50 passing attempts, but Eck has been the most effective, starting four games and completing 65 of 110 passes for 727 yards and four touchdowns to go with four interceptions. Linebacker Mike MacDonald leads the defense with 64 tackles. Hamilton is ranked fifth in the NESCAC in total defense, allowing 355.0 yards per game, but the Continentals have allowed 26 touchdowns, the third highest total in the conference.