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It's all over! Football team beats Tufts for first time since '85













SOMERVILLE, Mass. -- After many a close game and close call over the years, the Bates football team, at long last, made the plays it had to in order to beat rival Tufts, for the first time since 1985, by a 21-20 score on Saturday at Ellis Oval/Zimman Field. The win snaps a 24-game streak of frustration against Jumbos, whom Bates first met in a football game 135 years ago, in 1875.

Senior Gavin Segall-Abrams (Greensboro, N.C.) capped off a monster fourth-quarter drive for Bates, in which the Bobcats moved 85 yards over 21 plays in nearly nine minutes of the game clock, with a 19-yard field goal for the winning three points with 3:14 left in the fourth quarter. Senior Jared Jammal (Concord, Mass.) rushed eight times in the drive for 29 big yards, out of his 11 carries in the game, including a crucial three-yard pickup for a first down on 4th-and-2.

Bates junior safety Cam Evans (Norwell, Mass.) picked off one of Tufts quarterback Anthony Fuccillo's 71 pass attempts on Tufts' ensuing possession. The Jumbos got the ball back one more time, starting at their own 11 with 1:19 left, but senior Myles Walker (Needham, Mass.) intercepted Fucillo at the Bates 38 with 12 seconds left on the clock, sealing the historic victory.

Bates junior quarterback Ryan Katon (Durham, Conn.) completed 17 of 33 passes for 211 yards and two touchdowns, both to junior split end John Squires (Swampscott, Mass.), who hauled in nine passes for 149 yards in a career-best day. Operating Bates' new triple option offense, Katon led the team in rushing as well, with 54 yards on 20 carries, as Bates gained 151 yards on the ground on 55 carries. The team's efficient running led to a domination in time of possession: Bates had the ball for 38:40, compared to 21:20 for Tufts, and the Bobcats had the advantage in that category in each quarter of the game.

The Bates defense held Tufts to just 20 rushing yards, but the Jumbos passed for 341 yards. Fucillo completed 35 of 71 pass attempts for 341 yards and two touchdowns, but he was intercepted four times. Greg Stewart totaled 13 receptions for 126 yards.

Tufts opened the third quarter with a 51-yard touchdown drive, capped by Fucillo's 24-yard scoring pass to Dylan Haas, for a 20-12 lead. But Bates answered with its longest drive of the season to that point, covering 71 yards on 15 plays. The drive threatened to stall out when Bates faced a 4th-and-6 at the Tufts 31. But Katon found Squires in the left corner of the end zone, and the 6-foot-7 wideout caught the ball before falling out of bounds for a 31-yard touchdown connection. A two-point conversion attempt failed, keeping Bates behind 20-18 with 7:02 left in the third.

Bates couldn't get much of anything going offensively in the first quarter, but the defense held Tufts scoreless as well. The Bobcats' fortunes changed when sophomore Kyle Starr (Concord, N.H.) intercepted Fucillo at the Tufts 42 and returned it 18 yards, setting up the offense at Tufts' 24. Katon hit Squires for 19 yards a 3rd-and-8, giving Bates a 1st-and-goal at the 3. Sophomore Patrick George (Gloucester, Mass.) punched it in to put Bates on the scoreboard first, at 6-0.

Tufts came back with a touchdown pass from Fucillo to Billy Mahler and an extra point by kicker Adam Auerbach. Auerbach later hit a 27-yard field goal to push the lead to 10-6. But Bates regained the lead with an eight-play, 68-yard touchdown drive, highlighted by two more Katon-Squires connections. After a holding penalty backed Bates into 3rd-and-27, the QB hit Squires for a 47-yard gain to the Tufts 11. Two plays later, Squires caught an 8-yard touchdown strike for a 12-10 lead with 2:27 left in the half.

Tufts was able to tack on three points and regain the lead before halftime, as Auerbach hit a 41-yard field goal with 37 seconds to go.

Junior linebacker Brett McAllister (Exeter, N.H.) led Bates with 10 tackles (8 solo), including a pair of sacks. Walker and junior Kevin Helm (Norwell, Mass.) had seven tackles apiece. First-year Andrew Kukesh (Exeter, N.H.) had his second interception of the season, in addition to pickoffs by Starr, Walker and Evans.

First-year Shawn Doherty (Mansfield, Mass.) caught four passes for 36 yards, and also carried the ball eight times for 24 yards.

Squires, who entered the game with 14 career receptions and two touchdowns, had six catches that resulted in first downs for Bates. Two of those were fourth-down conversions, and three others were third-and-long situations (3rd/27, 3rd/6, 3rd/9). Bates was 4-for-4 on fourth-down conversions in the game.

Next Saturday, Bates College will dedicate comprehensive renovations to historic Garcelon Field on Saturday, Oct. 9, as part of the football team's home opener vs. Williams College. The event, a centerpiece of Parents & Family Weekend activities at Bates, will include a brief ceremony prior to the 1 p.m. kickoff and a halftime program recognizing supporters of the $2.6 million donor-funded project. It will all be viewable by live video streaming at First Team Broadcasting's Bates website.

Stats and Play by Play: Bates 21, Tufts 20