WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. -- The Bates football team lost in a nailbiter for the second week in a row on Saturday, falling 16-14 at Williams as the host Ephs defeated the Bobcats for the first time in five meetings.
Bates (0-3) next plays at Wesleyan Saturday at 1pm.
Williams quarterback Austin Lommen threw 47 times and completed 31 for 309 yards and a touchdown, to go with two interceptions. Williams outgained Bates in total offense 355 to 298. Mark Pomella had eight catches for 86 yards, as four Ephs collected at least five receptions and 59 yards apiece.
Bates rushed for a season-high 232 yards on 57 attempts, but passed for only 66 total. Bates senior quarterback Patrick Dugan (Westford, Mass.) completed just 1 of 14 passes for 33 yards, but rushed for a team-high 74 yards on 16 attempts. He was one of four Bates backs to rush for 44 yards or more, with sophomore Frank Williams (Brookline, Mass.) picked up 54 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries, junior Ivan Reese (Savannah, Ga.) ran for 50 yards and a TD on 14 carries, and sophomore Mickoy Nichol (Dennis Port, Mass.) gained 44 yards on eight carries.
For the second straight week, turnovers cost Bates dearly, as they fumbled six times and lost two. The game also included 16 penalties, including six unsportsmanlike conduct flags. Nine penalties were called on Bates, costing the Bobcats 90 yards.
Williams completed the game's first scoring drive with 4:01 left in the first quarter, going 75 yards on eight plays with Connor Harris scoring from two yards out. Bobby Webster's point-after kick failed, leaving the lead at 6-0.
Bates answered early in the second quarter with a 10-play, 67-yard drive capped by Ivan Reese's 1-yard trot up the middle, and Grant DeWald's extra point was good, giving Bates its first and only lead at 7-6 with 9:35 to go in the half. The drive was sustained by Dugan's 33-yard toss to Mark Riley on 3rd and 7, and Reese took care of the final 12 yards on four carries.
Williams responded by driving 82 yards to the doorstep of another touchdown, but on 3rd and goal at the 1, Bates junior Trevor Lyons forced a fumble in the backfield and senior Tucker Oniskey (Reading, Mass.) recovered. Bates' offense picked up two first downs before its drive stalled at its own 22.
Williams then regained the momentum, marching the ball back 61 yards in 10 plays in just 73 seconds of game time. Darrias Sime caught a 3-yard pass to the right for the go-ahead touchdown and a 13-7 lead 26 seconds before halftime.
No scoring occurred for either team in the third quarter; Bates' only two possessions in the period ended in a punt and a lost fumble, which prematurely ended a drive that featured a 33-yard option-pass completion from senior slotback Mike Decina (Hopkinton, Mass.) to Riley.
Williams started the fourth quarter with the ball on Bates' 19, thanks to a 25-yard completion from Lommen to Pomella for 25 yards on a 3rd and 7. The Ephs edged ahead to the 14 before taking a two-possession lead, at 16-7, on a 31-yard field goal by Webster.
After a Bobcat fumble early in the quarter, Bates' defense forced a three-and-out by the Ephs, and Lyons ran back a 50-yard punt by Webster 31 yards to set up the Bobcats at the Williams 34.
A rocky offensive series, featuring a 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty and two Bates fumbles that the Bobcats were able to recover, ended successfully, as Frank Williams ran it in from 2 yards out to close the gap to 16-14.
Bates' defense held again and forced a Williams punt, giving the Bobcat offense the ball at its own 17 with 3:26 left in the game. With the clock ticking away, Bates converted four first downs -- a 15-yard Nichol run, a 6-yard Williams run, an 8-yard Reese run and a 9-yard Dugan run on 3rd and 8 from the Williams 39. But a final unsportsmanlike conduct call moved Bates back 15 yards for a 4th and 25 at the Williams 45, and Dugan was sacked by Jack Ryan on the game's final meaningful play, with 16 seconds remaining.
Sophomore linebacker Max Breschi (Carlisle, Pa.) led Bates with 11 tackles, including two for a loss. Brandon Williams had two interceptions and nine tackles in a busy day for the junior cornerback. Making his first career start for Bates at free safety, first-year Joe Frake (Windham, N.H.) also had nine tackles, eight solo. Junior Mark Upton (Winthrop, Mass.) and junior Trevor Lyons (Hamilton, Mass.) both forced Williams fumbles while collecting eight and seven tackles, respectively.
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