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Big plays cost football in 41-17 loss at Amherst

Sophomore Matt Golden came off the bench and completed his only pass attempt for 33 yards on Saturday, September 16, 2017 at Amherst.  (File photo by Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College) 

AMHERST, Mass. -- Amherst sophomore quarterback Ollie Eberth accounted for 235 total yards and four touchdowns to lead the Mammoths past the visiting Bates football team by a final score of 41-17 Saturday afternoon in the season opener for both squads. 

Junior Tyler Baum (Bernardsville, N.J.) and first-year Jaason Lopez (Marblehead, Mass.) both scored the first touchdowns of their careers during Saturday's game. Baum carried the ball four times for a team-high 44 yards and a score.  

Bates (0-1) only trailed 6-0 after the first quarter but the Mammoths (1-0) outscored the Bobcats 14-3 and 21-7 in the second and third quarters of action respectively. 

The Mammoths struck first thanks to a 49-yard touchdown pass. Eberth faked a handoff and fired deep to James O'Regan. A Bates defender fell down on the play in the secondary, leaving the sophomore receiver wide open for the score. The Mammoths missed the extra point, giving them a 6-0 lead with 5:24 remaining in the first quarter.

Junior punter Justin Foley (Lynnfield, Mass.) starred in the first quarter for Bates, twice pinning the Mammoths inside their own 10-yard line, including one 48-yard boot that made Amherst start the ensuing drive at the its own two. Foley, a 2016 second team All-NESCAC selection, finished the game with nine punts, averaging 38.8 yards per punt. 

The Bobcat offense stalled despite winning the field position battle for most of the quarter. 

In the second quarter, another big play set up Amherst for its second touchdown of the afternoon. Eberth ripped off runs of 13 and three yards to set up second and seven at the Bates 39. That's when Jack Hickey ripped off a run of 35 yards all the way to the Bobcat four. Hickey proceeded to punch the ball in and the extra point made the score 13-0 in favor of Amherst.

A pivotal play occurred late in the second quarter. The Mammoths faced third and eight at their own 43. Eberth's pass got tipped at the line of scrimmage but the ball somehow found the hands of Craig Carmilani, who gained 21 yards on the play to move the chains. Later in the drive, Amherst converted on a 4th and five when Eberth connected with Elijah Ngbokoli, moving the chains and moving the ball to the Bobcat 18-yard line. 

Facing second and 10 at the Bates 18, Eberth fired the ball over the middle and found Beau Santero for the touchdown. The extra point made the score 20-0 in favor of Amherst.

The Bobcats got on the board at the end of the first half. Baum set the Bobcats up with a big run from scrimmage out of his slotback position. He raced 42 yards to the Amherst 21, showing great mobility by cutting back to the middle of the field to create more room to run. After a pass to the end zone fell incomplete, senior Grant DeWald (Duxbury, Mass.) drilled a career-long 38-yard field goal as time expired. 

Bates trailed 20-3 halftime.

The Mammoths picked up where they left off to start the third quarter, once again pulling off a big play to extend their lead. Bates forced Amherst into a 3rd and 10 from its own 25, but Eberth hit Carmilani on a slant route. The shifty receiver split a pair of Bates defenders and turned on the afterburners, sprinting 75 yards to the house and extending the lead to 27-3 after the extra point.

Bobcat turnovers led to the Mammoths' fifth and sixth touchdowns of the day. 

Junior Sandy Plashkes (Del Mar, Calif.) got picked off by Andrew Sommer on a third down pass with 10:27 left in the third quarter of action.

A pair of Bates personal fouls set the Mammoths up with first and goal from the six. Eberth found Bo Berluti for a six-yard score. The extra point made the score 34-3 in favor of Amherst.

The Bobcats fumbled on the ensuing drive and the Mammoths went up 41-3 after Hasani Figueroa ran the ball 18 yards to the Bates seven and Andrew Dorogi took it in from there for the score.

Down 41-3, the Bobcats refused to back down. 

Late in the third quarter, Foley pinned the Mammoths at their own 10-yard line. On the first play from scrimmage, Elijah Ngbokoli received the handoff and junior Joe Frake (Windham, N.H.) forced a fumble. Junior Calvin Johnstone (Hopkinton, N.H.) pounced on the loose ball and Bates took over at the Amherst 15 with 2:39 left in the third.

Bates picked up a first down on third and one when junior Peter Boyer (Dover-Foxcroft, Maine) ran the ball to the Amherst three. On the next play, Plashkes executed a perfect fake to Boyer. Then he ran the ball to the right and made a last second pitch to Baum. Baum caught the pitch and ran it in for the score. DeWald's extra point made the score 41-10.

In the fourth quarter, the Bobcats scored again. With 9:17 left in the game, the Bobcats took over after a punt and a personal foul at their own 40. 

Sophomore quarterback Matt Golden (New Bedford, Mass.) came off the bench and ran the ball twice to get Bates to midfield.

Facing second and eight at the Amherst 48, Golden completed his only pass attempt of the day. He connected with senior Brian Daly (Marblehead, Mass.) on a go route for a 33-yard gain to the Mammoth 15. Junior Kyle Flaherty (Litchfield, Maine) followed with an 11-yard run to to the four and one play later Lopez punched it in for his first career touchdown in his first career game.

Neither team scored again as Amherst prevailed for the ninth straight time over Bates.

The Bobcats are back in action next Saturday when they host Trinity at 1:00 p.m. for "Back to Bates" weekend.