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Football preview: NESCAC champion Trinity visits for Back to Bates Weekend

Senior defensive end Jack Maritz (89) and the Bobcats will try to slow down Trinity's running game, led by Max Chipouras (carrying ball). (File photo by Brian Foley for Bates College) 

LEWISTON, Maine -- The Bates football team contends with perhaps the stiffest competition it will see all season this Saturday for Back to Bates Weekend, as defending NESCAC champion Trinity carries its 10-game winning streak to Garcelon Field for Bates' home opener.


THE PARTICULARS:

What: Trinity (1-0) at Bates (0-1)

When: Saturday, Sept. 23, 1:00 p.m.

Where: Garcelon Field (Lewiston, Maine)

Live Coverage: Video (NSN) | Stats

All-Time Series: Trinity leads 35-7

Previous Meeting: Trinity 38, Bates 7 (Sept. 24, 2016 in Hartford, Conn.)


TRINITY LAST WEEK:

Junior running back Max Chipouras rushed for 131 yards and two touchdowns to lead Trinity to a 35-0 victory over visiting Colby on Saturday at Jessee/Miller Field in Hartford.

Trinity kept several streaks intact with its 10th win in a row, extending its winning streak against Colby to 11 games, its winning streak in season openers to 23 games, and its streak of victories in season openers at home to 19 games in a row.

Trinity outgained Colby, 478 to 200, and the Bantam defense held the Mules to a single third-down conversion in 15 tries. Puzzo finished 15-for-21 for 224 yards through the air, while Colby senior Christian Sparacio and sophomore Jack O'Brien combined to go 16-for-29 for 119 yards passing. Chipouras averaged 8.7 yards per carry to reach 131 on just 15 rushes, while Colin Beaulieu added 51 rushing yards on six carries, and junior Jake Schwern paced Colby on the ground with 72 yards on 16 carries and catching the ball with five grabs for 38 yards. Schofer led all receivers with 112 yards on seven catches, while Hirshman added five catches for 58 yards.

BATES LAST WEEK:

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 and first-year Jaason Lopez 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.

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 12 when Eberth connected with Elijah Ngbokoli, moving the chains and moving the ball to the Bobcat 26-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 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 drilled a career-long 38-yard field goal as time expired. Bates trailed 20-3 halftime.

Later down by as much as 41-3, the Bobcats refused to back down.

Late in the third quarter, Justin Foley pinned the Mammoths at their own 10-yard line. On the first play from scrimmage, Elijah Ngbokoli received the handoff and fumbled the football after Joe Frake jarred it loose. Junior Calvin Johnstone 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 ran the ball to the Amherst three. On the next play, Sandy 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. Facing second and eight at the Amherst 48, sophomore Matt Golden completed his only pass attempt of the day to senior Brian Daly on a go route for a 33-yard gain to the Mammoth 15. Kyle Flaherty 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.

BATES AND TRINITY'S LAST MEETING:

On Sept. 24, 2016, Bates College started strong, scoring on their opening drive, but could not get much going on offense after that in a 38-7 loss to Trinity in both teams' 2016 season openers in Hartford.

The Bobcats (0-1) pounced on the Bantams (1-0) on their opening drive of the game. After Mickoy Nichol returned the opening kickoff 15 yards to the Bates 25-yard line, Frank Williams ran for three yards on the first play from scrimmage. But the Bobcats committed a personal foul on the play, moving them back to their own 14-yard line. On 2nd and 21, Plashkes completed the first pass of his career, a six-yarder to Williams, setting up 3rd and 15 from their own 20.

Boyer ran for two yards on third down, but a Trinity unsportsmanlike conduct penalty gave Bates an automatic first down at the Bobcat 38-yard line.

That's when Plashkes pulled off the biggest play of the afternoon for the Bobcats, running the ball 57 yards, all the way down to the Trinity 5-yard line. After Williams rushed for two yards to get the ball to the Trinity 3, Plashkes finished the drive by taking it himself for the rushing touchdown, putting the Bobcats up 7-0 after DeWald made the extra point.

The Bantams cut the Bates lead to 7-3 with 6:32 to go in the first quarter with a 36-yard field goal.

Foley pinned the Bantams at their own 3-yard line with a punt that went out of bounds with 10:38 remaining in the first half. Unfortunately for the Bobcats, on the first play from scrimmage Max Chipouras rushed for 41 yards, getting the Bantams out of trouble in a big way. Lucas Golon followed with an 11-yard rush to get the Bantams to the Bates 45-yard line. One play later, Puzzo completed a pass to Nick Gaynor for 23 yards to the Bates 22. On 3rd and 8 from the Bates 20, Puzzo gave Trinity the lead for good with a 20-yard touchdown pass to Darrien Myers. The extra point gave Trinity a 10-7 lead over Bates with 8:41 remaining in the first half.

Puzzo completed 17-of-26 passes for 182 yards and three touchdowns while Plashkes completed 4-of-9 passes for 36 yards. Boyer led the Bobcats in rushing with 62 yards on the ground on 20 carries. Plashkes finished with a rushing touchdown and 54 yards on the ground. Williams chipped in 40 yards on 10 carries.

Chipouras carried 18 times for a game-high 144 rushing yards and Golon finished with 15 carries for 127 yards and two touchdowns.

Myers caught seven passes for 87 yards and three scores for Trinity. Bates' Daly caught one pass for 16 yards.

Foley punted 14 times on the afternoon, averaging 38.6 yards per punt. Myers returned six of those punts for an average of 20.8 yards.

Mark Upton tallied 12 tackles (10 solo) and Frake totaled 11 tackles to lead the Bobcats on defense. Liam Kenneally led the Bantams with 11 tackles of his own.