Bart Harvey ’16
After posting a 7-1 record last fall, the Trinity College Bantams’ started the season strong with a 37-16 win over the Bates College Bobcats. Head Coach Jeff Devanney was able to extend the Bantams’ home winning streak to an impressive 44 games at Jessee-Miller Field this Saturday.
After finishing the 2011 season ranked 3rd in the New England Division III poll, Trinity came into the contest ranked 6th overall in the poll. Even though the defense took a hit by graduating a number of starters, the Bantams were confident about relying on the legs of Junior running backs Evan Bunker and Ben Crick.
On the opening drive, Bates found themselves on Trinity’s 24-yard line threatening to score. But the Bantams defense was able to turn them over on downs after an unsuccessful 4th-and-3 attempt. After exchanging punts, Bates was able to recover a Crick fumble on the 19-yard line and convert the turnover into a 23-yard field goal. Trinity quickly answered with a 70-yard drive ending in an 11-yard pass from quarterback Ryan Burgess ’13 to Michael Budness ’15 in the back of the end zone. Burgess struck again, finding wide receiver A.J. Jones ’15 for a 49-yard touchdown pass. Following a three-and-out including two sacks by the defense, Bunker scored his first touchdown of the season on a 19-yard run, extending the Bantam lead 21-3 with 9:55 left to play in the first half.
Bates was able to capitalize on another Bantam miscue, tackling punter Kyle Pulek ’16 on the Trinity 5-yard line. The Bobcats’ senior captain running back Patrick George pounded it into the end zone for a 1-yard touchdown run making it 21-10. The Bantams tried to extend their lead heading into half, but were stopped a yard short on a 4th-and-3 to maintain their lead of seven heading into the second half.
On the second drive after half time, Burgess threw an interception that was returned all the way to the Bantams’ 3-yard line. The Bobcats were able to punch it in from one yard away following a questionable 4th-and 9 roughing the passer call, but were unable to complete the 2-point conversion.
The Trinity defense was able to silence Bates’ offense following the prior drive, allowing only two yards the rest of the game. Trinity seized the opportunity to run away with the lead in the fourth quarter. Despite a failed PAT attempt following another touchdown run by Bunker, Tim Costello ’13 split the uprights from 25-yards out with 11:51 left to play in the game and the Bantams leading 30-16.
The Bantams offense was then able to put the game away with an 8-minute drive ending in a yard touchdown run by Budness for his second touchdown of the day over Bates. Trinity moves to 1-0 in the season with a 37-16 win over Bates.
The Bantams had many bright spots in it’s game versus Bates, but there was a concerning amount of miscues as the offense suffered two interceptions as well as a lost fumble. There were a couple of muffed punts by Crick and Bunker even though they retained possession and the team had a total of seven penalties. The Bantams will look to stay disciplined next week as they head to a tough Williams team. Luckily the team was able to overcome those mistakes by outgaining the Bobcats 427-120 with the offense converting 22 first downs compared to Bates’ 6. Tom Szymanski ’15 led the defense in tackles with 10 total and 2.5 for a loss. The pass defense was stifling as they held the aerial attack to only 17 net yards. Julian Brown ’13 played a large role in the secondary as he added 6 tackles, 2 tackles for a loss, 1 sack and 1 pass breakup and was a leader on the field as he played with noticeable passion on each down.
The team will hope to carry their momentum into next week when they play at New England Small College Conference powerhouse Williams College on Saturday, Sept. 29 at 1:30PM.