Bart Harvey ’16
The Trinity College Bantams found themselves down 17-9 at halftime this past Saturday against the Amherst College Lord Jeffs with the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) title on the line, as well as an undefeated season. The Bantams were able to use a 20-point fourth quarter to clinch a share of the title and keep their undefeated hopes alive. In addition, Trinity, ranked No. 1 in New England, preserved its nation-best home winning streak by winning its 47th consecutive home regular season game, maintaining their undefeated record since the turf was put into Jessee/Miller Field, which was packed with alumni returning for the Homecoming football game on Saturday.
After struggling throughout the first half, Tim Costello ’13 brought the Bantams within striking distance, connecting on his second field goal, making it 17-12. The Lord Jeffs quickly responded with a field goal of their own with 5:08 left to play in the third quarter. Then on the opening drive of the fourth quarter, the Bantams were able to put together a 9-play, 71-yard drive ending in a one yard touchdown run by running back Evan Bunker ’14, his second of the day, to put Trinity within two points. Bunker was unable to punch it in for the 2-point conversion so the score remained 20-18.
On Amherst’s ensuing possession, senior co-captain safety Rae Haynes ’13 jumped the wide receiver’s route to intercept the ball and return it to the endzone, giving Trinity its first lead of the game, 26-20, following the 2-point conversion by running back Ben Crick ’14. Amherst was forced to punt on their next two possessions, allowing Trinity to add an insurance touchdown on a 26-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Ryan Burgess ’13 to running back Michael Budness ’15, making the final score of the game 32-20. Amherst put up the first points of the game with a 29-yard field goal with seven minutes remaining in the first quarter. Trinity answered with a field goal from Costello. The Bantams took the lead on a 3-play, 35-yard drive, following a fumble by Amherst quarterback Max Lippe that was picked up by defensive end Lyle Baker ’15. The Lord Jeffs then put together two consecutive touchdown-scoring drives; the first ending on a 5-yard touchdown rush by Lippe, the second on a 6-yard touchdown pass from Lippe to freshman wide receiver Brian Ragone.
Entering intermission, the visitors led 17-9. Bunker, who accumulated 215 yards rushing and two touchdowns, said after the game that, “We made too many mistakes in the first half and were looking to wear their defense down in the second.” Burgess, who finished 11-22 for 125 yards and one interception and a touchdown, also noticed the sluggishness in the first half stating, “It is a game of two halves, we don’t play a half, we don’t play a quarter, we play a full sixty minutes, to the very end.”
The Bantams sit atop the NESCAC with a one-game lead over Middlebury, who they beat 45-7. Coach Jeff Devanney has only had one undefeated season, back in 2004, and he says that, “For this team, all we want is 8-0.” The Bantams will look to achieve this remarkable feat next Saturday at Wesleyan.