The Trinity College football team played their final game of the season against rival Wesleyan University this Saturday, Nov. 14, on Jessee/Miller Field. The Bantams entered the game 6-1 after a tough and disappointing loss against Amherst College, while the Wesleyan Cardinals entered the game at 5-2. The homecoming game saw former and current students fill up the stands with excitement.
The Bantams scored on their second drive of the game after a short punt from the Cardinals allowed Sonny Puzzo ’18 to work with a short field, completing a long pass to Bryan Vieira ’18 down the sideline to put the Bantams in the red zone. Max Chipouras ’19 ran into the end zone from seven yards away for the opening score. This put the Bantams up 7-0 and gave them momentum to continue to dominate the Cardinals on both offense and defense.
Trinity’s defense completely shut down the Cardinal offense in the early going, led by Preston Kelly ’16, who let the team with nine tackles and three tackles for loss. Wesleyan finally got into scoring position in the second quarter, but Trinity’s Patrick Dorsey’17 intercepted an arrant pass on 21-yard line. The interception led to a second score for the Bantams, this time a 24-yard field goal from Kyle Pulek’16 with less than five minutes to go in the first half. Pulek attempted another field goal with just under a minute to go in the half, but it was blocked by Wesleyan’s Jordan Stone. This kept the score at 10-0 heading into halftime.
In the third quarter, the Cardinals were finally able to score when running back LaDarius Drew ran for a 3-yard touchdown. This made the score 10-7, but it wasn’t this close for too long. The score was no indication of how close the game was, with Trinity dominating most of the afternoon. Running back Nicholas Gaynor ’17 led the Bantams with 88 rushing yards on 15 carries, while John Spears ’18 played very well with two receptions for 19 yards in place of starter Darrien Myers ’17. Defensively, Kelly led the way and ten other Bantams recorded at least three tackles. Corey Jean-Jacques ’19, Shane Libby ’19, and John Murtagh ’16 all recorded sacks, and Liam Kenneally added six tackles, ending the season as the Bantams leading tackler with 61.
Trinity scored another touchdown in the beginning of the fourth quarter after Chipouras dove for the pylon from two yards out, his 12th touchdown of the season, the most in the NESCAC. The run essentially secured the victory but the Bantams got a little sloppy toward the end of the game, fumbling inside their own ten-yard line. The defense, however, put together a phenomenal goal line stand to stop the Cardinals from scoring. On the ensuing play from the one-yard line, though, Puzzo fumbled giving the ball right back to Wesleyan. Moments later, Wesleyan scored a touchdown on a quarterback run from one yard away. Yosa Nosamiefan ’17 was able to block the extra-point attempt, though, making the score 17-13. The subsequent onside kick was recovered by Bantam Paul McCarthy’16, allowing Trinity to run out the clock.
The Bantams finished the season 7-1, second in the NESCAC behind only Amherst. It was the final game in the careers of captains Ian Dugger, Frank Leyva, Matthew Porter, Kyle Pulek, and fellow seniors Henry Foye, John Murtagh, Paul McCarthy, Mike Castellana, Lyle Baker, Franco Serrao, Brendan Dowling, and Preston Kelly. The seniors finish their career with a NESCAC Championship and a career record of 26-6.
Despite not finishing the season with an 8-0 record as they had set out to do, the football team had a very successful season. The team returns nine offensive and eight defensive starters in 2016, and looks to get back on top of the NESCAC.