Football Kicks Off 2015 Season with Decisive 37-14 Victory Over Bates
Issue   |   Wed, 09/30/2015 - 00:21

The Amherst College football team opened the 2015 season by defeating Bates College decisively on Saturday, Sept. 26 thanks to 28 unanswered points.

The purple and white displayed great offensive prowess: They amassed 556 yards (the most yards in a game since 2011) en route to a commanding 37-14 victory. The Jeffs have now won the last eight contests against the Bobcats, pushing their record over Bates to 24-4-2 since their first matchup in 1901.

The start of the game did not indicate that the game would go in favor of the Jeffs. Bates scored an 80-yard touchdown on its first play just 1:31 into the half. The purple and white were quick to respond, however, and tied the game up with 11:51 left in the first quarter. Amherst drove down the field for 73 yards on six plays, and notched six on the board when sophomore quarterback Reece Foy found receiver Nick Widen ’17 for an 11-yard pass. Kicker Charlie Wall ’18 secured the extra point to bring the score to 7-7.

Not long after, Amherst reclaimed the ball at its own 10-yard line. The Jeffs drove for another 90 yards in 3:43 to get into the end zone. Star running back Nick Kelly ’17 stepped up again, rounding out the effort with a five-yard rush to give Amherst the lead with 1:09 to play in the first quarter.

The visiting Jeffs didn’t let up in the next quarter. Just under two minutes into the second stanza, captain Jackson McGonagle ’16 scored on a 23-yard run into the end zone. The Jeffs used five plays in 1:41 to gain 47 yards. Bates was again unsuccessful with its possession and was forced to punt.

Foy led the team for its longest drive, consisting of 18 plays in 6:33, gaining 80 yards in the effort. He capped off the run with a quarterback sneak and a touchdown, increasing the Jeffs’ lead to 28-7 before the close of the half.

Neither team was able to put numbers on the board in the third quarter. Bates was forced to punt twice, and Amherst was unable to capitalize on a field goal opportunity with 3:38 left in the quarter.

Bates was finally able to flip the switch in the fourth quarter. The Bobcats had a successful run less than two minutes in, scoring for the first time since their first play of the game. The home team drove for 80 yards over 14 plays, finishing with a 3-yard push into the end zone to cut the deficit to 14 points. Shortly afterward, Bates had another opportunity when it forced an Amherst punt, but could not capitalize.

Wall kicked a 31-yard field goal, the first of his collegiate career, to increase the Jeffs’ lead to 31-14 with 6:21 left in the game. Bates had another chance to decrease the point difference, but Amherst regained possession when outside linebacker Parker Chapman ’17 forced a Bobcats fumble at the 50-yard line. First-year running back Jack Hickey ran the ball 33 yards down the left sideline to earn the purple and white another touchdown with only six seconds left on the clock. The game ended with a final score of 37-14 in favor of Amherst.

Foy led the offense in his first collegiate start, going 22 for 33 with 282 passing yards with one touchdown and one interception.

“We are happy with the way things went, but there’s always room for improvement,” Foy said. “The offense played unbelievably well, but we could have capitalized on other opportunities. I am excited to see how we develop over the course of the season.”

Other notable players in the offense include Kenny Adinkra ’16, who rushed for a career-high 104 yards and Devin Boehm ’17. Boehm notched 10 catches for 125 yards. On the defensive end of the field, captain Chris Gow ’16 and Evan Boynton ’17 each made seven tackles.

Amherst will face Bowdoin in its home opener at Pratt Field on Saturday, Oct. 3. Last season, the Jeffs defeated the Polar Bears in a decisive 30-7 victory.

“As coach always says, it doesn’t matter who we are facing,” Gow said. “Every game in the NESCAC is equally important. What does matter is that we play Amherst football this weekend.”

Kickoff on Pratt Field is scheduled for 1 p.m.

“The first win was great, but there’s another game to prepare for now. We are happy, but never satisfied,” Chapman said.