Football Continues to Roll, Extends Win Streak to 14 Consecutive Games
Issue   |   Tue, 10/13/2015 - 23:20
Mark Box
Sophomore Reece Foy has handled starting quarterback duties well this year, amassing 730 total yards in just three games.

The Amherst College football team sealed another win on Pratt Field Saturday afternoon, improving to 3-0 on the season and extending its winning streak to 14 consecutive games. The Jeffs shut down NESCAC rival Middlebury in a 24-7 win that involved strong efforts all over the field.

Contributing to the big win over the Panthers was junior inside linebacker Evan Boynton, who was named the NESCAC Defensive Player of the Week on Sunday. Boynton amassed a career-high 12 tackles, contributed two of the team’s five sacks and picked off the Panthers’ quarterback in an all-around stellar performance.

Boynton helped the Amherst defense hold the NESCAC’s top passing offense to only 270 total yards. The purple and white offense collected 426 yards in the air and on the ground, building off an impressive offensive showing so far this season.
After an unsuccessful drive by the Panthers, Amherst received the ball off a punt at its own 23-yard line less than three minutes into the game. After nine more plays, two of which included a 33-yard pass from Reece Foy ’18 to Rob Thoma ’17 and a 35-yard pass by Foy to Nick Widen ’17, the Jeffs found themselves at the Middlebury 11-yard line. The home team brought in Charlie Wall ’18 to kick the 29-yard field goal and take the lead, 3-0.

The visitors were quick to respond. Middlebury quarterback Matt Milano, a 2014 NESCAC Co-Offensive Player of the Year, found a teammate in the end zone to give the Panthers a 7-3 lead.

The remainder of the first quarter and most of the second was back and forth between the two NESCAC powerhouses. While the Amherst offense was repeatedly forced to punt, the defense kept the Panthers at bay and forced them to do the same. Midway through the second quarter, the Jeffs had a drive that seemed as though it could give Amherst the lead. At third-and-25 at the Amherst 28-yard line, Foy threw to Devin Boehm ’17 for a beautiful 30 yards. The catch was one of six that contributed to Boehm’s strong offensive performance.

Although the drive fell short, Amherst was able to put numbers on the board on its next possession. Foy led the offensive effort with five consecutive completions to get the Jeffs to the Middlebury-31-yard line. With only 33 seconds left in the half, Kenny Adrinkra ’16 rushed for three yards into the end zone to give the purple and white the lead. The score was 10-7, Amherst, at the close of the first half.

With the opening of the second half it looked like Middlebury was going to take the lead. The Panthers had a few opportunities in the third quarter, but the Amherst defense wouldn’t let up. Late in the third, back-to-back sacks by Boynton and Parker Chapman ’17 caused a Middlebury three-and-out. The Panthers recovered the ball on an Amherst fumble, but were again shut down by Boynton and the home team’s defense.

After a scoreless third quarter, the Jeffs put numbers on the board early in the fourth. Jack Drew ’16 forced a Middlebury fumble after a 57-yard punt by Jackson McGonagle ’16. Jake Hines ’18 recovered the ball at the Middlebury 3-yard line.
First-year Jack Hickey rushed for one yard to get the Jeffs to the Middlebury 2-yard line on the first play of the drive. On fourth down, Foy found McGonagle in the back of the end zone to push the Amherst lead to 17-7.

The purple and white scored again on the next drive. Amherst forced a Middlebury punt and recovered the ball at the Amherst 38-yard line. Hickey rushed for a 30-yard touchdown to give the Jeffs a 17-point cushion with seven minutes to play.

Middlebury was unable to capitalize on its possessions, and the Amherst defense shut the Panthers down on two more possessions. Boynton and Chris Gow ’16 each picked off Milano on the two drives following the purple and white touchdown, and Amherst secured the win.

“Middlebury had a very strong offense and it took a full team effort on the defensive side to slow them down,” Boynton said. “The coaches were able to make adjustments that helped us and at the end of the day, everyone doing their job allowed us to be successful.”

In addition to the NESCAC Player of the Week’s impressive defensive effort, Jimmy Fairfield-Sonn ’16 caused two incomplete passes and amassed eight tackles, while Chapman added six tackles and a sack.

For the offense, Foy had a strong presence in the air and on the ground, going 22 of 39 for 246 yards and a touchdown and adding nine carries for 34 yards. Boehm had 72 yards on six catches, while running backs Adinkra and Hickey put up strong numbers and a touchdown each, collecting 62 yards and 53 yards, respectively.

Although the win was a big one for the Jeffs, they still have some tough competition lying ahead. Wesleyan comes to Pratt Field in two weeks for the Amherst homecoming game, and the Jeffs face Trinity and Williams in November.

The purple and white will return to play next Saturday, Oct. 17 when they travel to Colby. Last season, the Jeffs bested the Mules at Pratt Field, 35-10. The game is scheduled for 1 p.m.