Three-Peat! Football Repeats as NESCAC Champions in Undefeated Season
Issue   |   Wed, 11/18/2015 - 00:21
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The football team defeated archrivals Williams, 17-10, to claim its third consectuvie NESCAC title and extend its unbeaten streak to a record 19 games.

After a decisive victory over rival Williams on Saturday, the Amherst College football team claimed the 2015 NESCAC championship and topped off an undefeated 8-0 run.

With the win, Amherst capped off back-to-back undefeated seasons, extended its consecutive win streak to a record 19 games, and secured the Little Three Championship. The senior class finished its run as one of the winningest classes in Amherst program history finishing with a 29-3 record, and going 4-0 against Williams in “The Biggest Little Game in America” match up over its four years.

The purple and white entered Saturday’s contest with everything to prove, while the Ephs, 2-5 before the game, had nothing to lose.

Strong efforts in both the offensive and the defensive ends of the field by the visitors helped to secure the win. Amherst collected a total 363 offensive yards, 143 in the air and 220 on the ground, and held advantages over the Ephs in first downs and possession time. On the defensive end, the visitors held the home team to just 86 yards rushing and picked off the Williams quarterback twice.

The game started slowly, and neither team was able to get much going in the first 15 minutes of play. Amherst managed to get on the board about seven minutes into the second quarter. Over seven plays, the purple and white drove 53 yards to the endzone.

In the scoring play, quarterback Reece Foy ’18 threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to a wide-open Jackson McGonagle ’16.

Sophomore Charlie Wall’s extra point attempt was completed, and Amherst took the lead, 7-0.

On third down at the Amherst-11, with less than 20 seconds to play in the half, Williams had the opportunity to tie things up. That hope was crushed when Tom Kleyn ’16 intercepted the ball at the Amherst seven-yard line. Kleyn returned for nine yards and secured the purple and white’s advantage as they headed into the second half of competition.

Amherst received the Williams kickoff at its own 35-yard line to start the third quarter. After a completed pass to McGonagle for 33 yards, a pass to Devin Boehm ’17 for eight yards and a handful of successful rushes by Kenny Adinkra ’16, Amherst found itself at the Williams 1-yard line. The purple and white eventually settled for a field goal, and Amherst extended its lead by three.

Williams was forced to punt on its next two possessions, and the defending NESCAC Champions turned it back on with 6:47 to play in the quarter. Five minutes later on third-and-goal, Adinkra found the endzone. The running back rushed for three yards to bring the Amherst lead to 17-0.

The purple and white again forced a Williams three-and-out. Boehm collected the ball at the Amherst-35 before the end of the third quarter. Amherst used the first three minutes of the fourth quarter over nine plays, but was forced to punt.

On the ensuing Williams drive, the Ephs managed to get on the board. Ten plays and 98 yards later, the home team found the endzone. The deficit was cut to ten points with just under nine minutes to play.

Both Amherst and Williams each had opportunities to score, but were unable to capitalize. The purple and white found itself at fourtth and goal before being stumped. The Ephs made it deep into Amherst territory, but Jaymie Spears ’16 intercepted a pass in the endzone with just six seconds to play.

The Amherst victory involved energy from all over the field. Foy went 11 for 20, including a touchdown, while Adinkra notched a game-high 91 yards on the ground and a touchdown of his own. McGonagle and Boehm added 68 yards and 66 yards, respectively. Linebacker Jack Drew ’16 tallied eight tackles, while Jimmy Fairfield-Sonn ’16 and Drew Bryant ’18 added seven each. Kleyn and Spears collected the two interceptions for the Amherst defense.

The 2015 team broke records by being the first team in program history to complete back to back 8-0 seasons, and pushing its consecutive win record to 19 games. Head Coach E.J. Mills now boasts a 117-35 record, and his .770 winning percentage is the best in Amherst football program history.

“It feels incredible to go undefeated for the second year in a row,” Jack Drew ’16 said. “What separates this years’ team from teams past is how close everyone is. There is a special bond between the players, coaches and staff that is unlike anything I have ever been a part of.”