Football Routs Hamilton on Pratt Field for First Win of the 2016 Season
Issue   |   Tue, 09/27/2016 - 22:15
Clarus Studios
Senior wide reciever Nick Widen caught two passes for 14 yards in the purple and white’s first game against Hamilton this weekend at home.

In its first game of the season, the Amherst football team demonstrated dominance on both sides of the ball, earning an impressive 34-0 victory over Hamilton in Saturday afternoon’s game at Pratt Field. This win extends Amherst’s winning streak to a program record 20 games dating back to the 2013 season.

After forcing a three-and-out on Hamilton’s first possession of the game, Amherst hit its stride early as Alex Berluti ’17 completed an 18-yard pass on third down to Devin Boehm ’17, who was brought down at the Hamilton 28-yard line. Following another reception by Boehm and a pair of short-yardage rushes, sophomore running back Jack Hickey found the end zone for the first of his three scores at the 9:27 mark of the first quarter to give Amherst the lead.

After forcing four consecutive Hamilton punts, Amherst used a 15-yard punt return by Boehm to set up its second drive of the second quarter. Facing a second down and seven at the Hamilton 39, Hasani Figueroa ’18 broke off on a 31-yard scamper down the left sideline before the Continentals’ defense finally pushed him out to give Amherst first and goal at the eight-yard line. Two plays later, Hickey picked up his second rushing touchdown of the half to give the hosts a 13-0 lead following a missed extra point.

After exchanging punts on the next two possessions, Hamilton mounted an impressive 11-play drive starting from its own 23-yard line. Looking at a third and 15 play from the Amherst 31, Matt Rusk-Kosa ’18 picked off a Hamilton pass at the 20-yard line and returned it 80 yards for a potential score, but the play was negated by a pass interference penalty. On the very next play, however, Derek Ward ’17 picked off another pass attempt in the end zone to keep the game at 13-0 entering halftime.

Amherst put together a methodical, 11-play, 75-yard drive to start the third quarter as Berluti rushed for 12 yards before finding Boehm for a 46-yard catch-and-carry to the Hamilton 17. After a Continentals’ sack by Tyler Hudson put the ball on the 24-yard line, Berluti again found Boehm for a 15-yard completion, and Hickey pounded out five yards on the ground to set up a first and goal at the four-yard line. Hickey capitalized with his third touchdown of the game to help give Amherst a 20-0 lead.

With the score still 20-0 in the fourth quarter, Parker Chapman ’17 forced a Trevor Pinkham fumble on the Hamilton 38 that was recovered by Bolaji Ekhator ’18 to give Amherst the ball back with 12:58 remaining in the contest.

Berluti hit Figueroa for an 18-yard pass to start the drive, and then rushed for 26 yards to the four-yard line, setting up a five-yard touchdown pass to Boehm to give the purple and white a commanding, 27-0 advantage with 10:50 to play in the fourth quarter.

Amherst capped its scoring on an eight-play, 49-yard drive that saw backup quarterback Nick Morales ’19 complete a 16-yard pass to James O’Regan ’20 and a 14-yard pass to A.J. Poplin ’17. Two plays later, junior Raheem Jackson found the end zoneon a three-yard carry to set the score at 34-0.

On offense, the purple and white had 212 passing yards and 170 rushing yards. Berluti was 17-for-27 through the air for 182 yards and a touchdown, and added 51 yards rushing in the game. Hickey led the rushing unit with 67 yards on 18 carries and three touchdowns. Boehm led the receiving core with 113 yards and a touchdown.

Arguably, the purple and white defense was even more impressive, allowing Hamilton just 168 yards of total offense. Evan Boynton ’17 led the defense with seven tackles. Ward and Jack Barrett ’19 both had interceptions, and Chapman added the forced fumble.

The team returns to action on Saturday, Oct. 1 at Bowdoin (0-1). Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. in Brunswick, Maine.