Football Aims to Retake NESCAC Crown After Season Marred by Injury
Issue   |   Thu, 08/31/2017 - 22:06
Amherst Athletics
Reece Foy ‘18 makes his return to the field this fall after losing his entire junior year to an ACL tear and will be the centerpiece of the Amherst offense.

The Amherst men’s football team is one of the most successful groups in Division III sports. With six NESCAC titles and seven perfect seasons under their belt, numbers which only the hated Ephs can rival, the team is one of the most successful programs at Amherst.

However, the 2016 season was a somewhat uncharacteristic one for the Mammoths, with the team finishing 4-4 overall. Although it was not a losing season, it was understandably frustrating for a team that had captured the past three NESCAC titles.

The class of 2017 finished their careers with an impressive, 27-5 overall record that included a share of the NESCAC title in 2013 and outright titles in 2014 and 2015 with back-to-back 8-0 seasons.

A key piece of any potential success this season is quarterback and captain Reece Foy ’18. After an ACL tear shortly before the 2016 season, Foy’s presence was dearly missed on the field last year. Prior to his injury, Foy appeared in 12 games as QB for the Mammoths across his first two years at the school, including starting every game in Amherst’s perfect 2015 eason. He holds a career 59.4% completion percentage and a 126.1 efficiency rating while averaging 144.5 yards per game through the air.

Not only does Foy make a large impact on the field, he also leaves a lasting impression on others off the field as well.

This past summer he received the honor of being nominated for Allstate AFCA Good Works Team®.

This award is regarded as one of the most prestigious off-the-field honors in college football, as it recognizes a student-athlete’s charitable involvement and community service contributions that have enriched the lives of others.

In other positions, the Mammoths are hoping rising juniors will step up. Running back Jack Hickey ’19 returns after rushing for a team-high 368 yards last year.

Bo Berluti ’19, meanwhile, leads the crop of returning pass catchers after accumulating 35 receptions in the 2016 season, the third-best mark on the team.

On the defensive side of the ball, the team will look to Andrew Yamin ’19. Yamin was one of seven Amherst players who received All-NESCAC honors last season, making the all-conference second team after notching team-best marks of five sacks and 18 tackles for loss. Yamin also posted 60 total tackles in 2016 and broke up two passes.

Additionally, the team adds 25 members from the class of 2021 as well as two transfers, who will look to make an immediate impact.

The captains for the 2017 season are Foy, Bolaji Ekhator ’18, Zach Allen ’19 and Elijah Zabludoff ’18, each of whom have won a NESCAC title and will hope to lead the Mammoths back to the promised land.

The 2017 season is the first year that the NESCAC will play a full round robin schedule, meaning that Amherst will play nine games for the first time in school history.

In the past, there has been a scrimmage between the Mammoths and the one NESCAC foe that wasn’t on the official schedule, but this year the conference elected to change that scrimmage into an official game.

Notable games for Amherst in the new-look schedule include the homecoming matchup on Oct. 21 against Wesleyan, in which the Mammoths will look to avenge last season’s 20-0 loss against the Cardinals, and their final game of the season against archrival Williams on Nov. 11 in Williamstown.

The Mammoths’ season opener is on Saturday, Sept. 16 against Bates on Pratt Field.