|Sophomore Pat Nee caught a touchdown pass for the Jumbos
WILLIAMSTOWN - Williams College junior Darren Hartwell (North Reading, MA) broke a 14-14 tie with a 77-yard punt return for a touchdown, and later added a 33-yard scoring reception as the Ephs pulled away from Tufts for a 38-17 NESCAC football victory on Saturday afternoon at Weston Field.
The teams went back and forth for the first 22 minutes of the game, but then Williams scored 24 unanswered points to take control. The Ephs improved to 3-2 and moved into a third-place tie with Wesleyan in NESCAC. The Jumbos remained winless at 0-5.
Williams took the opening kickoff and scored in three plays. Sophomore QB Adam Marske (LaGrange, IL) and senior receiver Tomas Kearney (Foxborough, MA) had a 36-yard completion on the first play of the game, and then connected again two plays later for a 46-yard touchdown and a 7-0 Ephs lead.
The Jumbos answered with their own quick scoring drive, going 70 yards in seven plays with 3:18 coming off the clock. Senior QB Johnny Lindquist (Highland Park, IL) passed 39 yards to junior Mike Howell (Phoenixville, PA) down to the Williams four. Sophomore Ryan Pollock (Reading, MA) took it the rest of the way, scoring on a one-yard run to make it 7-7 with 10:18 on the clock.
Though the first quarter ended 7-7, a Williams interception by senior Dan O'Mara (Pittsburgh, PA) with a 32-yard return to the Tufts nine late in the period set up the Ephs' second score. On the first play of the second quarter, sophomore Marco Hernandez (Southlake, TX) rushed in from three yards out for a 14-7 Williams advantage.
Tufts again answered, this time with a 12-play, 75-yard touchdown drive that culminated with an 11-yard scoring pass from Lindquist to sophomore Pat Nee (Essex Junction, VT). Lindquist completed a pass for 20 yards to junior Dylan Haas (Yorktown Heights, NY) early in the drive. Pollock also carried four times for 23 yards during the possession. A Williams penalty on a third-down play gave the Jumbos a first down on the Eph 14.
With the first half winding down, Hartwell's 77-yard punt return put Williams up 21-14 at 2:55 and gave the momentum to the hosts. After Tufts punted on its next possession, the Ephs scored again with 44 seconds to go before halftime to lead 28-14. A 37-yard Marske to sophomore Greg Payton (Williamstown, MA) pass down to the Tufts 11 was the key play. Hernandez ran it in for a one-yard touchdown.
A scoreless third quarter featured an interception by Tufts junior Vincent Lee (Walpole, MA) at the one-yard line as Williams was attempting to add to their lead with a long pass. However, Tufts would get pinned deep in its own territory. Even a good 44-yard punt by Tufts junior Marty Finnegan (Oak Park, IL) gave Williams the ball at the Jumbo 33 after a 14-yard return by Hartwell. Two plays later, Marske completed the 33-yard touchdown pass to Hartwell on the first play of thd fourth quarter for a 35-14 bulge.
The teams traded field goals for the final points. Williams sophomore Joseph Mallock (West Orange, NJ) hit from 36 yards out at 8:31 of the fourth quarter, then Jumbo senior Adam Auerbach (Glen Rock, NJ) converted a 35-yard attempt at 1:35.
Marske completed 10 of 17 passes for 210 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Williams offense, which out-gained Tufts 325-190. Martinez carried 21 times for 65 yards and the two scores. Hartwell caught four passes for 61 yards, including a touchdown. He had 151 yards on returns, with 94 on four punts and 74 on three kickoffs. Williams sacked Tufts quarterbacks six times, including two by Chris Cameron (Walpole, MA), who had 10 tackles total.
Tufts had more first downs (17-13) and a large advantage in time of possession (35:38), but could not overcome big plays by the Ephs. Pollock rushed for a game-high 66 yards on 25 carries. He also caught four passes for 23 yards. Lindquist completed 17 of 29 balls for 150 yards, with Haas receiving five for 38. Senior LB Zack Skarzynski (Hinsdale, IL) once again led Tufts with 11 tackles. Junior Sam Diss (Ridgewood, NJ) recovered a fumble to go with six tackles.
The Jumbos return home to host undefeated Amherst College next Saturday at the Oval. Williams will be at home again to play Hamilton.