Williamstown, Mass. - The visiting Trinity College Bantams overcame a 13-3 fourth quarter deficit with two touchdown passes from senior Ryan Burgess (Dracut, Mass.) to junior WR A.J. Jones (Freetwon, Sierra Leone) to down the Williams College Ephs, 17-13, in New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) football action this afternoon. Burgess and Jones teamed up for the two aerial scores in a 5-minute span.
After a promising opening drive by the Bantams was stymied by a Williams sack of Burgess and a blocked field goal, the Ephs opened the scoring in the game with a touchdown run by Marco Hernandez with 3:19 remaining in the first quarter. After a long pass play from junior quarterback Adam Marske to senior WR Darren Hartwell and and a 16-yard pass to senior tight end Sam Krieg, Trinity stopped free successive rushing attempts from a yard away before Hernandez capped off the 92-yard drive with a one-yard rush on fourth and inches. The Ephs then upped their lead to 10-0 on a 34-yard field goal by Mallock 45 seconds into the second period, as Hartwell keyed the next drive with another long pass play.
The Bantams got on the scoreboard for the first time with 9:30 left in the second quarter. A 37-yard field goal by senior Tim Costello (Solana Beach, Calif.) capped off a nine-play, 54-yard drive from the Bantams, bringing the score to 10-3. A fake-punt end around by senior tri-captain Rae Haynes (Hartford, Conn.) kept the drive alive in the middle of the field, and nice pass from Burgess to first-year WR Ian Dugger (Bloomfield, Conn.) brought the Bantams deeper into Eph territory. The final score of the half came on Mallock's second field goal of the game, splitting the uprights from 43 yards out with 3:02 remaining. Williams partially blocked Costello's third field-goal attempt of the first half, and Williams led at the break 13-3.
After a scoreless third period, Trinity faced a fourth and inches from their own 37. The Bantams went for it, Burgess was successful on a quarterback sneak, and the Bantams capitalized on the offensive momentum with an 11-play, 68-yard drive. Junior RB Evan Bunker (Topsfield, Mass.) recorded a first down for Trinity off a 23-yard toss from Burgess before rushing five yards to the Williams 39-yard line. Burgess then connected a 12-yard pass to senior WR Drew Grombala (Cincinnati, Ohio), and Bunker brought the Bantams to the 22 with another 5-yard run. Burgess had an incomplete pass to Grombala before sending Jones the final 23 yards down the right sideline to the end-zone on a 4th-and-6. With a successful PAT from Costello, the Bantams had closed the Ephs' lead to three, 13-10. The Bantams' drive was highlighted by two successful fourth down conversions.
Gaining momentum from their touchdown, the Bantam defense forced the Ephs to kick after just three plays. Joe Mallock's 40-yard punt was returned by Evan Bunker, who returned it 22 yards to the Trinity 42-yard line. After Bunker completed an option pass to Grombala to convert on third down in the middle of the field, two penalties negated strong strong Bantam running plays that would have put Trinity deep into Williams end. Facing a 3rd-and-20from the Williams 45-yard line, Burgess connected on a wide receiver screeen to Jones on the left sideline. Jones stepped inside the Eph defense and raced down the center of the field to score. Costello's PAT boosted to a 17-13 lead. On the next Eph possession, the Trinity defense swarmed Marske on a third down pass attempt, sacking him for loss of 13 yards and forcing the Ephs to punt. A third-down sack of Marske by Trinity junior ILB Steve Goniprow (Barringto, R.I.) forced a Mallock 56-yard punt to the Trinity 24-yard line, but the Bantams utilized their strong ground game to run out the last six minutes of the contest.
Burgess completed 12 of 21 passes for a total of 177 yards and 2 TDs, while Marske connected on 16 of 30 for 198 yards, 0 TDs and 1 interception. The Bantams ground game was led by Bunker who had 29 rushes for 165 yards for an average of 5.7 yards per carry, and Burgess with 13 carries for 46 yards. Marco Hernandez topped the charts for the Ephs, rushing 12 times for a total of 42 yards. Trinity had 261 yards on the ground, while Williams had 39. The Trinity defense was spearheaded by senior CB Nick Campbell (New Alnaby, Ohio) and sophomore LB Rob Gau (Westport, Conn.) who both had six solo tackles. Chris Cameron and Chris Kim led the Williams effort. Cameron had 8 solos and 3 assists, while Kim completed 6 solos and 3 assists.