Colby football starts CBB play with win over Bates

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WATERVILLE, Maine --- The Colby College football team got past step one in a bid for the Colby-Bates-Bowdoin (CBB) title Saturday with a convincing 21-3 victory over Bates College at Seaverns Field at Harold Alfond Stadium on Family Homecoming Weekend.

Colby improved to 3-3 overall and has won two straight games heading into next Saturday's 12:30 p.m. home game with Tufts University. Bates dropped to 2-4 overall and will play host to Bowdoin College at 12:30 p.m. in the second CBB game. The Mules visit Bowdoin in two weeks and will win their first outright CBB title since 2005 with a victory.

After falling 31-6 in Lewiston last year and watching Bates go on to win the CBB title, Colby was in command from start to finish Saturday.
First-year running back Carl Lipani (North Reading, Mass.) had two of Colby's three touchdowns and quarterback Justin Ciero (Chappaqua, N.Y.) ran for the other score.
While Colby scored three times on rushing plays, it was Bates which came into the game ranked first in the New England Small College Athletic Conference in rushing at 245 yards per game on the ground. 
Colby's defense, led by 25th-year defensive coordinator Tom Dexter, was up to the task of stopping the run. The Mules held the Bobcats to just 88 yards rushing and a 1.9-yard per rush average. Meanwhile, Colby ran for 170 yards and a 4.5-yard average.
After the Mules stopped Bates with a three-and-out on the opening drive of the game, Colby scored immediately on its first possession. Ciero helped set up the touchdown with an 18-yard run when he escaped a near sack on the play. Lipani went 49 yards for the score, diving forward into the end zone after being slightly tripped by a Bates tackler around the 3-yard line.
The game slowed down and the punters took over for a good portion of the first quarter. Bates got on the scoreboard in the second quarter with a 31-yard field goal by Charlie Donahue (Plymouth, N.H.). The Bobcats, struggling to run the ball, used two big pass plays on the drive of 41 and 35 yards to Ryan Curit (South Portland, Maine) from quarterback Nick LaSpada (Billerica, Mass.).
Colby took any momentum away from the Bobcats by driving right down the field for a second touchdown. Ciero found first-year Ryder Arsenault (New Hampton, N.H.) down the right sideline for 51 yards past Colby's bench to the Bates' 6-yard line. On the next play, Lipani went up the middle from 6 yards out for his second score.
The Mules took a 14-3 lead into intermission and then used a big special teams play to set up their final touchdown. Colby punter Louw Scheepers (San Diego, Calif.) capped a solid day of kicking with a 45-yard boot that went out of bounds at the Bates' 1-yard line. 
The Bobcats quickly went three-and-out and actually lost one-half yard, forcing punter David Kurey (West Chester, Pa.) to kick from the back of the end zone. Zach Padula (Coventry, R.I.) had a 5-yard return for Colby to the Bates' 25-yard line.
Colby wasted no time in going up 21-3, scoring on the first play of the drive. Ciero ran off the left side of the line and was able to use his speed to go right up the middle of the field for the score.
Ciero ran 21 times for 87 yards (4.1 per rush) and had 165 yards of passing. Lipani had a 6.8-yard per rush average on his 10 carries for 68 yards. Arsenault had 100 yards of receiving on four catches, while Luke Duncklee (Augusta, Maine) had five catches for 60 yards and ran three times for 14 yards. 
Curit had 82 yards receiving on three catches and led the ground game with 38 yards rushing. LaSpada  threw for 176 yards.
Colby's Stephen O'Grady (North Andover, Mass.) and Henry Nelson (Redding, Conn.) both had nine tackles. Mule co-captain Daniel Maddox (Bedford, N.H.) added seven tackles and one of Colby's three interceptions. Tony Atkinson (Bethesda, Md.) had six tackles, CT Harris (Canaan, N.H.) had five tackles and one sack, and Jason Buco (Metheun, Mass.) and Mark Vargas (Coventry, R.I.) also had interceptions.
Andrew Kukesh (Exeter, N.H.) had a game-high 10 tackles, including two for loss, for the Bobcats. Ryan Newson (Stanhope, N.J.) added nine tackles, Steven Hild (West Hartford, Conn.) had five stops, and Gilbert Brown (Gloucester, Mass.) had one interception and five tackles.
Scheepers had five of his seven punts go inside the 20-yard line and also had four kickoffs for a 62.8-yard average (one touchback).

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