Football edges Wesleyan, moves to 2-0

Garrett Hoy '13
Garrett Hoy '13

Jordan Eck '13 threw a touchdown pass to Kevin Petrick '13 midway through the second quarter, and Hamilton College held on for a 7-6 win against Wesleyan University in a NESCAC football game at Hamilton's Steuben Field on Oct. 1.

Hamilton is 2-0 overall and in the conference for the first time since 1992. The Continentals travel to Trinity College to face another 2-0 NESCAC opponent on Saturday, Oct. 8.

James Stanell '14 led Hamilton's offense with 75 yards rushing on 17 carries. Eck, who completed 88 percent of his passes in last week's win against Tufts University, was 11 of 18 for 91 yards with the 11-yard scoring toss to Petrick. McCullough Shriver '13 caught four passes for 31 yards.

Mike MacDonald '13 led the Continentals' defense with a career-high 21 tackles, including a sack. Dan Peters '13 chipped in 14 stops and broke up a pass.

Wesleyan (1-1 overall, 1-1 NESCAC) used a strong rushing attack to control the time of possession. The Cardinals finished with 242 yards on the ground in 59 attempts, which allowed them to hold the ball for more than 36 minutes, including nearly 22 of the 30 minutes in the second half. Wesleyan ran 69 plays to just 44 for Hamilton.

LaDarius Drew '15 gained 146 rushing yards on 36 carries, and Te'Rhon O'Neal '13 added 68 yards. Matt Coyne '12 completed just 5 of 10 passes for 34 yards. Andy McKeon '13 led the Cardinals' defense with seven tackles. Nick Ferris '12 and Nik Powers '15 recorded one sack each. The defense limited the Continentals to 165 total yards.

It was not a good day for kickers as both had a field goal blocked in the second half. Wesleyan's Sebastian Aguirre '14 missed an extra-point wide right in the third quarter, and hooked a 34-yard field goal attempt slightly wide to the left that would have given the Cardinals a 9-7 lead with 44 seconds left in the fourth.

After a scoreless first quarter, Hamilton took over at its own 33 on downs with 12:16 remaining in the second. Eck was 4-for-5 on the nine-play, 67-yard drive, including the TD pass to Petrick. Eck kept the drive alive with a 7-yard completion to Shriver at the Wesleyan 30-yard line on fourth-and-3. The Cardinals were flagged for pass interference on the next play, which moved the ball to the 15. After a 4-yard run by Stanell, Eck found Petrick on the right side for his third touchdown pass this year. Garrett Hoy '13 added the extra point with 7:32 left in the half. The Continentals led 7-0 at the break.

Hamilton's first drive of the second half stalled at the Wesleyan 24, and Hoy attempted a 41-yard field goal. The kick was blocked by Morgan Hanson '13 and returned 3 yards to the Continentals' 48 by Myers Beaird '14.

Coyne ran 19 yards on a bootleg right on first down, and Drew gained 11 yards to the Hamilton 18 on the next play. Three more rushes made it first-and-goal at the 5. A false start on the Cardinals moved the ball back to the 10, but Coyne scrambled for 9 yards to the 1. Gabe Manzanares '14 powered into the end zone on third down to pull Wesleyan within one point with 21 seconds left in the third quarter.

The Continentals went three and out on their next possession, and the Cardinals took over at their own 37 early in the fourth quarter. Wesleyan ran 6:03 off the clock with a 12-play drive that ended with Aguirre's 27-yard field goal attempt getting blocked by Ian Milne '15 with 7:18 remaining.

Once again, the Cardinals forced Hamilton to punt after running just three plays, and Wesleyan took over at its own 44 with 5:32 left. Coyne and Drew methodically moved the Cardinals down to the Continentals' 17-yard line with 49 seconds remaining. After Hamilton called timeout on fourth-and-4, Aguirre lined up to attempt a 34-yard field goal in a heavy drizzle. The kick had plenty of distance, but missed just outside the left upright.

Wesleyan returns home to face Colby College in NESCAC action on Saturday, Oct. 8. The Cardinals still lead the all-time series, 23-17-1, but the Continentals have won three of the last four meetings.

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