Football falls to Williams in defensive struggle

Williams College scored the go-ahead touchdown with 2:12 left in the fourth quarter and the visiting Ephs went on to a 14-7 win against Hamilton College in a New England Small College Athletic Conference game played at soggy Steuben Field on Oct. 25.

Williams limited Hamilton's offense to three first downs and 75 total yards. Mark Snickenberger '11 ran for 43 yards on 13 carries for the Continentals (2-4 NESCAC). Jordan Eck '12 went 9-for-22 passing for just 36 yards.

Hamilton's offense was its defense. John Lawrence '10 returned an interception 69 yards for a touchdown with 7:34 left in the third quarter. The linebacker leads the team with five picks this year and has intercepted a pass in each of the last five games. He now has eight interceptions for his career. Lawrence broke up three passes and finished with six tackles.

Trevor Pedrick '09 tied a career high with 14 tackles, including a sack. James Gibson '09 chipped in eight stops. Will Finan '10, Taylor Soobitsky '09 and Landrey Mack '10 ended up with six tackles each. Soobitsky recorded a sack and forced a fumble. Burke St. John '11 recovered a fumble.

The Ephs (4-2) scored the first touchdown with 3:46 left in the opening quarter. Williams started the drive at its own 47 after a Continental punt. The Ephs opened the drive with eight straight running plays, including a fumbled hand-off between the quarterback and running back that the quarterback recovered at the Hamilton 29. Two plays later on fourth-and-11, Williams scored on a 30-yard reception. The Ephs added the extra-point for the 7-0 lead.

Neither team generated much offense in the steady wind and rain that turned the field into a mud pit. Williams fumbled six times, including four exchanges between the center and quarterback, but lost just one. The Continentals' best starting field position was their own 36 and, besides the interception Lawrence returned for a touchdown, never invaded the Ephs side of the field.

The game-winning drive consisted of seven running plays and one huge completion. Facing third-and-seven from the Hamilton 44, Williams' quarterback lofted a pass down the right sideline to a receiver for a 30-yard gain just before he skidded out-of-bounds. The Ephs ran the ball into the end zone off left tackle three plays later to make the score 13-7.

The Continentals had one last chance to score a touchdown after Ted Finan '12 returned the kickoff 21 yards to his own 35-yard line. Eck's pass fell incomplete on first down. On the next play Eck escaped from the pocket, but was hit hard behind the line of scrimmage and fumbled. Willams recovered at the 29 and ran out the clock with four running plays.

The Ephs, who ran for 168 yards on 57 carries, held the ball for more than 35 minutes. Williams was 6-of-18 on third down conversions and was successful on both fourth down tries. Meanwhile, Hamilton was just 2-of-13 on third down.

The Continentals host Middlebury College in the Old Rocking Chair Classic on Saturday, Nov. 1, at 1 p.m.

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