Football rallies in second half for win

Lance Wilson '11
Lance Wilson '11

Lance Wilson '11 completed 22 of 32 passes for 208 yards and three touchdowns to lead Hamilton College back from a 14-point deficit and a 26-14 win against visiting Wesleyan University in a New England Small College Athletic Conference game at Steuben Field on Oct. 3.

Wilson, who is playing his first season of collegiate football, replaced starter Dan Peters '13. Peters left the game midway through the second quarter after he was hit hard during a pass play. Peters completed the pass to Kevin Petrick '13 for a 15-yard gain and Wesleyan was whistled for a personal foul for hitting out-of-bounds to put the ball at the Cardinals' 29-yard line. Hamilton (1-1 overall, 1-1 NESCAC) scored its first touchdown later during that same drive. Peters (3-for-5, 37 yards) returned late in the fourth quarter when the Continentals led 26-14.

Dylan Isenberg '12 ran for a touchdown and caught another one for Hamilton. Max Foster '10 led all receivers with eight catches for 90 yards. Foster grabbed a 17-yard pass from Wilson for a touchdown to put the Continentals ahead for good with 11:48 remaining in the fourth quarter.

Blake DuBois '12 was 16-of-39 passing for 203 yards and scored on a 14-yard run for Wesleyan (1-1, 1-1). Shea Dwyer '10 ran for a game-high 78 yards on 10 carries. Dwyer broke two tackles and cruised 60 yards for a touchdown on the second play from scrimmage less than a minute into the first quarter. Cyprian Oyomba '12 was credited with eight tackles, including 2.5 sacks, forced a fumble and recovered two. Oyomba led a defense that allowed just 18 rushing yards and 263 total.

DuBois' touchdown run came at the end of an 11-play drive that started at the Cardinals' own 13-yard line and spanned the first and second quarters. The drive ate more than five minutes on the clock. DuBois scrambled on third-and-nine after he couldn't find an open receiver and sprinted into the end zone with 11:46 left in the half. Matt Alexander '12 added the extra-point for a 14-0 lead.

Hamilton responded on the next drive as Jared Kochenash '13 returned the kickoff 27 yards to the Continentals' 49. After Wilson replaced Peters at quarterback, he threw incomplete on first down and found Foster for 6 yards to the Wesleyan 23. On the next play, he threaded a pass to Mark Snickenberger '11 inside the 5 and Snickenberger bowled over a defender into the end zone with 8:40 remaining. The point-after by George Taylor '11 was blocked by Matt Maloney '11, and the score remained 14-6.

In the first half, the Cardinals gained 271 yards to Hamilton's 81, but the second half proved to be all Continentals. The first Hamilton scoring drive started after a 23-yard Wesleyan punt that gave the Continentals the ball at their own 49. Eleven plays later, Wilson completed an 8-yard touchdown pass to Isenberg on fourth-and-three to pull Hamilton within two points. Wilson scrambled right on the play, eluded two tacklers, then threw back to the left to a wide-open Isenberg at the 10 and he zipped into the end zone. The two-point conversion rushing attempt came up short.

The Continentals took advantage of another poor punt by the Cardinals to start the next scoring drive in great field position. Hamilton started at its 44 after a 13-yard floater by Kyle Weiss '12 with 13:15 left in the fourth. Wilson completed a pass to Petrick at the Wesleyan 35, but Lane Kirshe '10 forced a fumble that Petrick recovered at the 34 for a first down. Three plays later from the 17, Wilson lobbed a ball to the left side of the end zone that Foster grabbed over a defensive back for a touchdown. Taylor added the extra-point and the Continentals led for the first time, 19-14.

Hamilton's last touchdown came after one last special teams misstep by the Cardinals. Taylor's punt hit Derrick Williams '12 on the helmet as Williams was turned around looking to block someone, and Ted Finan '12 recovered at the Wesleyan 23. Just three plays later, Wilson handed off to Isenberg, who ran off right tackle and held the ball over the goal line for a 3-yard touchdown run with 6:35 left. Taylor kicked the PAT for the final score.

John Lawrence '10 led Hamilton's defense with a game-high 11 tackles and recorded one sack. Brian O'Malley '10 added eight stops and Jared Kochenash '13 was credited with seven. Rob Gannon '10 intercepted the first pass of his career and returned it 11 yards. Michael Bellis '11 registered his first career sack. The Continentals allowed just 109 yards in the second half.

The Cardinals turned the ball over on downs on their last two drives. Wesleyan still leads the all-time series, 22-16-1. The Continentals travel to Trinity College for another NESCAC game on Saturday, Oct. 10.

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