Turnovers costly in football's loss against Amherst
Amherst College's Danny Chun '14 returned an interception 22 yards for a touchdown and Phil Nwosu '15 booted three short field goals as the Lord Jeffs defeated the Hamilton College Continentals 23-7 in a NESCAC game at Hamilton's Steuben Field on Sept. 21.
The contest was the season opener for both teams. Amherst improved to 25-1 all-time against the Continentals and has won 11 straight in the series. Hamilton defeated the Jeffs 41-0 in 1992.
Max Lippe '15 was 16 of 29 passing for 162 yards with one interception for Amherst. Lippe threw a touchdown pass to Brian Ragone '16, who finished with 99 yards on seven catches. Kenny Adinkra '16 led the Jeffs in rushing with 46 yards on 19 carries.
Amherst's defense picked off five passes and held the Continentals to 223 yards of offense. Ned Deane '15 was credited with nine tackles, including a sack, and had one of the interceptions. Chris Tamasi '15 also ended up with nine stops, including 1.5 for a loss. Jimmy Fairfield-Sonn '16, Jaymie Spears '16 and Max Dietz '14 had the other interceptions.
James Stanell '14 led Hamilton's offense with 89 yards on 28 carries. Rico Gonzalez '16 scored on a 4-yard run for his first touchdown with the Continentals. Colin Pastorella '16 was 8 of 15 for 47 yards and three interceptions in his first start at quarterback, and Chase Rosenberg '17 completed 4 of 12 passes for 23 yards with two picks. Rosenberg also ran for 32 yards. Joe Jensen '15 grabbed six catches for 35 yards.
John Phelan '16 recorded a career-high 10 tackles for Hamilton. Alex Mitko '16 forced a fumble and intercepted a pass -- his first for the Continentals -- in the end zone, and Joe Hillman '17 recovered a fumble.
The Jeffs forced their first turnover on the Continentals' first possession of the afternoon. On 2nd-and-7 from the Hamilton 28, Pastorella dropped back and tried to toss a pass over the middle. Chun knocked the ball into the air, caught it and ran untouched into the end zone with 12:33 left in the first quarter.
Three plays into the Continentals' next drive, Deane picked off Rosenberg at the Hamilton 33. Amherst drove 24 yards in eight plays and Nwosu capped the drive with a 26-yard field goal with 8:48 left in the first. Lippe's 17-yard completion to Henry Falter '15 at the Continentals' 9-yard line on 4th-and-3 was the key play of the drive.
The Jeffs increased their lead to 13 points on their first possession of the second quarter. After a 39-yard Hamilton punt went out-of-bounds at the Amherst 47, Lippe threw a 16-yard pass to Ragone for a first down. Adinkra ran for 7 yards and Lippe scrambled for 16 more to the Continentals' 14. Three plays later, Nwosu nailed a 24-yard field goal with 11:35 left in the quarter.
Hamilton ended the shutout late in the second after a miscue by the Jeffs. Amherst was forced to punt from deep in its own territory after a defensive stand by the Continentals. Jackson McGonagle '16 fielded a low snap but was cornered by two Hamilton players before he could get the punt away. Mitko forced a fumble at the Jeffs' 2-yard line and Hillman recovered at the 4.
After Stanell rushed for no gain, the Continentals punched it into the end zone from the 4-yard line. Gonzalez went in motion from the right to the left, took the handoff in stride and scampered around left end to the left pylon at the goal line. Pat Donahoe '16 added the extra point and it was 13-7 with 2:02 left in the half.
On the last play of the third quarter, Spears made an acrobatic interception of a Rosenberg pass at his own 46 and returned it 45 yards to the Hamilton 9. Three straight runs by Adinkra put the ball down close to the goal line, and Nwosu made a chip-shot field goal for a 16-7 advantage with 13:21 left in the fourth quarter.
Amherst clinched the victory with 6:47 left. The Jeffs took over at their own 30 after a punt by the Continentals. Myles Gaines '17 ran three straight times for 39 yards before an offensive holding call negated another fine Myles carry and put the ball back at the Hamilton 32. Lippe then found Ragone on a short pass over the middle and Ragone ran untouched through the center of the field and into the end zone. Nwosu's PAT accounted for the final margin.
The Continentals host Wesleyan University Saturday, Sept. 28. Amherst plays its home opener against Bowdoin College Saturday.