Bates football continues to struggle. The Trinity College Bantams came in on Saturday, September 22nd and ruined their home opener during “Back to Bates” weekend. The undefeated Bantams, and defending NESCAC champions, went on to 2-0 and continue their undefeated streak to 11 games dating back to 2015. Bates fell to 0-2 with the loss.
Trinity started a game with a 52-yard drive that lasted 11 plays which ended up in a 22-yard field goal by their kicker Eric Sachse to make it 3-0. Disaster would strike the Bobcats early. At their own 15 on their third play of their first drive, quarterback Sandy Plashkes ‘19 was hit as he threw the ball that landed right in the hands of a Trinity defender. He returned it for a pick-six which put the Bantams up 10-0. After going three-and-out on their next possession, Bates punted, which was then returned 51-yards all the way to Bates territory to the 16. The Bantams’ first offensive play of the drive was a rushing touchdown by Max Chipouras to make it 17-0 with 8:54 in the first quarter. The sloppy play by Bates continued on their next drive, fumbling the ball and giving it back to Trinity at the Bates 15. This led to another Bantam touchdown as their quarterback Sonny Puzzo found his receiver Cliff David open in the middle of the field to push the lead to 24-0 with 6:04 left in the first. Bates appeared to wake up as Jaason Lopez ‘21 had a dazzling 63-yard kickoff return all the way to Trinity’s 32. But the Bobcats became stagnant and turned the ball over on downs at Trinity’s 30. Trinity did not slow down, driving 70 yards on nine plays to make the score 31-0 capped off by a Puzzo 17-yard pass to Jonathan Girard.
The second quarter was not any better. Trinity opened up with two back-to-back scoring drives. The first drive was 61-yards with Puzzo hitting Joe Samuelman for a 31-yard passing touchdown to make it 38-0 halfway through the second. The second of the back-to-back came on a 3 play 63-yard drive capped off by another Puzzo touchdown pass, this time to Dakota Foster to push the lead to 45-0 at the half. Bates’ offense showed little rhythm, generated only 24 yards of offense in the 2nd quarter.
The second half was not as much of an onslaught as the Bantams used different pieces throughout the second half, only scoring one touchdown which came in the fourth. The Bates defense held up and did not allow a single point for the rest of the game. Matt Golden ‘20 took over for the injured Plashkes. While the offense never truly got going, Golden was able to create some type of rhythm, rushing for 66 yards and earning four first downs in two drives. Trinity would score on the final play of the game, a screen pass from new quarterback substitute Brad Whitman to Matt Laporta for a 9-yard touchdown.
Despite the defense’s poor play, Bates defensive back Coy Candelario ‘19 recorded a game and career high 12 tackles including nine solo tackles. Conner Suraci ‘20 also had an active day, recording a career-high nine tackles. Even though the offense did not put up any points, Peter Boyer ’19 led the team in rushing with 48 yards and Tyler Baum’19, making his first start at slotback, caught three passes for 32 yards.
The Bobcats will look to end their losing streak at home, where they will host Tufts next Saturday September 30th.