It’s hard to argue against Frank Williams ‘18 winning Offensive Player of the Week. After all, you can’t ask for much better offensive production than nine catches, 223 yards, and three touchdowns in a winning effort.
Bates football entered Saturday’s “Back to Bates” matchup against Williams seeking their first win of the season, having lost road games to Trinity and Tufts. The game did start auspiciously for the Bobcats, who gave up an early touchdown to the Ephs. However, the team got a spark of energy from their special teams unit. Sophomore punter Justin Foley, who averaged 43.4 yards per punt on the day and pinned Williams inside their own 20-yard line four times, boomed a 55-yard punt. The Ephs’ Jaelon Moaney made a mess of the return, deciding at the last second to return the punt. Junior Mickoy Nichol immediately hit Moaney to force a fumble, and Trevor Lyons ‘17 recovered. Bates quarterback Sandy Plashkes ‘19 then hit Williams to put Bates on the board.
Although Bates led 19-14, thanks to another couple big Plashkes to Williams connections and a spectacular catch in the corner of the end zone by Marcus Ross ‘19, the Ephs stayed competitive until the end. They just never found a solution to stop the elusive Williams, who went for a 73-yard touchdown in the third quarter to give Bates a 26-17 lead.
Despite his outstanding individual effort, Williams credited his teammates for his career-best day: “Winning player of the week is obviously a huge honor,” he said. “But at the end of the day, that award is because of the team I have around me. Whether its Sandy, our offensive line, the defense, or the guys on special teams, I wouldn’t get that award without the other guys on the team.”
The Bates defense did indeed play a major role in the team’s victory, as the Bobcats combined to sack Williams quarterback Jansen Durham seven times and limited the Ephs to 207 yards of total offense.
Bates will aim for a second straight home win this Saturday at 1:00 pm against 2-1 Wesleyan.
According to Williams, “The key to getting another win will be having a great week of practice, because as our coach always says: a game isn’t won on Saturday, it is won through how we practice during the week.”
That preparation certainly paid off in a big way for Williams and the Bobcats this Saturday. Williams is far from a secret weapon now, but he’ll undoubtedly be a lethal resource in Bates’ arsenal this year.