Game 1 Notes: Football opens up at home versus Trinity
Focus, Focus, Focus
The Bobcats return 17 starters as it focuses on two goals for the 2005 season. “We want to claim the Colby-Bates-Bowdoin title and have a winning season,” said head coach Mark Harriman.
Offense is a Virtue
Offense was a strength for Bates last season as the Bobcats ranked third in NESCAC passing with an average of 186.4 yards per game. The team completed 48.9 percent of its pass attempts for 1,491 yards.
Rookie Leads the Way
NESCAC Rookie of the Year Brandon Colon started the final six games as quarterback. He ranked third among conference quarterbacks with 173 passing yards per game and a 99.6 passer rating.
Walker’s a Rusher
Running back Jamie Walker scored three touchdowns last season including two in the season-ending win over Hamilton. In the victory, Walker rushed for a career-high 181 yards. He finished the season seventh in the NESCAC in rushing with 117 carries for 409 yards.
Impact on Defense
Defensive linemen Terence Ryan and Eric Obeng and linebacker Dave Bodger will lead the defensive backfield. Ryan had 20 tackles on the season, including 7.5 for a loss and 2.5 sacks. Bodger led the team with 72 tackles on the season. Obeng led the team in sacks and tied for the lead in tackles for loss.
Both kickers and the kick-off and punt-return specialists return. Tyler Schmelz will handle kicking and punting duties. He averaged 32 yards on 49 punts last season. Graham Raymond returns as long snapper and Kevin Reyes will handle punt returns. Reyes had 81 yards on 12 punts returns last season.
On a Roll
Trinity College, which won its third straight NESCAC title last fall with its second consecutive perfect record (8-0) is poised to add to the enormous success of the past three seasons under head coach Chuck Priore. The Bantams vaulted to the pinnacle of college football with the nation’s best current winning streak of 22 games.
Seniors Lead the Offense
At quarterback, the Bantams are in great shape with seniors Josh Pitcher and Bill Schweitzer. Pitcher has played significant time the past two seasons and led the league in pass-efficiency rating. Schweitzer possesses a huge arm and brings a throwing dimension to the Bantam offense when healthy.
Leo – Next Trinity All-American?
Running back Gennaro Leo averaged 90.9 ypg and scored 13 touchdowns. He is expected to shoulder more of the rushing load this season and is a legitimate candidate for All-America status.
Leading the Nation
The Bantams led the nation in scoring defense, ranked third nationally in total defense and led the NESCAC in pass defense, rushing defense, total defense, and pass efficiency defense. The strength of this unit should be its linebacking corps, led by senior captain Avon Morgan who led the team in tackles in only his first season as a starter.
Juniors Kevin Swiniarski and Brett Sheridan give the Bantams two legitimate kicking threats. They enter the 2005 campaign with plenty of experience as they have shared the placekicking and kickoff duties the past two seasons.
Win Over Trinity Would Carry Bates Far
True, the Bantams have enjoyed back-to-back undefeated seasons and carry a 22-game winning streak into Garcelon Field, but turning around troubling trends is something the Bobcats have done splendidly in recent seasons. Two autumns ago, Bates beat Williams for the first time ever. Last year’s victory over Wesleyan ended a 17-game losing streak against the Cardinals that dated back to 1982. Bates football has progressed remarkably in eight seasons under Harriman. In the six years before his arrival, the program won a total of two games. This season, with 10 returning offensive starters and seven defensive veterans, five wins seems a realistic goal.
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