Football team loses season opener at Amherst, 31-6
Kevin Reyes’ interception and 32-yard return set up Jamie Walker’s touchdown.
Adam Kayce recorded a game-high 12 tackles for the Bobcats.
AMHERST, Mass. — Senior wideout Mark Hannon scored a trio of backbreaking touchdowns in the first half — two on scoring strikes from senior quarterback Nick Kehoe and another on a 64-yard punt return — as the Amherst College football team defeated visiting NESCAC foe Bates College 31-6 on Saturday.
Amherst’s offense was dominant, but the defense was equally, if not more, holding Bates to just 159 yards of total offense. Ten different Jeffs logged four or more tackles, led by senior defensive lineman Brendan McKee, who finished with nine takedowns, three tackles in the backfield and 1.5 sacks. Senior linebacker Dakota Jones and junior defensive back Chris Mottau pitched in with eight tackles apiece. Mottau added one of two Amherst interceptions, along with sophomore defensive back Rob Grammer.
Amherst’s offense found the end zone on each of its first three possessions and four of its first five overall. Hannon set the tone with a 39-yard scoring strike from Kehoe on the Jeffs’ opening drive, after senior wideout Justin Macione keyed the stampede with a clutch 18-yard reception on third and nine.
The defense forced Bates into a three-and-out on its next possession, and Hannon returned the ensuing punt 64 yards for his second touchdown in the game’s first eight minutes. After Chris Mottau picked off a Brandon Colon (Manchester, N.H.) offering at the Bates 43, Kehoe found sophomore running back Eric NeSmith on a slant from 13 yards out to push the lead to 21.
Kehoe and Hannon connected once more midway through the second quarter for a 28-point halftime cushion. Kehoe was a perfect three-for-three for 69 yards on the drive, finding NeSmith for 20 yards and junior wideout Mike Meyers before drilling Hannon with a 16-yard bullet.
First-year kicker Matt Eberhart sealed the win with 27-yard field goal at the tail end of the third quarter. Eberhart connected on all four extra point attempts and boomed several kickoffs into the Bates end zone.
Bates took advantage of an Amherst turnover to stave off the shutout, as junior cornerback Kevin Reyes (North Andover, Mass.) picked off a Kehoe attempt and logged a 32-yard return all the way to the Amherst 15. Bates senior running back Jamie Walker (Needham, Mass.) then capitalized with a three-yard touchdown rumble, but the Bobcats would never seriously threaten again.
Hannon finished the day with seven catches for 94 yards and three touchdowns in addition to his 64-yard punt return. Kehoe recorded 14 completions for 260 yards and three scoring strikes.
Walker led Bates with 48 rushing yards on a workmanlike 19 carries. Colon finished 10-for-21 passing for 99 yards and two interceptions. Senior wide receiver Dylan MacNamara (San Francisco, Calif.) caught seven passes for 52 yards.
|Shawki White forced two Amherst turnovers in the red zone in the second quarter.|
Senior defensive back Adam Kayce (North Easton, Mass.) paced the Bates defense with a game-high 12 tackles. Junior linebacker Ron DiGravio (Farmington, Maine) collected 10 tackles, including three for a loss. Junior linebacker Graham Raymond (Westfield, Mass.) and junior defensive end Anthony Begon (Lynn, Mass.) finished with nine tackles apiece, with Begon recording the Bobcats’ lone quarterback sack.
Sophomore Shawki White (Danville, Ill.), making his first collegiate start at cornerback, was a bright spot for the Bobcats, forcing two Amherst turnovers in the red zone in the second quarter. White forced Amherst wideout Justin Macione to fumble into the Bates end zone, which the Bobcats recovered for a touchback. Late in the quarter, White intercepted a pass at the Bates 8 and returned it 14 yards to keep the Bobcats out of further trouble.
Bates plays on the road again next Saturday with a game at Tufts University. The Jumbos were 17-0 winners over Hamilton on Saturday.
– Amherst College Sports Information