Football Season Recap: Strong finish builds momentum for next year
|Junior Kyle McAllister (No.28) garnered First Team All-NESCAC honors at defensive back this season.|
The 2008 Bates football team won two of its last three games to finish the season strong. Bates defeated rival Colby in an exciting 31-21 victory at home on Homecoming Weekend. The win over Colby was the first for Bates since 2002. The Bobcats went on to beat Hamilton College 23-22 in a thrilling come-from-behind victory in their final game of the season, also at Garcelon Field.
“It was a great way to send the seniors out, and it established some momentum for the underclassmen heading into the off-season,” said coach Mark Harriman.
The team had many underclassman step up this year, including first-year quarterback Ryan Katon (Durham, Conn.) and sophomore linebacker Myles Walker (Needham, Mass.) who led the team in tackles. The Bobcats will also return their top three receivers from this season in juniors Sean Wirth (Barrington, RI.), Tom Beaton (West Newbury, Mass.) and Matt Gregg (Milton, Mass.).
On defense, Bates will return First Team All-NESCAC selection, junior safety Kyle McAllister (Exeter, N.H.) and junior cornerback Bill Jennings (Marshfield, Mass.). McAllister was among the conference leaders in tackles, interceptions, fumble recoveries and forced fumbles, and he garnered NESCAC Defensive Player of the Week award twice in the eight-week season. Jennings led the team in interceptions and was tied for second in the conference in passes defended. In addition, Jennings was named to the Second Team All-NESCAC as a return specialist.
Bates achieved a turnover margin of +0.63 per game, second best in the conference and 42nd in Division III. Led by McAllister and Jennings, the Bobcats also put together a strong defense against the pass, ranking third in the NESCAC at 196.63 passing yards allowed per game.
Harriman is encouraged by his team’s strong finish this season and the potential for the 2009 season. “The team showed steady improvement each week, and with all but three starters returning, next season looks promising,” he said.