AMHERST, Mass. – Senior strong safety Jimmy Fairfield-Sonn recorded two interceptions and blocked a crucial field goal at the end of the first half, to help guide the Amherst College football team to a 16-7 win over rival Trinity College Saturday afternoon on Pratt Field at Lehrman Stadium. With the win, the Purple & White clinch at least a share of the NESCAC title for the fifth time in the past seven seasons.
Amherst: 7-0 (4-0 home, 3-0 away)
Trinity: 6-1 (3-0 home, 3-1 away)
HOW IT HAPPENED
- Trinity held a commanding edge in time of possession, 38:11-to-21:49, but only came away with seven points. The Bantams controlled the clock in the first quarter and scored the first touchdown of the game, however, Amherst scored 16 unanswered en route to the win.
- With :01 remaining in the first half, and trailing 9-7, Trinity's field goal attempt from 22 yards was blocked by Fairfield-Sonn to give Amherst the momentum heading into the break.
- Down by nine, Trinity took over at its own 10-yard line with 4:09 to play. Marching down the field, the Bantams impressive drive came to an end as Fairfield-Sonn picked off Sonny Puzzo to help seal the win.
- The visitor's held a 21-18 edge in first downs, and 314-247 advantage in total offense, but turned the ball over three times and accumulated 12 penalties for 98 yards, compared to five for 43 yards by the Purple & White.
- Amherst gained 111 yards passing and 136 yards rushing. Quarterback Reece Foy '18 went 12-for-22 for 111 yards (1 TD, 1 INT) and was also the team's leading rusher with 43 yards on 10 carries. Kenny Adinkra '16 rushed nine times for 35 yards and a score, and Devin Boehm '17 pulled in six catches for a game-high 76 yards. Jackson McGonagle '16 scored Amherst's first touchdown of the game and finished with three receptions for 22 yards.
- Defensively for the Purple & White, Tom Kleyn '16 led the team with 10 tackles (1.5 for loss), while Sam Caldwell '16 registered Amherst's only sack.
- Trinity gained 174 yards through the air and 140 on the ground. Puzzo went 22-of-37 for 174 yards (0 TD, 2 INT), while Max Chipouras finished with 67 yards on 20 carries, including a touchdown. Darrien Myers was Puzzo's top target on the day as he finished with 10 catches for 65 yards.
- The Bantams defense was led by Liam Kenneally with 10 tackles (4 solo), followed by Shane Libby with seven, and Frank Leyva and Preston Kelly with six each.
FIRST HALF HIGHLIGHTS
- Amherst won the coin toss and deferred to the second half. Trinity's first drive went 53 yards in 9:01, but ended in a punt. Amherst turned the ball over on downs, giving the Bantams good field position after a botched snap on the punt. Eight plays later, Chipouras rushed up the middle for a 1-yard touchdown score. Following the extra-point attempt by Kyle Pulek, Trinity went ahead 7-0 early.
- Amherst's ensuing possession ended in a 24-yard field goal attempt by Charlie Wall '18 to cut the deficit to four. The drive started at the 50-yard line as the Purple & White went 43 yards in 12 plays.
- Two plays later, Fairfield-Sonn picked off Puzzo at the visitor's 37-yard line and returned it five yards. On 3rd-and-9 at the 11, Foy found McGonagle in the endzone as the senior wide receiver made an incredible diving catch. The extra-point attempt went wide, as the home team took a two-point lead, 9-7.
- Trinity regained possession with 8:34 to play in the first half. The Bantams used up the clock during a 16-play, 60-yard drive all the way to the Amherst 5-yard line. With the momentum in their favor, Trinity looked poised to take a halftime lead. However, Fairfield-Sonn came around the corner to block Pulek's field goal attempt with one second remaining on the clock.
SECOND HALF HIGHLIGHTS
- Amherst received the ball to start the second half. The first four possessions for both teams resulted in punts.
- Taking over at their own 46-yard line with 3:00 remaining in the third quarter, Foy connected with Boehm on the first play of the drive for 19 yards as the junior wide receiver made an impressive, juggling catch near the Amherst sideline. Adkinkra capped off the drive with a three-yard, powerful dive up the middle. Up eight, a penalty on the home team pushed the extra-point attempt back 15 yards but it didn't affect Wall, who made the crucial field goal to make it a two-score game.
- Amherst had an opportunity to put the game out of reach early in the fourth quarter but Paul McCarthy picked off Foy in the endzone.
- The Bantams took over at their own 20-yard line with 10:58 to play. On 4th-and-9, they faked the punt as McCarthy threw a lob into midfield as Boehm intercepted the pass.
- Amherst punted on its following possession to give Trinity the ball with 4:09 remaining in regulation. Puzzo completed six consecutive passes as the Bantams looked impressive marching down the field. However, on first down at the home 24-yard line, Puzzo's pass was picked off by Fairfield-Sonn at the one. He returned it 18 yards to seal the victory.
BEYOND THE BOX SCORE
- Prior to kickoff, Amherst honored its 20-member senior class during its annual Family Weekend game. The Class of 2016 finished their four-year careers with an incredible 15-1 record at home.
- Amherst has won three-straight against Trinity, and has improved to 59-43-9 all-time against the Bantams.
- The Purple & White increased its consecutive win streak to 18 games – a program record.
- Amherst heads to Williams next Saturday, Nov. 14 to face Williams (2-5) in the "Biggest Little Game in America" scheduled for 12 p.m.
- Trinity wraps up the 2015 season at home Saturday and will face Wesleyan (5-2) at 12 p.m.