Panther football rides big second half past visiting Williams
MIDDLEBURY — The Middlebury College football team scored 27 second-half points on Saturday in a 36-14 win over visiting Williams (2-2) as the Panthers improved to 3-1 and defeated the Ephs for the fourth straight time. Middlebury returns to action this weekend at Bates.
Williams got on the board first with a three-yard touchdown run from Noah Sorrento with 14:36 left in the second quarter. The drive was set up by a 32-yard punt return from Mark Pomella and a 17-yard connection from Austin Lommen to Colin Brown.
Middlebury quickly answered on the ensuing kick-off, which Tanner Contois returned 96 yards for a touchdown return. The extra point failed and the Ephs led, 7-6.
The Panthers went on top with 6:21 left in the half when Charlie Gordon hit a 24-yard field goal. The drive was set up by a 37-yard connection from Matt Milano to Conrado Banky.
Williams took a 14-9 lead 10:49 into the third quarter after a 40-yard drive. Connor Harris carried the ball in from one yard out.
The Panthers fumbled the ball on their own 29 following the score, but the Ephs could not take advantage as they missed a 38-yard field goal.
Three plays later, Milano found Matthew Minno 10 yards downfield before he pulled away from the field and found the end zone for a 71-yard touchdown reception to put his team on top 15-14 after a blocked extra point.
Williams went three-and-out before Middlebury drove 96 yards on nine plays to lead, 21-14 at 4:41 of the third. Diego Meritus rushed for 20 yards and caught an 11-yard pass on the drive, while Milano connected with Trevor Miletich for 22 yards and Minno for 18. The touchdown came on a 21-yard strike to Minno down the right sideline.
In the fourth quarter Milano found Miletich for 16 yards before a flat pass to Meritus ended in a 19-yard touchdown and a 29-14 lead.
Middlebury scored its final points on a 16-yard Meritus run that created the final score with 7:57 remaining.
Milano connected on 20 of 41 passes for 319 yards with three touchdowns. Minno caught eight passes for a career-high 171 yards to go along with a pair of touchdowns. Meritus rushed for 100 yards for the first time in his career, gaining 118 on 22 carries. He also caught three passes for 36 yards and a score.
Addison Pierce led the Middlebury defense with nine tackles and a pick, while Kevin Hopsicker made eight stops and Gil Araujo had six, including a sack. Nate Leedy finished with six tackles and an interception.
Lommen went 20 for 38 for 194 yards with two interceptions. Harris finished with 70 yards rushing, while Pomella caught seven passes for 64 yards.
Middlebury amassed 464 yards of offense, while holding Williams to 286.