Trinity tops Panthers in football showdown
HARTFORD, Conn. — Host Trinity coasted to a 49-13 victory over the Middlebury College football team on Saturday in a battle for first place in NESCAC waged by league’s only two unbeaten teams.
The 6-0 Bantams entered the game ranked third in NCAA Division III in New England, while the Panthers (5-1) had held the fourth spot. Middlebury returns to action this Saturday at Hamilton at 1 p.m. The Panthers can still earn first place in the league by defeating Hamilton and then visiting Tufts on Nov. 12 if Trinity stumbles against either 3-3 Amherst or 5-1 Wesleyan in its remaining games.
On this past Saturday, Trinity scored four times after seven Panther turnovers, and the Bantams held a 335-235 edge in total yards. Trinity also held the Panthers’ potent passing attack to 126 yards, 208 below its season average. Trinity’s gained 224 yards on the ground with five rushing touchdowns.
Trinity scored its first touchdown after gaining great field position at the Panther 34. Max Chipouras took the first handoff and found the end zone for a 7-0 lead.
The Bantams scored again late in the quarter when quarterback Sonny Puzzo found Bryan Vieria for a 46-yard touchdown.
Middlebury linebacker John Jackson intercepted a pass midway through the second quarter, but the Bantams intercepted Panther QB Jared Lebowitz on the next play. Soon afterward. Puzzo hit Vieira from 11 yards out for a 21-0 lead with 4:49 left in the second quarter.
The Panthers fumbled on their next possession and then allowed a 25-yard Chipouras rushing touchdown at the 2:35 mark to make it 28-0 at halftime.
Middlebury scored on its first possession of the second half, driving 63 yards on 13 plays. Lebowitz found James Burke three times on the drive, including a 14-yard touchdown pass with 9:43 on the clock.
Following a Trinity punt, Bantam P.J. Dorsey returned an interception 38 yards to set up a 16-yard Puzzo rushing TD and a 35-7 lead. Chipouras added a 62-yard run to make it 42-13 later in the quarter.
The Panthers answered with an eight-play, 80-yard drive to make it 42-13. Lebowitz found Conrado Banky for a 42-yard catch before Diego Meritus scored from two yards out. Trinity added a fourth-quarter touchdown to make it a 49-13 final.
Lebowitz completed 12 of 38 passes for 126 yards; he tossed three interceptions and was sacked five times. Meritus rushed for 70 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries, while Drew Jacobs finished with 64 yards on the ground in 15 attempts. Burke caught four passes for 40 yards and a touchdown, while Banky finished with four receptions for 57 yards. Addison Pierce led the Panther defense with 11 tackles, one forced fumble and a fumble recovery.
Puzzo completed seven of 14 passes for 111 yards. Chipouras gained 186 yards on 23 carries.