Panther football falls to Trinity

MIDDLEBURY — In a battle for first place in NESCAC on Saturday visiting Trinity got help from four Panther turnovers on the way to a 27-5 victory.
Trinity, which intercepted two passes and recovered two Panther fumbles, improved to 7-0 with its 16th straight win, while the Panthers  — who were playing without starting quarterback Jared Lebowitz, injured vs. Bates a week before — dropped to 5-2.
The Panthers will look to bounce back this coming Saturday, when they host Hamilton at 12:30 p.m.
This past Saturday Trinity scored on its opening drive, going 79 yards on 11 plays. Max Chipouras gained 43 yards on the ground before quarterback Sonny Puzzo scored on a keeper from six yards out.
Middlebury cut the lead to 7-3 on a 28-yard field goal from Carter Massengill with 1:05 remaining in the quarter. Diego Meritus gained 34 yards on the ground during the 79-yard drive.
Trinity added to its lead early in the second quarter on another six-yard rush from Puzzo. Puzzo helped himself out on the drive with 44 yards rushing.
Middlebury’s Matthew Daniel blocked a punt at the Trinity 18 midway through the quarter and Ian Blow returned the ball to the Trinity five-yard line. The Panthers failed to advance and turned the ball over on downs. But Bantams fumbled on their first play from scrimmage at their four, and Robert Wood tackled Puzzo in the end zone for the safety to make it 14-5.
With that score holding, three turnovers hurt the Panthers to start the second half. Bantam Matt Patry caused and recovered a fumble at the Middlebury 46, and Trinity cashed in a 27-yard field goal.
Dago Picon-Roura then picked off a Jack Meservy pass on Middlebury’s next drive and returned it to the Middlebury nine. Three plays later offensive lineman Austin Bairdi scored on a two-yard lateral pass, making it a 24-5 game at 8:01 of the third quarter.
Middlebury drove to the Trinity 14 on its next drive, only to see it end on an interception in the Bantam end zone.
Trinity added another field goal in the fourth quarter.
Meservy made his first-career start. He finished 18 of 42 for 243 yards. Maxim Bochman paced the receivers with four catches for 51 yards, while Mike Maldonado finished with three receptions for 37 yards. Wesley Becton led the Middlebury defense with nine tackles and Kevin Maxwell added eight, John Jackson picked up a sack in the game, giving him 11.5 in his career, tying him for fifth on the school’s all-time list.
Puzzo went nine of 20 for 112 yards and gained 76 yards on a dozen carries. Chipouras finished the day with 182 yards rushing on 33 carries.

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