Football Bests Bates in Gridiron Grind Despite Offensive Slump
For the first half, the Mammoths looked average at best on offense.
While its defense was excellent as expected, shutting out Bates in the first half, Amherst’s best offensive weapon was likely punter Henry Atkeson ’20, who pinned the Bobcats inside the 20 on two of four attempts.
Aside from the four punts, Amherst’s two other possessions ended in lost fumbles, with one turnover coming inside the red zone. It was an ugly — and scoreless — start to a season filled with so much promise.
Fortunately, Amherst found its footing on the first drive of the second half as the Mammoths marched down the field and opened the scoring on a 31-yard touchdown run by Jack Hickey ’19.
The drive was prolonged in part due to a roughing the kicker penalty on the Bobcats as Atkeson was in the process of punting the ball back to the hosts.
Two plays later, Hickey found the end zone to put Amherst on top 7-0.
After a three-and-out for Bates, the Mammoths picked apart the Bobcat defense on the ground, with the final eight plays of this second scoring drive drive being run plays.
Starting quarterback Ollie Eberth ’20 punched it in from one yard out on third-and-goal to give Amherst a two-touchdown lead.
The teams continued to trade punts until halfway through the fourth quarter, when an Eberth fumble led to Bates’ best starting field position of the day at the Amherst 32 yard-line.
On third down, the Bobcats’ quarterback Brendan Costa scampered for a 26-yard touchdown to cut the Amherst lead to 13-7 with just over seven minutes remaining.
Needing to kill time, Amherst kept the ball in the hands of its top two rushers on the day, Hickey and Eberth, and the visitors found the end zone once more thanks to an eight-yard run by Eberth, his second of the day.
After another Bates three-and-out, the Mammoths were able to convert on two first downs and run out the clock to seal the 19-7 win.
Despite the scoreless first half, Amherst was in control for most of the game as it wound up with 21 first downs to only seven for Bates.
In addition, the Mammoths rode their run game to victory, totaling 226 rushing yards versus only 60 for the Bobcats.
For the visitors, the big star was Hickey who ran for 137 yards on 22 carries and added a touchdown.
Eberth had a nice game as well, going 13-for-19 with 112 yards through the air and rushing for 58 yards and two touchdowns on the ground.
Amherst’s leading receiver was Bo Berluti ’19, who caught six passes for 62 yards. On defense, Zach Allen ’19 led the team in tackles with seven and Matt Albino ’21 registered the Mammoths’ only sack of the game.
Avery Saffold ’20 picked off Costa for Amherst’s first interception of the year.
After notching its 10th straight victory over Bates, Amherst will play its home opener next Saturday, Sept. 22 at Pratt Field against Hamilton at 1 p.m.