On Saturday, Nov. 5, the Amherst football team took to Pratt Field for the final time in 2022, taking on the 2-5 Bowdoin Polar Bears. While this game looked to be a battle of two teams who hadn’t yet found their groove this season, the on-field drama did not disappoint — neither team led by more than four all game, and both squads’ offensive and defensive units made highlight-reel plays.
The festivities started early for the Mammoths, as they honored their 12 seniors — Alexis Chavez-Salinas ’23E, Nick Diprinzio ’23E, Kevin Girardi ’23, Conor Kennelly ’23E, Manni Malone ’23E, Flynn McGilvray ’23E, Charles McKissick ’23E, Carson Ochsenhirt ’23, Chad Peterson ’23E, John Schiano ’23E, Logan Shooster ’23E, and Tim Swope ’23 — before kickoff.
Amherst seemingly took that joy and used it to seize the early momentum. On only the third play from scrimmage, Solomon Christopher ’25 broke on a Polar Bear pass at just the right time and tipped it into the air, where Raymond Dixon ’24 was waiting to come up with the interception. With the ball on the Bowdoin 27-yard line after the forced turnover, the Mammoths worked a short field and hit paydirt only four plays later, when tailback Jack Roberge ’25E rumbled 7 yards untouched into the endzone to put Amherst up 7-0. However, Bowdoin responded with a 17-play, 59-yard touchdown drive of their own that spanned 11 minutes and parts of two quarters to tie the score at 7-all. With neither team able to bank any more points in the second quarter, the game stayed knotted at seven headed into halftime.
Whatever the coaches said at halftime seemed to have worked, as the third quarter produced multiple scores and long drives from both teams. A Mammoth interception by first-year defensive back Matt Monteleone ’26, the first of his career, and a 30-yard field goal off the boot of Kennelly gave the Mammoths a slim 10-7 lead with 8:53 to go in the quarter. But as in the first quarter, the Polar Bears bounced back immediately, scoring a touchdown only four minutes later to take the lead back.
In spite of the deficit, the Mammoths were undeterred. On the first play of the final frame, first-year Kemit Fisher ’26 sacked the Polar Bears’ signal-caller for a 12-yard loss to force Bowdoin to punt. After fielding the kick near midfield, Cam Jones ’24, this week’s NESCAC Special Teams Player of the Week, took the punt 20 yards the other way to give the Mammoths the ball on the Polar Bears’ 27-yard line. And again, the Mammoths executed in a short-field situation, as quarterback Mike Piazza ’24 connected with wide receiver Owen Gaydos ’25 for an 8-yard score, giving Amherst a 17-14 lead with 11:06 to go in the game. It was Gaydos’ first career touchdown reception, and would eventually stand as the game winner.
The win was sealed by McKissick on his Senior Day, on what would end up being his final play on Pratt Field. The senior picked off a Bowdoin pass at midfield with less than a minute left to play, stopping the Polar Bears’ last attempt to win the game. It was his first collegiate interception, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. Piazza then ran out the clock, and the Mammoths walked away with a hard-fought, 17-14 win.
The Mammoths will look to end the season on a high note, traveling to Williams to close out their season with the Biggest Little Game in America. The game, which will be played on the Ephs’ Farley-Lamb Field on Saturday, Nov. 12, will be televised on NESN. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.