After being held scoreless in the first half of its season opener against Bates, the Amherst football team didn’t waste any time putting points on the board in Saturday’s 37-14 victory over the Hamilton Continentals. On the first drive of the game, Amherst converted all four of its third-down attempts, marching 79 yards into the end zone to put the Mammoths up 7-0 just six minutes into the game.
The opening drive featured a balanced offensive attack with nine rushing plays and five passing plays. Quarterback Ollie Eberth ’20 displayed his dual-threat abilities, completing three passes for 22 yards and rushing for 40 yards on the ground, including the opening score on a 19-yard rush. The Continentals, on their first possession of the game, managed to mirror Amherst’s opening drive success, putting together a 13-play, 82-yard touchdown drive.
Quarterback Kenny Gray was methodical as he led Hamilton down the field, capping it off by scoring on the ground from a yard out to even the score at seven apiece. Gray finished a perfect 6-for-6 on the possession, but the touchdown would be the only points the Continentals mustered for nearly three quarters. While the next Amherst drive would stall after a few first downs, punter Henry Atkeson ’20 kept up his stellar start to the season by pinning the Continentals’ at their own 1-yardline on his first punt of the day.
After a three-and-out by the Continentals, the Mammoths took over with great field position on the Hamilton 37-yardline.
Just two plays later, Jack Hickey ’19 helped Amherst reclaim the lead as he took a hand-off 29 yards to the end zone. The teams then proceeded to trade five punts in a field position battle before heading to the locker room with Amherst up 14-7.
Hamilton received the ball to start the second half, but the Amherst defense stepped up once again and forced another three-and-out. The Mammoths took over at their own 37-yardline, and 10 plays later, Eberth fired a dart from 26 yards out to Bo Berluti ’19 to double the Amherst lead to 14 points, 21-7.
After yet another three-and-out for the Continentals, Amherst got the ball back with excellent starting field position at the Hamilton 49-yardline. Two plays after Hickey busted out for a 30-yard run, Eberth scampered into the end zone once more from five yards out to put the Mammoths up 27-7. On the very next play from scrimmage, Andrew Sommer ’19 intercepted Gray and put Amherst in field goal position to extend its lead to 30-7 thanks to a field goal from Atkeson. After a few more punts, running back Biafra Okoronkwo ’19 put the icing on the cake with a 25-yard touchdown run, the Mammoths’ fourth rushing score of the game. While the Continentals managed one consolation score, Amherst ran out the clock and cruised to a comfortable 37-14 victory.
The offensive stars of the game were Eberth, who had three total touchdowns, and Hickey, who ran for 115 yards and a touchdown on just 18 carries. On defense, defending NESCAC Defensive Player of the Year Andrew Yamin ’19 recorded his first sack of the season — one of three on the day for Amherst, with Joe Kelly ’21 and Jack Barrett ’19 notching the other two. With the win, the Mammoths improved to 2-0 on the season and remained in a tie atop the NESCAC standings with Trinity, Tufts and Williams Up next, Amherst will travel to Brunswick, Maine on Saturday to face the 0-2 Bowdoin Polar Bears at 1 p.m.