Strong Defense Lifts Football Past Bates in Season Opener

Led first by an electric offensive start and then stalwart late-game defense, the football team claimed a 28-20 comeback victory over Bates College in its season opener on Sept. 18.

The football team started off the season in winning fashion this weekend in Lewiston, Maine as they topped the Bates Bobcats 28-20. Down by three at half-time, the Mammoths were able to mount a comeback and emerge with the win.

Amherst had an electric start to the game, scoring two touchdowns within the first seven minutes of play. Chad Peterson ’23 set up the first touchdown, throwing completions to both Joe Masterson ’22 and Michael Immerman ’22, before Kellen Field ’22 rushed into the end zone for the first touchdown of the season. This was quickly followed by a blocked punt by Trey Doyle ’25 which was recovered by Jack Roberge ’25 in the end zone, putting the Mammoths up 14-0.  According to offensive lineman Frankie Kelley ’24, “It took everyone a few seconds to comprehend what happened, then everyone went crazy.”

At this point in the game, the Mammoths seemed unstoppable. However, a key interception by Bates near the end zone quickly shifted the momentum in the Bobcats’ favor as they went on a 17-0 run to close out the half. Scores by the Bobcats included a quick field goal, followed by two touchdowns initiated by the stellar passing of the Bobcats senior quarterback Brendan Costa who has been starting games at Bates since his freshman year.

Despite a grim ending to the first half, the Mammoths were able to rally in the second half, starting it off with a six-minute drive that resulted in a rushing touchdown by Peterson. This touchdown had been set up by another strong rush by Field, who recorded 103 yards on the day and 4.7 yards per carry. Bates responded to this drive, quickly marching down the field and nailing a 34-yard field goal. However, with 14 minutes left in the fourth quarter, the Mammoths were able to score again, as Peterson connected once more with Masterson for a 32-yard TD pass. This touchdown would go down as the winning score as Bates was unable to respond due to great red zone defense by the Mammoths.

This red zone hold included a crucial sack by Matt Albino ’22 and tackle by Ricky Goodson 22. Matt Durborow ’22 was the Mammoths’ leader defensively, tallying 12 tackles in the victory. Other strongholds on the defense included Michael Jeffery ’22 who had seven tackles, captain Joe Kelly ’22 who had four tackles and sophomore safety Ryan Monteleone ’24 who had a crucial interception.

On Saturday, Sept. 25, the Mammoths will face Colby on Pratt Field in their 2021 home opener.