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Trinity Football Holds Off Tufts

Eric Sachse '19 set a new Trinity record with five field goals
Eric Sachse '19 set a new Trinity record with five field goals

Hartford, Conn. – Junior QB Sonny Puzzo (West Caldwell, N.J.) totaled 332 yards of total offense with two touchdown passes and sophomore Eric Sachse (Jefferson, Mass.) set a school record with five field goals to lead the Trinity College Bantams to a 36-28 win against the visiting Tufts University Jumbos in New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) football action this afternoon at Jessee/Miller Field.  Trinity improves to 4-0 and stays even with Middlebury in first place in the NESCAC with its ninth-straight win over the Jumbos.  Tufts, which trailed, 36-13, before scoring 15 points in 14 seconds in the final two minutes, drops to 3-1.

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Tufts got on the board first, scoring on an 11-yard touchdown run by senior tri-captain RB Chance Brady (Haverhill, Mass.) after a short Bantam punt gave them the ball at the Trinity 35-yard line.  The Jumbos committed a holding penalty on the PAT and senior Willie Holmquist (Dix Hills, N.Y.) missed the longer try.  Trinity answered with its first scoring drive, and Sachse drilled a 28-yard field goal for a 6-3 Jumbo lead with 3:15 left in the first quarter.  Puzzo completed a 22-yard pass to junior WR Bryan Vieira (Hull, Mass.), a 14-yarder to senior WR Nick Gaynor (West Hartford, Conn.), and a 17-yard scoring strike to Vieira on the next Trinity drive to give the home team a 10-6 lead in the opening seconds of the second quarter.  Sachse added field goals of 34 and 20 yards to put Trinity ahead, 16-6, with 6:13 left in the second quarter. 

Trinity senior CB Archi Jerome (Brockton, Mass.) intercepted a Tufts pass, and Puzzo found Vieira for a 24-yard pass and sophomore Max Chipouras (Longmeadow, Mass.) swinging out of the backfield in the right flat for a 19-yard touchdown toss with 2:28 on the clock.  On the next Jumbo play from scrimmage, sophomore QB Ryan McDonald (Annandale, N.J.) eluded Trinity pressure and heaved the ball downfield to wide-open junior WR Mike Miller (Wakefield, Mass.) for a 67-yard touchdown pass.  Moments later, Holmquist appeared to recover his own onsides kick, but a Tufts offsides penalty was called, and Trinity senior Adam Hahn (Rolling Hills, Calif.) handled Holmquist's next attempt at the same thing.  Trinity took advantage, as Puzzo connected with sophomore WR John Spears (Boston, Mass.) for a 32-yard pass on 3rd-and-10 to the Jumbo seven-yard line, and Chipouras scampered into the end zone on the next play for a 30-13 Trinity lead at the break.

After a scoreless third quarter, Sachse tied the Trinity single-game field goal mark with a 25-yarder 1:58 into the fourth frame, after first-year Ian McDonald (Avon, Conn.) had kept the drive alive with a 33-yard pass to senior co-captain Paul McCarthy (North Attleboro, Mass.) on a fake punt.  Tufts threatened with a drive that pushed into Trinity territory, but Bantam sophomores Dago Picon-Roura (Roslindale, Mass.) and Corey Jean-Jacques (Haverhill, Mass.) stopped Brady for a one-yard loss on 4th-and-1.  Sachse broke the Bantam field goal mark with a 20-yard boot with 2:32 left in the game, giving Trinity a 36-13 lead, but Tufts inserted senior QB Alex Snyder (Colorado Springs, Colo.) into the game and he needed just three plays to get the Jumbos into the end zone.  Snyder completed a 39-yard pass to sophomore Dan de Leon (Valley Center, Calif.) and a 27-yarder to senior TE Nik Dean (Windermere, Fla.) at the Bantam two-yard line, before Brady scored Tufts' third touchdown.  Holmquist tried his third onsides kick of the afternoon and bounced it off a Bantam before pouncing on it to give the visitors the ball at their own 38-yard line with 1:31 on the clock.  Snyder connected with Dean for both a 62-yard scoring pass and a two-point conversion pass to pull Tufts to within one score at 36-28 just six seconds later. McCarthy handled Holmquist's final onsides kick and Puzzo sealed the win with a 19-yard pass to senior WR Darrien Myers (North Andover, Mass.) on 3rd-and-6 that allowed the Bantams to run out the clock.

 Trinity finished with 492 yards of total offense, including 302 in the first half, and possessed the ball for 34:37.  The Jumbos finished with 347 total yards offensively, and the teams combined for 178 yards in penalties.  Puzzo was 20-for-30 for 273 yards passing and added 59 yards on the ground, while Chipouras rushed 27 times for a game-high 98 yards, and Vieira led the Trinity pass catchers with four grabs for 78 yards.  McDonald was 6-for-19 for 103 yards and Snyder was 3-for-3 for 128 yards through the air, while Brady had 94 rushing yards on 27 carries, and Dean caught two passes for 89 yards.  Trinity sophomore LB Sean Smerczynski (Topsfield, Mass.) made a team-high 11 tackles and added three tackles for loss and a pair of sacks, while senior co-captain Spencer Donahue (Naperville, Ill.) totaled eight tackles.  First-year LB Greg Holt (Temecula, Calif.) led all tacklers with 16 hits, while senior LB Mike Stearns (Framingham, Mass.) had 14 tackles, and junior LB Steve DiCienzo (Abington, Mass.) notched 11 tackles, three tackles for losses, and a pass breakup for Tufts.

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