Hartford, Conn. – Sophomore RB Max Chipouras (Longmeadow, Mass.) ran for 186 yards and three touchdowns and the Trinity College defense intercepted five passes and recovered two fumbles to lead the Bantams to a 49-13 win against the visiting Middlebury College Panthers in New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) football action this afternoon at Jessee/Miller Field. Trinity, ranked No. 3 in New England, improves to 6-0 and takes over sole possession of first place in the NESCAC with two games left in the season. Middlebury, ranked No. 4 in New England, falls to 5-1 and into a second-place tie with Tufts and Wesleyan.
Trinity scored 14 points in each of the first three quarters and led, 28-0, at halftime. Taking advantage of short Panther punt that gave Trinity the ball at the Middlebury 34-yard line less than five minutes into the game, Chipouras ran the ball to paydirt untouched on first down for a 7-0 Bantam lead. Trinity junior QB Sonny Puzzo (West Caldwell, N.J.) floated a perfect 46-yard pass down the middle on 3rd-and-17 to classmate Bryan Vieira (Hull, Mass.) who made an over-the-shoulder catch as he crossed into the end zone with 41 seconds remaining in the first stanza. Middlebury got positive field position after a partially blocked punt by sophomore Frank Purritano (Woodcliff Lake, N.J.) early in the second frame, but could not make a first down. Puzzo and Middlebury junior QB Jared Lebowitz (Burlington, Vt.) traded interceptions on the next two possessions, before the Bantams capped off a seven-play, 55-yard drive with an 11-yard scoring strike from Puzzo to Vieira with 4:49 left before halftime. Lebowitz fumbled a snap and Trinity junior ILB Liam Kenneally (Reading, Mass.) came up with the recovery to set up the last Bantam score of the first half, as Chipouras rumbled in down the right side for a 25-yard touchdown scamper with 2:35 on the clock.
Middlebury came out fighting in the second half, stopping Trinity on the opening possession thanks to a 12-yard sack on 3rd-and-3 by sophomore LB Clay Hunt (Old Brookville, N.Y.) and Robert Wood (Wilton, Conn.) and taking advantage with a 13-play, 63-yard scoring drive. Lebowitz found senior WR James Burke (West Barnstable, Mass.) from 14 yards out for the first Panther touchdown. Trinity answered when senior S Patrick Dorsey (Lynn, Mass.) picked off Lebowitz at the Middlebury 39-yard line and returned the ball to the end zone. A Trinity blocking penalty negated the score and pushed the ball back 16 yards, but Puzzo ran it in on first down for a 35-7 Bantam lead with 6:20 left in the third quarter. Chipouras broke free down the right sideline for a 62-yard touchdown run less than two minutes later, while Panther sophomore RB Diego Meritus (Yarmouthport, Mass.) scored on a two-yard run for the final points of the third quarter. Trinity junior CB Dominique Seagears (Tampa, Fla.) set up first-year RB Joe Samuelman (North Andover, Mass.) for a the lone points of the final frame with an interception and 35-yard return to the Panther four-yard line, and Samuelman rounded out the scoring with his first career touchdown on a four-yard run.
The Trinity defense held the Middlebury passing attack, ranked at the top of the league entering the game, to 126 yards with 30 incompletions in 42 attempts. Senior co-captain OLB Spencer Donahue (Naperville, Ill.) was disruptive for the home team with six tackles, three tackles for loss, two sacks, two pass breakups, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery, while Kenneally added a team-high eight tackles, three tackles for loss, two sacks, and one fumble recovery. Trinity senior CB Yosa Nosamiefan (Boston, Mass.) and junior ILB Carty Campbell (Brooklyn, N.Y.) added seven tackles apiece, and senior co-captain S Paul McCarthy (North Attleboro, Mass.) notched four tackles, two pass breakups, and an interception. Lebowitz was 12-for-28 through the air with three picks and sophomore Jack Merservy (Lawton, Okla.) threw four passes with no completions and two interceptions for the visitors. Puzzo was 7-for-14 for 111 yards and his two scoring passes to Vieira totaled 57 yards, tying Vieira with Middlebury sophomore WR Conrado Banky (Katy, Texas), who caught four passes, for the most receiving yards in the game. Meritus paced Middlebury on the ground with 70 yards on 14 carries, while Panther junior RB Drew Jacobs (Marblehead, Mass.) added 64 yards on the ground on 15 carries. Trinity controlled the ball for 33:04 of the game, and overcome 99 yards in penalties.
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