Sunday October 14, 2012

WILLIAMSTOWN -- It’s going to be a long seven days for the members of the 2012 Williams College football team.

That’s how long they’ll have to think about the unthinkable -- the possibility of the first four-loss season in more than two decades.

"It’s really going to be a gut check. It’s all about pride from here on out," Williams linebacker and tri-captain Chris Cameron said after Middlebury’s 30-13 win on Saturday afternoon. "We really don’t have a chance to win the league. It’s going to be kids who want to play. If they don’t want to play, get off the team. It’s all about the people who really want to be here."

The visiting Panthers (4-0) torched the Williams defense for 556 yards in total offense and quarterback McCallum Foote threw for four touchdowns, three to Zach Driscoll. It was the third straight loss for the Ephs (1-3).

Williams hasn’t lost four games in a season since Dick Farley’s first year as a head coach. The 1987 Ephs finished 4-4.

Current Williams coach Aaron Kelton could be pleased about some things, like the return of the Williams running game and kicker Joe Mallock making two kicks to improve his consecutive field goal mark to 11. The third-year Eph head coach was more disappointed in the missed opportunities, the missed tackles and the missed coverages.

"It was what we didn’t do. We didn’t cover No. 11 [Driscoll]. We don’t get the stops that we need, timely stops," said Kelton. "We weren’t disciplined enough at doing all the things that we have been pretty good at for a long time."

Alex Scyocurka made his return to the Williams lineup and rushed 13 times for 78 yards. Kristian Lapointe had 53 yards on 17 carries and a touchdown. But Adam Marske was only 13 of 29 for 137 yards and three interceptions.

Driscoll had a NESCAC offensive player-of-the-week kind of afternoon. The senior wide receiver caught 12 passes for 250 yards and touchdowns of 28, 50 and 41 yards. He came up six yards shy of the school record for most receiving yards in a game. Tight end Billy Chapman caught eight balls for 112 yards. Both were career-highs for the receivers.

It may only be four games into an eight-game NESCAC season, but after Middlebury dispatched Williams, Panthers head coach Bob Ritter got a water bucket shower. The shower put an exclamation point on the end of a 11-game Williams winning streak over Middlebury. Ritter had been 0-11 as a head coach against the Ephs.

"I’ve always had a tough time with these guys. They’ve had great teams and we hadn’t beaten them in a long time," Ritter said with a smile.

Middlebury never trailed and took a 10-6 lead into halftime. The outcome was decided in the third quarter.

The Panthers took the third-quarter kickoff and went 84 yards in seven plays, scoring on Foote’s 50-yard TD pass to Driscoll. Williams answered back with a 10-play, 84-yard scoring drive that Kristian Lapointe capped off with a five-yard touchdown run. It was 16-13, and if Williams could get a stop, maybe they’d get the lead.

That didn’t happen as the Panthers went 82 yards in 18 plays and when Foote hit Brendan Rankowitz on a 13-yard touchdown pass, it was too much for Williams to recover from.

To reach Howard Herman:
hherman@berkshireeagle.com,
(413) 496-6253.
On Twitter: @howardherman.