Berkshire Eagle Staff
MIDDLETOWN, Conn. -- For the first time in nearly three decades, a Williams College football team will finish its season with a losing record.
The Ephs (2-5) were guaranteed to finish under .500 after a fourth-quarter comeback fell short in a 16-14 Little Three loss at Wesleyan on Saturday afternoon.
The last time a Williams team had finished under .500 was in 1985, when a Bob Odell-coached team finished 2-5-1.
Sophomore quarterback Mark Pomella stepped in for Adam Marske and almost pulled off the upset against undefeated Wesleyan (7-0) but a long pass was intercepted by the Cardinals’ Jake Bussani with 2:43 left in the game.
Williams had two time outs left, but Kyle Gibson picked up a big first down with 1:43 left. The Ephs called their final time out and Cardinals quarterback Jesse Warren took a knee three times to run out the clock and give the capacity crowd of 6,150 something to cheer about.
Pomella, the third quarterback Williams coach Aaron Kelton has used this season, finished 19 of 30 for 121 yards. He was sacked twice and intercepted twice.
The Cardinals are Little Three champions for the first time in 43 seasons. It’s Wesleyan’s first outright title since 1970, and if the Cardinals beat Trinity next week, they’ll claim their first-ever NESCAC title.
For nearly three quarters, the Ephs had nothing on the scoreboard as the Wesleyan defense held Pomella and the offense in check. Late in the third quarter, the Ephs finally got going.
A 17-yard punt by Wesleyan’s Josh Hurwitz gave the Ephs the ball at their 45 yard line with 6:09 left in the third quarter. Fourteen plays later, Marco Hernandez scored on a two-yard run. The kick by Joe Mallock made it 13-7.
Twice on the drive, the Ephs converted on third down. They needed a fourth-down conversion play and a 7-yard run by Hernandez kept the drive going.
Williams’ defense held Wesleyan to one touchdown, a second-quarter run by LaDarius Drew, and two Sebastian Aguirre field goals. The Cardinals got a 22-yard field goal from Aguirre with 4:49 left, and it was 16-7.
The Ephs took over on their 35 when the kickoff went out of bounds. Pomella completed a 10-yard pass to Greg Payton for a first down, and a 15-yard personal foul penalty against Wesleyan moved the ball to the Cardinals’ 31.
The sophomore quarterback from Marshfield hit Alex Way for 13 yards and then found Steve Kiesel for 14, giving the Ephs a first down on the Wesleyan 4-yard line. On the next play, the offensive line opened a hole for Alex Scyocurka, and the senior from Longmeadow scored on a four-yard run.