WILLIAMSTOWN -- The singing and the celebrating could be heard up and down Spring Street. All the members of the Williams football team could do was stand and watch.
That’s because visiting Amherst brought down the curtain on Weston Field by beating the Ephs 20-7 Saturday afternoon.
"Right now, this feeling is, I don’t know how to describe it," Williams linebacker John Bond said. "It’s just such a horrible feeling."
Williams never led in the game, trailed 14-0 at halftime, but got an early touchdown in the third quarter to make it 14-7. The Ephs didn’t score again as Amherst won its third straight game against the Ephs, and its third consecutive win on Weston Field for the first time since the mid 1980s.
"To beat Williams on their field, to beat Williams at all is absolutely huge," said Amherst quarterback Max Lippe. "It’s such a great rivalry. To have a streak like that, to win three games in a row -- all those games on their field and in their last game here -- is everything you could ask for in a season."
The loss ended the first losing season for a Williams football team since the Ephs went 2-5-1 in 1985.
The game was, in essence, a microcosm of the Ephs’ 2-6 football season. Williams started slowly on Saturday, picked it up in the second half, but was unable to close things out at the end.
"Like I told them, it doesn’t feel good," said Williams head coach Aaron Kelton.
The Lord Jeffs dominated the first half with 205 total yards to 76 for Williams, but after one quarter it was scoreless.
Amherst took the lead for keeps on a 3-yard touchdown run by Nick Kelly that capped off a 11-play, 78-yard drive. The key play was a fake punt at midfield by Amherst’s Jackson McGonagle. He ran the ball 17 yards to keep the Lord Jeffs’ drive going. Four plays later, Kelly followed up a 34-yard run by Lippe, with his touchdown.
The Lord Jeffs took a 14-0 lead at halftime after Brian Ragone caught a 6-yard touchdown pass from Lippe, who was 21 of 35 for 153 yards, to complete a 13-play, 67-yard drive.
Williams took the second-half kickoff and promptly punted. The Eph defense forced Amherst to a three-and-out, and on the first play of the next drive, Williams struck.
Sophomore quarterback Mark Pomella, who was 12 of 20 for 164 yards and two interceptions, rolled right at his 24 and threw back left to a streaking Richie Beaton. Beaton beat the Amherst secondary for a 76-yard touchdown catch-and-run. The longest play of the Eph season made it 14-7.
Williams held Amherst to a pair of Phillip Nwosu field goals the rest of the way.
The Ephs made a fourth-quarter run with Adam Marske in at quarterback. The Ephs marched from their 26 to the Amherst 7-yard line, but Marske fumbled on a handoff to Marco Hernandez and Amherst’s Ned Deane recovered.
Pomella is one of 17 Williams starters who return next year. He said he won’t soon forget the Amherst celebration.
"I know I’m not alone, but myself and some of the other people on this team are going to work harder than anybody else in our league," he said. "We’re going to come back hungry and ready to win."
To reach Howard Herman:
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On Twitter: @howardherman.