WILLIAMSTOWN >> The singing could be heard throughout downtown Williamstown Saturday afternoon. Unfortunately for the members of the Williams College football team, they were doing the listening.
"It's in the back of our mind [now] every single day when we go in the [football] office, in the weight room or watching film," said Williams sophomore defensive lineman Chris Hattar. "We look back on this and it burns at us and motivates us to be better.
"As underclassmen, we know what it takes. We know what it's about. It's only going to make us better."
The scoreboard in the corner of Farley-Lamb Field read Amherst 17, Williams 7. It was the fifth consecutive time the Lord Jeffs had beaten Williams, and the victory extended Amherst's consecutive-game winning streak to 19. It is also Amherst's second consecutive NESCAC championship and kept Williams from winning a share of the Little Three championship since the Ephs won the title in 2010.
The winning streak threatens Williams' run of NESCAC perfection. The Ephs had won 23 consecutive games from 1989-91. Willliams also went 22-0-1 from 1993-96.
With the loss, Williams finishes 2-6 for the third consecutive season.
"I'm so proud of my teammates for fighting the whole time," Williams co-captain Austin Lommen said while choking back tears. "We had a feeling, just like last year, that we were the better team and we could come out here and win. I wouldn't want to go out any other way.
"Obviously, the last play is not the way I wanted to go out. I'm so proud of my teammates — the way they fought. I'm going to remember that for the rest of my life."
The senior quarterback was intercepted on a last-second drive in the end zone. Jaymie Spears got the pick to start the Amherst celebration.
While Lommen came up on the short end of the scoreboard, he did put his name into the Williams football record book. The senior from Minneapolis was 24 for 38 on the day. Lommen set two records. He now holds the single-season record for completions with 187, breaking the record set by Joe Reardon (167) in 2004. Lommen had 313 pass attempts, breaking the mark of 272 set by Pat Lucey back in 2008.
In the 130th renewal of the "Biggest Little Game in America," both teams put on a show for the 3,000 fans in attendance and the viewers on NESN. Amherst outgained Williams 363 yards to 294 and possessed the ball nearly five minutes longer. But Williams kept Amherst quarterback Reece Foy under pressure for much of the day, sacking the sophomore from Honolulu twice.
"That's what this game is about, and our team exemplified all the things you want, other than winning the game," Williams coach Aaron Kelton said. "They played their hearts out, they got after it and they left everything they had out here. That's what we talked about all week."
The Lord Jeffs led 7-0 at halftime on a seven-yard pass from Foy to Jackson McGonagle midway through the second quarter. The Ephs did have a chance to tie the game late in the second. Williams drove to the Amherst 11 but on third down, linebacker Tom Kleyn picked off a pass by Lommen that ended the threat.
Trailing 10-0 midway through the third quarter, the Ephs had a chance to shift momentum for good. Johnny Bond hit Amherst running back Nick Kelly and Kelly fumbled. Jack Ryan recovered for Williams at the Eph 33. A quick three-and-out for Williams led to a 11-play, 67-yard drive that ended with Kenny Adinkra scoring on a 3-yard run, making it 17-0.
Williams got on the board in the fourth quarter thanks to a sterling, 10-play, 98-yard drive that culminated in Noah Sorrento's 6-yard run. Williams' defense stopped Amherst on fourth down at the Eph 15, but there was only 2:08 left.
The Ephs drove to the Amherst 18, but the pick by Spears ended the threat, and the game.
"We're looking to work harder and definitely be more disciplined," Williams safety Alex Brandeis, a junior, said. "Penalties killed us all year. I feel like we played well today. We fought and we gave it our all.
"Next year, hopefully our record will be a little better. But I love [the senior class]. They mean so much to this team and to me."