WILLIAMSTOWN -- There are going to be a lot of mirrors getting a lot of use on the Williams College campus this week.
Losing your first three games for the first time in nearly three decades will cause a lot of soul-searching and looking in the mirror for the Ephs, who fell to Bates 14-10 in Saturday’s home opener at Weston Field.
"I think the first game was, the second game was and today was. We’ve had to look at ourselves in the mirror two years ago when this league took a turn for the better," said Williams tailback Alex Scyocurka, who rushed for 112 yards on 24 carries. "Williams football, you just can’t turn the switch on, on Saturday. Every team can compete and we’re 0-3 right now. The proof is in the pudding."
The Ephs led 10-7 at halftime when Joe Mallock kicked a school-record 46-yard field goal. But the Bobcats held the Ephs scoreless in the second half as the visitors from Maine won their third straight against Williams. The Ephs used a double hook-and-ladder play to get inside Bates territory with 40 seconds to play in the game, but quarterback Tom Murphy’s pass was intercepted in the end zone by Josh Freedland with 3 seconds left to ice the victory.
Williams, meanwhile, hadn’t lost three straight games since Hall of Fame coach Dick Farley’s first season in 1987. Williams ended up that season 4-4 and won the Little Three championship. In 2013, that seems like miles away.
"We just need to do everything we’ve been doing and do it a lot better, and hit it harder than we have before," Eph linebacker James O’Grady said. "We have five games left. We need to finish them on our terms."
Mallock’s field goal came with three seconds left in the first half. It broke Scott Sobolewski’s record field goal of 44 yards, which Sobolewski booted against Middlebury in 2006. The kick gave Williams the halftime lead, and the Ephs could have taken control of the game by taking the opening kickoff of the third quarter. Instead, the Ephs went 3-and-out, and that gave the Bobcats new life.
The game-winning drive started on the Bates 34-yard line as the third quarter ended. Fourteen plays later, Ryan Curit took a handoff from Matt Cannone and ran 2 yards for the go-ahead touchdown. Williams appeared to have the Bobcats stopped on the Eph 31 when Cannone’s pass for tight end Harrison Murphy -- the Williams quarterback’s younger brother -- was incomplete. But Bates coach Mark Harriman chose to go for it on fourth-and-11 and Cannone hit Kevin Davis for a 14-yard completion and a first down. Four plays later, Curit scored.
The Williams defense stopped a Bates drive on the Eph 23 with 55 seconds left. Murphy completed a pass to Greg Payton, who pitched back to Kristian Lapointe. Then Lapointe pitched to Scyocurka, and the Ephs were in business in Bobcat territory. A holding call started the drive on the 36 instead of the 26, but Williams could not get the ball in the end zone.
"Late mistakes always hurt you," Williams coach Aaron Kelton said. "We’ve got to be better and more disciplined and doing the things we were told.
"When you’re a young team, you have to keep your focus. We haven’t done a good job with that."
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