Saturday November 13, 2010

Williams' Pat Moffitt and Amherst's Alex Vetras have each started since they were sophomores.

WILLIAMSTOWN -- Quarterbacks like Middlebury's Donald McKillop and Tufts' Anthony Fucillo play football in NESCAC like they're playing Madden. Williams' Pat Moffitt and Amherst's Alex Vetras don't ring up the numbers like that -- they just win.

The two quarterbacks have each started 23 games for their alma maters, and will play their 24th -- and final -- game today at Pratt Field.

"They're both tremendous players. They've been in this league for a long time and understand how to run their offense," Williams head coach Aaron Kelton said. "That's what's important. They go out and they execute. It's a tribute to the coaches on both staffs who deal with them on a daily basis and get them ready to play."

The 125th Williams-Amherst game will take place today at noon in Amherst. It will be the last time Moffitt and Vetras take the field for their schools.

The senior quarterbacks have the following in common: Both have started since they were sophomores, both stand 6 feet, 1 inch tall -- according to the schools -- and both are listed at about 190 pounds. Vetras is listed at 192.

They come from the opposite coasts. Vetras is from Bellevue, Wash., while Moffitt is from Turnersville, N.J.

"It seems like we've had similar careers," Vetras said in a phone interview. "The roles we play on our teams follow the same storylines."

Amherst is a little more of a pass-first team than Williams was under Mike Whalen or is now under Kelton. That is why Vetras has thrown and completed more passes than Moffitt. The Lord Jeffs' quarterback is 156 for 262 for 1,659 yards, 15 touchdowns and only two interceptions. Moffitt is 136 of 212 for 2,045 yards, a school-record 21 touchdowns and has thrown eight picks.

Moffitt's quarterback efficiency rating is an outstanding 170.3, and he leads NESCAC. Vetras is second at 130.1.

How good is Moffitt's rating? If he were a Division I-FBS quarterback, he would be fourth in the country ahead of TCU's Andy Dalton (166.68). As it is, Moffitt is eighth in Division III.

The Williams quarterback put his name into the Ephs' record books last week, throwing four touchdown passes in the 45-7 win over Wesleyan. That lifted him from a tie with Mike Bajakian and Joe Reardon for the most TD passes in a single season to his current record of 21.

Moffitt has thrown for 2,045 yards, one better than the record set by Sean Keenan in 1999. Moffitt also has 41 career TD passes, breaking the mark of 38 set by Reardon in 2004.

"I'm not thinking about that right now," Moffitt said. "I don't care about it right now. I'd rather go 8-0 and not have any records than have every record and go 7-1. They mean nothing to me right now."

Moffitt and Vetras have started for their teams since they were sophomores and have identical 13-4 records. Moffitt had led Williams to identical 6-2 seasons before the current 7-0. Vetras quarterbacked the Lord Jeffs to an 8-0 record last year and 5-3 in 2008.

Both quarterbacks are 1-1 in their Williams-Amherst battles. Moffitt led the Ephs to a win on Pratt Field in 2008 and Vetras quarterbacked the Lord Jeffs to a win last year.

"It's a little bit of a rivalry" between them, Vetras said. "He won at my field and I won on his field. It would mean a lot to go out on top and get that second win."

How does the Williams half of this NESCAC dynamic duo scout the other? Moffitt said he likes to watch his team's defense play, so he's had the opportunity to hone in on Vetras.

"He's a very accurate, smart quarterback and he doesn't force many throws," Moffitt said. "He's mobile too. Neither of us are Mike Vick, but he moves around well in the pocket and makes plays with his feet when he has to."

Last week against Trinity, Vetras had a streak of 221 passes without an interception broken. He has also thrown at least one touchdown pass in each of his last 23 games.

Vetras, whose mother Diane is a Dapson -- as in the Dapsons who run the Berkshire Eye Center in Pittsfield and Great Barrington -- is still shaking off the effects of last week's 28-13 loss at Trinity. It was a game where the Bantams scored 21 points in the final six minutes of the game to snatch the win from Amherst.

"From my perspective, [the loss] is on me and the offense. We didn't move the ball enough. We didn't put enough points on the board," Vetras said. "Everyone on the team is pretty hard on ourselves."

That was last week. This week, it's for a share of the NESCAC title for Amherst and a chance to beat their rivals two years in a row.

"You don't need any extra motivation for Williams," the Amherst quarterback said.

"It's just been great playing against him the past three years," said Moffitt. "You can't ask for a better competitor to play against."