LEWISTON, Maine — It was another workmanlike performance by the Williams College football team. It was also a performance that kept the Ephs perfect.
Williams got three touchdowns from running back Joel Nicholas and the defense held host Bates to 7 points until the waining minutes of the fourth quarter en route to a 38-21 win over the Bobcats Saturday afternoon.
Nicholas ran the ball 10 times for 66 yards and scored on touchdown runs of 3 and 36 yards. He also caught a 12-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Bobby Maimaron in the third quarter.
With the win, the Ephs improve to 6-0. Williams will host 6-0 Trinity next Saturday. The Bantams scored 35 points in the second half on Saturday to beat Colby 35-12.
In Saturday's game in Maine, the Eph defense did give up 340 yards in total offense, but 151 of those yards came on Bates' final two series of the game, both of which resulted in touchdowns. By that time, the Ephs led 38-7.
Things, however, did not start out so well for coach Mark Raymond's team. Bates took the opening kickoff and started its drive on its own 19-yard line. The Bobcats were 2 of 4 on third-down conversions on the drive and kept that drive going on a fourth-down, 11-yard pass from Brendan Costa to Sean Bryant.
Bates had first-and-goal from the Williams 6-yard line. A touchdown here would have given the Bobcats a huge jolt of momentum. The big play of the drive was a 7-yard loss by running back Caleb Bolden, tackled by Ian Devine. After a third-down incompletion, Simon Redfern came on to attempt a 30-yard field goal. The kick was blocked and the aforementioned Devine fell on the ball on the Bobcat 20, Williams dodging a bullet.
The Ephs then marched from the 20 to the Bates 4-yard line, when the drive stalled. Ivan Shuran, who had yet to miss a field goal in his first-year season, split the uprights from 21 yards out. The 3-0 lead put Williams ahead for keeps.
The momentum picked up for Williams when the defense forced a three-and-out. The Ephs went 71 yards in nine plays, with Nicholas scoring on a 3-yard run. Twice on the drive, Maimaron found Will Loffrido for 18 yards to keep the drive alive. The PAT kick put Williams up 10-0 with just under 14 minutes left in the second quarter.
Maimaron made it 17-0 when he scored on a 17-yard run on the Ephs' next possession, and the Bobcats never got close.
Seven different Ephs carried the ball and six different players caught passes. In addition to Nicholas, Dan Vaughn had 56 yards on 11 carries, Mario Fischetti had 48 yards on nine carries, while Maimaron had 21 yards on eight carries. That included three sacks.
Mike DeGasperis caught four of Maimaron's 15 passes for 61 yards. Loffredo had three catches for 42 yards.
"We have some great ball carriers," said Raymond on the Ephs' committee-based approach to the running game. "Those three guys are all capable running backs, so it's been a luxury to keep those guys fresh."
Raymond said he liked the growing rapport between Maimaron and DeGasperis in the second straight game that wide receiver Frank Stola has missed due to injury.
"Mike's been steady. Bobby trusts him, and he's always been in the right spots and has become a go-to guy," the Williams coach said.
Defensively, the Ephs were still missing linebacker Jarrett Wesner, and were also missing linebacker Tim Landolfi, who had stepped in for Wesner. Coleston Smith had a team-high 11 tackles and was credited with 1 1/2 sacks. Sophomore defensive back James Hemmer and sophomore linebacker Zach Barnes each had six tackles. First-year linebacker Ethan Scott, a former Wahconah and Berkshire School standout, had four solo tackles.