Williams football team drops opener at Middlebury

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MIDDLEBURY, Vt. — Williams connected for two touchdowns of at least 30 yards, but kicking doomed the Ephs on opening day at Middlebury. The Panthers started the scoring with a field goal and the Ephs failed an extra point attempt and missed a three-point try, falling 17-13.

The defensive stalemate lasted until the second quarter when Carter Massengill capped a 11-play drive with a 26-yard field goal to put Middlebury on the board.

Will Jernigan, the quarterback of the Panthers, connected on just 16 of his 33 attempts through the air, but found Wyllis McKissick for an 18-yard touchdown. The Massengill kick pushed the lead to 10-0. McKissick was Jernigan's favorite target, finishing with 65 yards on four catches.

Trailing by 10 and struggling to get the ground game moving, the Ephs took to the air. Williams started the following drive at its own 45-yard line and needed just three plays to find the end zone. On third-and-two, quarterback Bobby Maimaron went for it all and found Frank Stola for a 47-yard touchdown. A fumble on Andrew Schreibstein's PAT left the Ephs trailing 10-6.

Safety Luke Apuzzi forced two fumbles and had 10 tackles for Williams on the afternoon.

Massengill missed a 20-yard field goal in the third quarter, giving Williams the ball at their own 20-yard line. With the help of an unsportsmanlike penalty on the Panthers, the Ephs marched down the field and capped a six-play 65 yard drive with another deep touchdown pass to Bobby Maimaron, this one from 30-yards out. After Schreibstein's kick sliced through the uprights, Williams had its first lead of the season at 13-10.

With roughly two minutes remaining, MIddlebury scurried down the field on 7 plays for 78 yards while chewing up two minutes of clock. Jernigan, who was 4-4 through the air for 63 yards on the game-winning drive, carried the ball into the end zone from five yards out with just 30 seconds remaining.

The Ephs stalled on the final drive as the clock hit zero on week one of the NESCAC football season. Williams will look to bounce back next Saturday against Tufts in their hope opener. Kickoff is scheduled for 1:30 p.m.

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