CLINTON, N.Y. -- Sam Robinson returned the opening kickoff of the second half 87 yards for a touchdown to give the Hamilton College Continentals the lead for good as the Bates football team fell 35-14 in the Bobcats' season finale Saturday afternoon.
The Continentals (3-6) blanked the Bobcats (2-7) 21-0 in the third quarter in what turned out to be the difference in the game.
But before Hamilton's big third quarter, the two teams went toe-to-toe in a very close first half of action.
Bates took the early lead thanks to a strong opening drive. Sophomore Matt Golden (New Bedford, Mass.) returned the opening kick to the Bobcat 41. First-year Brendan Costa (Westport, Mass.) completed a pass right away to senior captain Frank Williams (Brookline, Mass.) for a gain of nine yards. After senior Mickoy Nichol (Dennis Port, Mass.) ran the ball for four yards, the Bobcats went to the air again and Costa connected with Nichol for a gain of 27 to the Hamilton 19 yard line.
Golden, Nichol and Costa took turns running the ball, moving Bates to the Hamilton nine. Then junior Kyle Flaherty (Litchfield, Maine) ran up for the gut for eight yards, setting up second and goal from the one. Flaherty pounded the ball across the goal line to put Bates up 6-0. Senior Grant DeWald (Duxbury, Mass.) made the extra point and Bates led 7-0 with 11:33 remaining in the first quarter.
The Bobcat defense stepped up on Hamilton's first drive. On the Continentals' second play from scrimmage, junior Chase Fulton (Benecia, Calif.) intercepted a pass to give Bates the ball back deep in Hamilton territory. But the Bates offense went three-and-out and the Continentals blocked a 36-yard field goal attempt to keep the score 7-0.
Hamilton drove all the way down to the Bobcat 4 on its first drive in the second quarter before the Continentals attempted a 28-yard field goal that was blocked by sophomore Conner Suraci (North Haven, Conn.) and returned 44 yards by Nichol to the Hamilton 35. Bates eventually tried a field goal from 36 yards out but the kick came up just short of the crossbar.