Football preview: Bates (0-1) hits the road to take on NESCAC champion Trinity (1-0)

Jon Lindgren led Bates' defense with 12 tackles in the Bobcats' Week 1 loss to Amherst. (File photo by Theophil Syslo/Bates College)

LEWISTON, Maine -- While the Bates football team played far from perfectly in last Saturday's 19-7 loss to Amherst, Malik Hall's debut as the Bobcats' head coach, there were certainly positive takeaways from the game for the new-look Bobcats, particularly with a defense that held one of the better teams in the NESCAC to 19 points and won the turnover battle 3-1 against the Mammoths.

But fortunately or not, an even more imposing opponent looms ahead for the Bobcats in their first road game of the 2018 season in Trinity, the defending NESCAC champions who have defeated Bates 22 straight games dating to 1979. Including last week's 35-0 victory at Colby, the Bantams are 24-2 since the start of the 2016 season.


Bates College at Trinity College
When: Saturday, Sept. 22, 1 p.m.
Where: Jessee/Miller Field | Hartford, Conn.
Live Coverage: Video | Stats
All-Time Series: Trinity leads 36-7
Last Meeting: Trinity 51, Bates 0 (Lewiston, Maine | Sept. 23, 2017)


SCOUTING TRINITY/TRINITY LAST WEEK:

Defending conference champion Trinity remains the premier football program in the NESCAC, and last week's 35-0 win at Colby, their 25th consecutive season-opening victory, didn't change that. The Bantams top the NESCAC in yards per game (573.0) and rushing yards (344), and are second in passing defense (93 ypg) and third in total defense (167.0 yards allowed).

Senior running back Max Chipouras after rushing 15 times for 173 yards and three touchdowns in the first half against the Mules. He averaged 11.5 yards per carry, scored the game's first points on a four-yard touchdown run in the first quarter, and added scoring scampers of two and 64 yards later in the game.

Sophomore Jonathan Girard finished with 166 receiving yards and two touchdowns in the first half alone, including a 97-yard receiving score from junior QB Jordan Vazzano to put the Bantams up 14-0 before catching a second touchdown that made it 21-0. Vazzano finished with 210 yards passing, completing 9-of-26 attempts in his first game under center for Trinity.

A handful of rookies led the way defensively for Trinity in the shutout. Robert Levine  had a game-high 12 tackles in his first collegiate game, while classmate and fellow linebacker Brian Casagrande made nine stops.

SCOUTING BATES/BATES LAST WEEK:

The Bates football team held Amherst scoreless in the first half and nearly came from behind to win in the second half before falling 19-7 to the Mammoths Saturday afternoon on Garcelon Field in head coach Malik Hall's debut at Bates.

"We played hard today but getting better unfortunately does not always result in a win," Hall said. "If we keep getting after it and keep building it, we'll understand how hard it is to win and we'll be able to win tough games." 

Jack Hickey carried the ball 22 times for 137 yards and a touchdown to pace the Mammoths (1-0) and quarterback Ollie Eberth ran for 58 yards and two touchdowns to go along with 112 passing yards.

The Bobcats (0-1) got 44 rushing yards and a touchdown from sophomore quarterback Brendan Costa (Westport, Mass.) to go along with 12 completions for 90 yards on 21 attempts through the air. Sophomore Parker Smith (Claremont, N.H.) caught three passes for 40 yards on the afternoon.

On defense, junior Jon Lindgren (Plainville, Conn.) led all players with 12 total tackles, including a tackle for loss. Bates forced three turnovers and only turned the ball over once themselves. Senior Walter Washington (Rockland, N.Y.), sophomore Connor Hunt (Duxbury, Mass.) and first-year Michael Bulman (Hanover, Mass.) all recovered fumbles on defense for the Bobcats. Bulman had an impressive collegiate debut, sacking Eberth once and recording four solo stops, including two tackles for loss.

LAST MEETING:

Trinity steamrolled Bates for 31 points in the first quarter and only increased its lead from there, for a 51-0 victory over the Bobcats in their home opener Saturday at Garcelon Field.

The Bantams (2-0), defending NESCAC champions, won their 11th straight game dating to 2015, while Bates fell to 0-2 with its third straight loss.

Trinity opened the game with an 11-play, 55-yard drive culminating in a 22-yard field goal by Eric Sachse. On Bates' third play from scrimmage, from the Bobcat 15-yard line, quarterback Sandy Plashkes was hit as he threw a pass into the hands of Trinity's Dominique Seagears, who ran untouched into the end zone for a 10-0 lead just four minutes into the game.

Bates got the ball back and gained seven yards in a three-and-out possession, and John Spears returned Justin Foley's punt 51 yards to the Bates 16. One play later, Chipouras scampered into the end zone for a 17-0 lead with 8:54 left in the opening quarter.

Bates fumbled the ball away on its next possession and the Bantams recovered at the Bates 15, setting up another touchdown as quarterback Sonny Puzzo found Cliff David open over the middle for a 24-0 lead with 6:04 left in the first quarter.

Bates' Jaason Lopez injected some life into the homecoming crowd with an electric 63-yard kickoff return, setting up the Bobcats on the Trinity 32. But the Bobcats stalled out and turned the ball over on downs at the Trinity 30. The Bantams then drove 70 yards on nine plays for their fourth touchdown of the first quarter, finished off by Puzzo's 17-yard pass to Jonathan Girard.

The second quarter offered no relief to the hosts, as Trinity struck for back-to-back touchdown drives of 63 and 61 yards, respectively.

Puzzo finished the game with four touchdown passes and 192 yards, completing 12 of 18 attempts. Chipouras gained 86 yards and a touchdown on 11 rushes. 

Bates defensive back Coy Candelario had a game- and career-high 12 tackles in the contest, including nine solo stops. Conner Suraci added a career-high nine tackles.

BATES' PROBABLE STARTERS:

SPREAD OFFENSE
LT 70 Matt Flanagan 
LG 68 Phil Simplicio 
C 64 Jack O'Brien 
RG 77 Yanni Falaras 
RT 74 Dan Marino 
TE 85 Isaiah Saunders 
WR 1 Kevin Claflin 
WR 26 Jackson Hayes 
WR 13 Marcus Ross 
QB 3 Brendan Costa 
RB 30 Zach Doyon 

3-4 DEFENSE
DE 97 Shane Collins 
NT 99 Ramon Ruiz 
DT 94 Walter Washington 
OLB 95 Tyler Harrington 
ILB 8 Chase Fulton 
ILB 37 Peter Daley 
OLB 33 Liam Greene 
CB 7 Coy Candelario 
SS 6 Jon Lindgren 
FS 4 Anthony Costa
CB 22 Devin Clyburn 

SPECIALISTS
K 80 Karim Darwiche 
P 2 Justin Foley 

TRINITY'S PROBABLE STARTERS:

MULTIPLE OFFENSE
QB 13 Jordan Vazzano
RB 22 Max Chipouras
TE 29 Joe Samuelman
T 72 Austin Baiardi
G 77 Matt Evans
C 66 Steve O'Reilly
G 64 Alex Wukowitz
T 63 Kalvin Guillermo
WR 12 Koby Schofer
WR 6 Bryan Vieira
WR 2 Jonathan Girard

3-4 DEFENSE
CB 25 Ian McDonald
CB 26 Matt Patry
S 34 Chandler Colberg
S 4 Sameir Madden
OLB 11 Dago Picon-Roura
OLB 40 Shane Libby
ILB 33 Daniel Negron
ILB 49 Jacob Martilotti
DE 54 Nick Rose
NT 69 Corey Jean-Jacques
DE 50 Devyn Perkins

SPECIALISTS
K #38 Eric Sachse
P 91 Kimball Winans