WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. – First-year Mohamed Diawara caught four passes for a career-high 92 yards and sophomore Christian Olivieri added a pair of catches for a career-high 78 yards in the Bates football team's 35-7 loss at Williams Saturday afternoon.
The Ephs (5-1) got ahead early, courtesy of their special teams. On a Bates punt, Luke Apuzzi brushed past blockers for the block, setting up teammate Jarrett Wesner to pick the ball up and run unopposed to the end zone.
Bates (0-6) almost recovered on the next drive. On a play-action pass on third down, junior quarterback Brendan Costa (Westport, Mass.) threw to a wide-open Olivieri (Hull, Mass) who maneuvered past two defenders for nearly twenty yards after the catch. He was stopped on a touchdown-saving tackle by safety Ben Anthony at the one-yard line. But the Williams defense stopped Bates from converting four run plays in a row and the score held at 7-0.
The Ephs proceeded to drive 99 yards on 14 plays for their second score of the day. Quarterback Bobby Maimaron and the offense kept the Bates defense off balance with a combination of runs and passes, steadily moving upfield. Soon, the Ephs found themselves in a first-and-goal situation. Maimaron went to his biggest receiver, sophomore Tyler Spiezio, who came down with the ball in the corner of the end zone for a touchdown.
Williams extended its lead once more before the half. One drive after turning the ball over on downs in the red zone, Maimaron ran a play-action pass and found Spiezio again, streaking downfield well past the last man on defense. He was able to beat his pursuers for 75 yards, leading Williams to a 21-0 lead.
The second half got off to a chaotic start. Rocco Giandomenico picked off a Costa pass with 8:11 left in the third quarter, setting the Ephs up for another score by putting them in good field position. However, on the very next play, senior captain Jon Lindgren (Plainville, Conn.) forced Joel Nicholas to fumble after a long run and junior Devin Clyburn ( New York, N.Y.) recovered, giving the ball back to the Bobcats.
The Williams defense forced a three-and-out, handing the ball back to Maimaron. And Eph running back Dan Vaughn played the starring role in each play of the ensuing drive, rushing for 38 yards and catching a wide-open touchdown pass for 26 yards.
The Bobcats fell behind 35-0 before getting on the board in the fourth quarter.
Starting at their own 25, the Bobcats found success through the air, with junior tight end Isaiah Saunders (Tilton, N.H.) reeling in a Costa pass for 19 yards and Diawara (Philadelphia, Pa.) securing a 25-yard reception to the Williams 28. Costa connected with junior Liam Spillane (Byfield, Mass.) for 17 yards before the quarterback did the rest himself, rushing the ball in from 11 yards out, getting Bates in the scoring column with 7:38 left in the game.
Diawara caught another long pass on Bates' final drive but the Bobcats stalled on the Williams 26.
Costa completed 16-29 passes for 241 yards and two interceptions. He also ran the ball eight times for a team-high 73 yards and a touchdown. Spillane added 17 carries for 65 yards on the ground to go along with three catches for 25 yards.
Junior Liam Greene (Bedford, N.H.) led the way on defense, tallying a game-high eight tackles and one sack.
Maimaron completed 11-18 passes for 209 yards and three touchdowns. He also ran the ball 10 times for 61 yards. Vaughn carried the ball 13 times for a game-high 96 yards and caught three passes for 39 yards and a touchdown.
The Bobcats neutralized star Williams receiver Frank Stola, holding him to two catches for 14 yards. But Justin Nelson caught three passes for 97 yards and Spiezio made the most of his two catches, which went for a combined 81 yards and two touchdowns.
Wesner and Colton Tangney tallied seven tackles each to lead the Williams defense.
Bates hopes to reclaim the CBB series title this year, starting next Saturday when the Bobcats visit last year's champion Colby for a 1pm kick.