Sunday, March 9, 2014
By Travis Lazarczyk firstname.lastname@example.org
The Colby-Bates-Bowdoin rivalry kicks off this weekend when Colby College plays at Bates. The series ended in a three-way tie last season, the fourth three-way tie since 1979, and the second in three years. With the tie, the trophy remained with Bowdoin, which won the title in 2010.
Colby (1-4) at Bates (2-3)
When: 1 p.m. Saturday
Where: Garcelon Field, Lewiston
Last season: Colby 37, Bates 13
Key players: Colby — QB Justin Ciero, G John Gilboy, WR/DB Jason Buco, LB Henry Nelson, DL Ryan Veillette, DB Phil Amato. Bates — QB Trevor Smith, RB Patrick George, WR Shawn Doherty, LB Josh Chronopoulos, DB Andrew Kukesh, DB Kyle Starr.
Outlook: With Smith at the helm of its option offense, Bates is second in the New England Small College Athletic Conference in rushing yards per game (212.4 ypg). Smith has 333 yards rushing and 558 passing. Bates leads the league in turnover margin, and is plus-11 in the category. Colby is coming off its first win of the season, a 32-29 come-from-behind victory over Hamilton. A freshman, Ciero had his best game last week, throwing for 260 yards and three touchdowns, all three scoring passes coming in the fourth quarter. Nelson was NESCAC Co-Defensive Player of the Week for his 17 tackle effort, and leads the Mules defense.
"This is a great tradition we have here. You've got to love rivalry games. If you can't get juiced for that, you must be dead," Colby senior guard John Gilboy, a co-captain, said.
Bates last won the CBB in 2002. Colby hasn't won the CBB since 2005, but senior co-captain Phil Amato said the Mules are just focused on Bates for now.
"Once we get through Bates, we'll start thinking of Bowdoin and the trophy," Amato, a defensive back, said. "They (Bates) have a pretty good team, but we're confident in what we can do."
The series continues next week when Bates plays at Bowdoin. On Nov. 10, Bowdoin plays at Colby.
Colby (1-4) picked up its first win of the season last week, beating Hamilton, 32-29. The Mules earned the win in dramatic fashion. Trailing 29-13 entering the fourth quarter, Colby scored 19 unanswered points to win the game.
"I think it showed everybody on the team just what we're capable of. We can face any type of adversity," Amato said. "We know we were 0-4 before Hamilton, but we believed in what we're doing and knew the type of players we have on this team. It wasn't that much of a surprise to see us come back against Hamilton."
Heading into games against its two biggest rivals (in between Bates and Bowdoin, Colby plays at Tufts), last week's win was a confidence booster, Colby head coach Jonathan Michaeles said.
"It was an unbelievable game," Michaeles said. "Guys just keep plugging, and that game, that's what we did. Guys just kept plugging away. We never panicked. We just kept playing."
• • •
In Bates (2-3), the Colby defense gets the challenge of trying to stop the triple option. Bates is the only team in the New England Small College Athletic Conference that runs the triple option offense. Defending it comes down to one thing: Do your job.
"It's going to be assignment football. Everybody's got to do their job and trust that their teammates will do their jobs," Amato said. "Nobody can beat them individually. It's got to be a team win."
Added Michaeles: "Everybody's got to play their responsibility. You know what you're going to get in the run game, and it is difficult to stop. They're going to take some shots down the field. They've got some talented receivers who can stretch the defense. That's why we really have to not just stop the run, stop the whole attack."
Senior quarterback Trevor Smith does a nice job running the Bobcats. Smith leads Bates with 333 yards rushing, and has thrown for 558 yards. Patrick George has 307 yards rushing for the Bobcats.
"We know that it's going to be a difficult game and we're going to get their very best," Michaeles said.
• • •
Bowdoin (1-4) will warm up for the CBB with a trip to Wesleyan (4-1).
The Polar Bears have lost two games in a row, and the offense has struggled to put up points. Bowdoin is ninth in the NESCAC in scoring, averaging 13.6 points per game, and the Polar Bears were held to 18 or fewer points in each game this season.
A big reason for Bowdoin's lack of offense is turnovers. The Polar Bears are tied for last in the conference in the turnover margin at minus-7.
• • •
Husson will try for its first Eastern Collegiate Football Conference win of the season, at SUNY-Maritime on Saturday.
Husson (1-6, 0-4 ECFC) does have a win over a conference foe, Anna Maria, but the game on Sept. 15 was considered a non-conference game. The Eagles will play at Anna Maria on Nov. 10 in a game that will count in the conference standings.
Travis Lazarczyk -- 861-9242