Football Is Solid In Impressive Opener

Trinity 21 : Colby 7

By Colin Ruane: Sports Writer

In front of an enthusiastic crowd of students and parents, the Bantam football squad started off the 1998 NESCAC season on the right foot. Even with last year's leading rusher, Sherman Francis '99, on the sidelines due to a pulled hamstring, Trinity dominated the Colby White Mules throughout all four quarters of play. This domination fueled by outstanding play by the defense and a noticeably improved performance by the offense gave the Bantams their first regular season victory with a final score of 21-7.

At the end of the first quarter, Trinity already had a 14-7 lead on Colby due to the impressive play of first time starter quarterback Liam McNeilly '00, who connected with halfback and captain Marc Maccarini '99 for a 22-yard touchdown pass early in the game. The offense seemed to break out of their 6-play base offense, deciding to let McNeilly throw the ball, resulting in the first Trinity touchdown of the 1998 season, putting the Bantams up 7-0. However, the White Mules battled right back and met Trinity at 7 when they recovered a fumble at the Trinity 25 yard-line, running it in to tie the score. To break the tie, runningback Mike Ladd '00 took the ball for a 18-yard run into the end zone, solidifying a lead which Trinity would not relinquish.

The overpowering play of the Bantams' defense was evident throughout the first two quarters of the game, but it became obvious early in the third quarter when linebackers Jeff Iudice '00, Dale Phelps '00 and Brian Lahaie '00 personally introduced the Colby quarterback to the fresh grass of Jessee Field by violently slamming him to the ground. Ultimately, the Colby quarterback left the game with an ankle injury, feeling the wrath of the Trinity defense. This play would be the one that put Trinity up 21-7. When Colby's quarterback was taken down, he released the ball, which was picked off by free saftey Sean Cooney '99, who ran it in for 73 yards, giving Trinity a cushioned lead and eventually the win.

The real highlight of this game was the dominating and reliable play of the Bantams' defense. Linemen Blue Eaves '00 and Nate Barad '00 put up an outstanding performance, stopping any attempt from Colby to move up field. All in all, the Bantam defense was responsible for holding Colby to just four first downs and 87 yards throughout the second half of Saturday's game. The above average performance of the defensive line is what allowed Trinity to clinch the win over Colby in the season opener.
As for the offense, it was apparent that they were having a few problems completing plays in the air, but on the ground there seemed to be no problem at all.

Although McNeilly's first appearance as starting quarterback wasn't perfect, finishing 6 for 12 with a total of 83 yards, he came through on the ground attack, assisting running back Maccarini with quite a few successful hand-offs. The Bantams' ground team ended up rushing for 173 yards against Colby and Maccarini highlighted the offensive play by gaining 82 of those 173 yards himself. The Trinity offense came through on some big plays to give Trinity the 21-7 win, but it seemed as though they were supported by a Bantam defense who gave them preferred field positions.

At the end of the season opener, Trinity fans, coaches and players alike were pleased with the outcome. It may be back to the drawing board for the offense, who struggled a bit during this game against Colby. The defense, however, which now seems to be fueling Trinity toward a NESCAC championship, played an outstanding game and should continue their terror next week when the Bantams battle the Williams Ephs.

NOTE: This document belongs to the Trinity College Tripod. I am storing it here because the Tripod doesn't keep an archive of past articles.