Photo by Charlie Quigg '09

Hannon scored all three touchdowns for the Jeffs on Saturday.

Amherst Football Ends Season With 34-23 Loss At Williams

By Kevin Graber, special to Amherst College Sports Information

November 12, 2005

WILLIAMSTOWN , MA When E.J. Mills was elevated to head coach at Amherst in 1997, the goal was simple beat Williams, and he did, ending a 13-year winless streak in the series with a 20-12 win in 2000. The next plateau? Turn the tide, and he pulled that off, downing Williams three times during a five-year stretch, including last year's 13-10 Amherst victory on Pratt Field. Today's 120th meeting between the two teams represented a significant and final rung in the ladder win at Williams for the first time since 1985 and put the Ephs' 19-year string of home dominance to rest.

The Jeffs will have to wait.

Amherst compounded two decades of Weston Field misfortune with a 34-23 loss, finishing its season at 5-3 and surrendering the coveted Little Three title to Williams (6-2). The Jeffs struggled defensively, as Williams rebounded from an early 7-0 deficit, racked up 488 yards of total offense and outscored Amherst 24-13 in the second half with a punishing ground attack and a pair of quarterbacks sophomore Pat Lucey and junior Sean Gleeson who played nearly mistake-free football.

Amherst asserted itself early, marching 69 yards on 11 plays on its opening possession, capped by junior standout Mark Hannon's two-yard touchdown plunge for a 7-0 lead. Hannon would pierce the end zone twice more en route to 224 all-purpose yards and was the star of the game for the Lord Jeffs. Junior quarterback Nick Kehoe showed flashes of brilliance as well, finishing 19-for-35 for 170 yards.

But Williams' offense was too much as they knotted the score 10-10 at the half with a 37-yard field goal and a 16-yard scoring strike from Gleason to junior tight end Jim O'Leary.

After the break, Williams racked up 17 unanswered points for a 27-10 edge from which the Jeffs would never recover. Amherst showed signs of life when junior defensive back Mike Salerno made a spectacular one-handed interception near midfield, and Hannon capitalized with a 43-yard touchdown sprint on fourth-and-inches, cutting the deficit to 27-17 with 11:02 left in regulation. Williams answered again with an eight-play, 56 yard scoring drive, as junior Cory Catelli hit paydirt with a backbreaking three-yard touchdown run.

Kehoe managed to lead the Jeffs on one final scoring drive, highlighted by a 36-yard heave to sophomore wideout Mike Myers and cemented by Hannon's two-yard jaunt. But the ensuing on-side kick failed, and Williams was content to run out the clock on the game and Amherst 's season.

Hannon paced the Jeffs with 66 yards rushing and added 80 receiving yards and another 110 in kickoff returns. Senior tailback Ngai Otieno pitched in with 53 rushing yards on 15 carries, while Myers hauled in a team-high six catches for 48 yards.

Salerno led the defense with nine tackles, an interception and a pass deflection. Senior Justin Roemer and sophomore Jake Spadafora followed suit with seven tackles each, while seniors Nick Zieler, L.J. Spinnato and Kelvin Coker, junior Greg Muecke and sophomore Chris Mottau tallied six tackles apiece. Roemer also nailed a 26-yard field goal in the second quarter.

Rookie running back Brian Morrissey led Williams with 118 rushing yards on 18 carries. Junior tight end Jim O'Leary caught a game-high seven passes for 74 yards and two touchdowns.