Mark Hannon '07
Junior wideout Mark Hannon rolled up 175 total yards, including a 90-yard touchdown run, on Saturday.

Jeffs Open Season with 28-3 Win at Hamilton


September 24, 2005

CLINTON, NY - The Amherst College football team opened its season with a decisive 28-3 victory at NESCAC foe Hamilton College on Saturday. The Jeffs rolled up 485 yards of total offense, including 320 on the ground, while holding the Continentals to just 179 offensive yards. Four different Jeffs found the endzone, highlighted by junior wideout Mark Hannon (Glen Rock, NJ), who piled up 175 total yards, as Amherst won its seventh straight over Hamilton and was victorious in its season opener for the sixth consecutive year.

The Jeffs wasted no time getting on the scoreboard as they marched 52 yards to the end zone on their opening possession. Senior tailback Ngai Otieno (Gloucester, MA) led the drive carrying six times for 46 yards, including a seven-yard plunge for the score.

Hamilton seemed to gain a little momentum on the ensuing drive as senior quarterback Brandon Holtslag (Whitesboro, NY) completed three straight passes to bring the Continentals out to midfield, but they would stall there and be forced to punt. After a pair of three-and-outs by both squads, Holtslag managed to pin the Jeffs down inside their own 20-yard line with a 42-yard punt with just over a minute left in the opening quarter. An illegal-substitution penalty and a run for no gain left the Jeffs with a third-and-15 situation on their own 10-yard line, but Hannon responded for Amherst, lining up at quarterback and taking a sweep 90 yards for a touchdown and a 14-0 advantage.

Amherst stretched its lead to 21-0 on their next possession as Hannon reeled off another long run, this time scampering 23 yards, and junior quarterback Nick Kehoe (Washington Depot, CT) capped the six-play, 76-yard drive with a 30-yard touchdown strike to sophomore receiver Mike Myers (Foxboro, MA) .

Hamilton finally answered on the following drive, capitalizing on a pair of Amherst personal foul penalties to march down inside the Amherst 10-yard line. The Jeff defense bent, but didn't break as they kept the Continentals out of the end zone with three straight stops. Junior Pete Kopp (King Ferry, NY) put Hamilton on the scoreboard with a 24-yard field goal to prevent the shutout.

Amherst carried its 21-3 advantage into the break and neither side could muster much offense in the third quarter. Hamilton began driving towards the end of the session and moved down to the Amherst 20-yard line to start the fourth. However, the Jeffs would quell the drive there as senior outside linebacker Justin Roemer (Jupiter, FL) broke up a Holtslag pass attempt on fourth-and-eight to force a turnover-on-downs.

Kehoe ignited the Jeffs' aerial attack, completing four straight passes for 62 yards to move the Jeffs down the field, and junior tailback Will Beeson (Kansas City, MO) capped the drive with a five-yard touchdown run to all-but-seal the win. If all hope was not lost for Hamilton at this point, it was quickly diminished as Amherst sophomore safety Rob Grammer (Glen Rock, NJ) snatched his first career interception to secure the victory.

Otieno finished with 103 yards on 16 carries, while Beeson and senior Dom Cama (Miami Lakes, FL) tallied 56 and 41 yards on the ground, respectively. Kehoe finished 11-for-17 passing for 146 yards, and rookie backup quarterback Greg Hagar (Allentown, PA) completed his first two collegiate tosses, going two-for-two for 19 yards. Junior wideout Justin Macione (Mansfield, MA) hauled in a team-high four receptions for 29 yards.

The Amherst defense racked up 10 tackles-for-loss resulting in 33 negative yards for Hamilton. Junior inside linebacker Greg Muecke (Atlanta, GA) led the way with a team-high seven tackles, including six solo takedowns and one for loss, while classmate Brendan McKee (Hull, MA) spent plenty of time in the Hamilton backfield, notching a trio of tackles-for-loss. Grammer tallied six tackles (1.5 for loss) to go with his interception, while senior outside linebacker Kelvin Coker (New York, NY) and senior tri-captain L.J. Spinnato (Madison, CT) each posted a sack.

Holtslag paced the Continentals with 155 yards of total offense, including 115 through the air on 16-of-27 passing. Sophomore wideout Joe Rinaldo (Canastota, NY) hauled in eight of those passes, racking up 48 yards receiving. Sophomore defensive back Matt Pitarresi (New Hartford, NY) led the Hamilton defense with a game-high nine tackles.

Amherst returns to action next Saturday at 1 p.m. in its home opener against visiting NESCAC rival Bowdoin College.