Justin Roemer '06
Roemer posted 15 tackles, including three for loss, broke up two passes and kicked a pair of field goals on Saturday.

Roemer Leads Jeffs Past Middlebury, 15-0

October 8 , 2005

AMHERST, MA - Senior Justin Roemer (Jupiter, FL) racked up 15 tackles, including three for loss, broke up two passes and kicked a pair of field goals to lead the Amherst football team to a 15-0 shutout victory over Middlebury College on a rain-soaked Pratt Field on Saturday afternoon. The Jeff defense continued its early-season dominance holding the Panthers to just 106 yards of total offense as Amherst improved to 2-1.

The game saw little action in the opening quarter as neither squad could muster a first down in the first three possessions. Middlebury running back Stefan Hrdina (W. Redding, CT) reeled off a 26-yard run to take the Panthers down into Amherst territory, but the drive stalled and the Jeffs regained possession after a failed fourth-down attempt at the 25-yard line. After a 15-yard personal foul penalty to open the drive, seniors Ngai Otieno (Gloucester, MA) and Dom Cama (Miami Lakes, FL) spearheaded an 11-play, 60-yard drive that was capped by a 32-yard Roemer field goal to put Amherst ahead, 3-0.

The two teams battled for field position throughout the second frame, and neither could really gain the upper hand. The tide seemed to sway in Amherst's favor at the nine-minute mark as senior tri-captain L.J. Spinnato (Madison, CT) fell on a fumble by Middlebury junior quarterback Tiger Lyon (El Paso, TX) at the Middlebury 34-yard line, but the Panthers quickly regained the ball as senior defensive back Ed Allen (Hamden, CT) reined in a tipped pass from Amherst junior signal caller Nick Kehoe (Washington Depot, CT) inside the Middlebury 10-yard line.

After a quick Middlebury three-and-out, Cama pushed the Jeffs down to the goal line with 33 yards on eight straight carries, but the Panther defense stiffened and Cama was denied on his fourth-and-goal attempt. Middlebury fought its way out to the 19-yard line on a 14-yard completion from Lyon to junior tight end Jamie Staples (Pacific Grove, CA), but the Jeffs stopped the drive short and then stole the ball back tackling junior punter Steve Hauschka (Needham, MA) at the seven-yard line after a muffed snap. With just 14 seconds left before the break, Kehoe attempted to find the end zone, but was hauled down in the backfield by Middlebury sophomore linebacker Erik Woodring (Cos Cob, CT) to end the half.

The third quarter brought much of the same sloppy action as neither side could find the end zone. However in the closing minutes of the stanza, the rain victimized the Panthers again as a mishandled snap resulted in a shanked punt, giving Amherst possession at the Middlebury 18-yard line. Roemer stretched the Jeffs' advantage to 6-0 with a 23-yard field goal near the end of the frame.

The Amherst defense continued its dominating play in the final quarter, not allowing the Middlebury offense to climb out of its own territory. The Panthers' hopes were all but lost when Jeff rookie A.J. Scola (Holden, MA) downed a punt from junior teammate Mark Hannon (Glen Rock, NJ) inside the one-yard line with 4:30 remaining. The Panthers took a strategic safety, as they needed a touchdown to even the score anyways, running out of the back of their own end zone, and after forcing Amherst to punt quickly, set up for one last chance at their own 17-yard line. The Jeffs stifled any comeback ideas, forcing four straight Lyon incompletions to regain possession. Otieno put the game out of reach with a three-yard touchdown plunge with just under a minute left.

Otieno posted his third straight 100-yard game, totaling 104 yards on 21 carries, while Cama tallied 67 rushing yards and rookie Eric NeSmith (Newark, NJ) saw his first collegiate action at running back, earning 23 yards on seven carries. Bolstering Roemer's defensive effort were junior inside linebacker Greg Muecke (Atlanta, GA) and senior defensive lineman Dan Kovolisky (Clark, NJ) with 10 and eight tackles, respectively. Spinnato finished with six tackles, including two for loss, to go with his fumble recovery and junior defensive lineman Brendan McKee (Hull, MA) was in the Panther backfield all day, pulling down four tackles for loss.

Hrdina, who came into today's game leading the NESCAC in rushing, was held to just 51 yards on 24 carries, and Lyon was limited to nine-of-24 passing for a paltry 66 yards. The Panthers had five defenders rack up double-digit figures in tackles, led by senior linebacker Coleman Hutzler (Encinintas, CA), who posted 15. Woodring was outstanding as well, tallying 13 takedowns and a sack as Middlebury remained winless, falling to 0-3.

Amherst returns to action next Saturday at 1 p.m. at undefeated NESCAC rival Colby College.