Amherst Opens Season with 30-6 Win Over Hamilton

Senior Fran Florio had two of Amherst's four interceptions against Hamilton.
by Christian Garris ’09

AMHERST, MA – The Amherst College football team held the visiting Hamilton College Continentals to six points thanks to four interceptions and a solid defensive effort, as the Lord Jeffs cruised to a 30-6 victory in the 2008 season opener at Pratt Field.

Even though the two teams’ stats looked similar on paper, it was the big plays by the Lord Jeffs on both sides of the ball that made the difference in the game.

The Hamilton secondary could not seem to stop the passing efforts of the Jeffs, who completed 24-of-32 attempts for 225 yards, with sophomore quarterback Alex Vetras (Clyde Hill, WA) throwing for three touchdowns in his collegiate debut.

Senior cornerback A.J. Scola (Holden, MA) sparked the defensive initiative by intercepting a pass on the Continentals’ opening drive, with junior Chris Govey (Eason, MA) picking off a pass on Hamilton’s second drive. Senior Fran Florio (Staten Island, NY) saw the first interception of his career come midway through the third quarter before he added a second early in the final period.

Finding the end zone twice on the day was junior wide-out Brandon Bullock (Orange, NJ), who scored on a 22-yard touchdown pass with 0:35 left in the 1st quarter and again on a four-yard toss with 0:20 left in the half. Sticking to the air attack, the Lord Jeffs opened the second half with three consecutive screen passes that eventually set up a 33-yard touchdown pass from Vetras to sophomore Sean Legister (Ossining, NY).

Rounding out the receiving core was sophomore Ben Kettering (Fairmont, WV), who had seven catches for 62 yards and looked sharp in his return from last season’s injury. Adding to the Jeffs’ scoring efforts was junior Matt Eberhart (Plano, TX), who kicked a 25-yard field goal and completed three extra point attempts.

Junior Max Foster (Sherborn, MA) put Hamilton on the board late in the game with a touchdown catch courtesy of a pass from first-year quarterback Jordan Eck (Rye, NY), the first of his career.

Capping off the victory was sophomore Femi Oyalowo (Bowie, MD), who scored on an eight-yard touchdown run for the Lord Jeffs late in the fourth quarter. Oyalowo led the Jeffs’ rushing attack, coming up with 45 yards on only four carries late in the game.

The Lord Jeffs ran for 114 yards on 32 carries, while the Continentals gained 101 yards on only 27 carries, with 59 of those yards going to sophomore Mark Snickenberger (Wellesley, MA). Govey, senior captain Guy Matisis (Hingham, MA) and junior Edwin Urey (Quincy, MA) each had seven tackles for the Lord Jeffs, while Hamilton’s John Lawrence (Baldwinsville, NY) led all players with 10 tackles.

Sophomore Jon Higginbotham (Winthrop, MA) had an interception for Hamilton early in the third quarter, as he gave his team a big momentum swing by stopping the Lord Jeffs on third-and-goal. Eck finished with 83 yards on 6-of-9 passing attempts, while sophomore Steve Mello (Bedford, NH) added 84 yards through the air on only three completions.

 The Lord Jeffs (1-0) head to Brunswick, ME next week to take on Bowdoin College at 1 p.m., while Hamilton (0-1) will head to Wesleyan University for a 12:30 p.m. start.