Williams stuns Amherst in overtime, 31-24

For the Gazette
Published: 11/12/2017 7:30:47 PM

The 132rd meeting of “The Biggest Little Game in America” added yet another chapter to the storied rivalry of Amherst and Williams, with the Mammoths falling to the Ephs, 31-24, in overtime Saturday.

This was only the second overtime in the rivalry that dates back to 1884, the last happening in 2001.

A win would have secured NESCAC title for Amherst (7-2).

“It’s incredibly disappointing,” Amherst coach EJ Mills said on Sunday. “I give them all the credit, they did a great job, their coaching staff and their players. They did what you have to do in a big game to win. Unfortunately, we came up short.”

After winning the overtime coin toss and deferring, Amherst’s defense was unable to get a stop, as Williams needed just five plays to score a touchdown.

Ephs quarterback Bobby Maimoron capped the drive with an 11-yard touchdown run, his fourth rushing touchdown of the game.

After a first down, Amherst was stopped three times, setting up a fourth-and-1 from the 4-yard line.

Amherst quarterback Reece Foy looked over the middle for receiver Beau Santero, but the pass fell incomplete.

The loss snapped a six-game winning streak for Amherst.

“Their quarterback was the difference,” Mills said. “He did a phenomenal job running the football, throwing the football. In the end we didn’t stop him when we needed to. We came up a little short. It was a heck of a game we just came up a little short.”

The Ephs jumped out to a 24-3 lead in the third quarter. With starting quarterback Ollie Eberth unable to generate any offense, Mills went to Foy.

The senior captain found Craig Carmilani in the back-left corner of the end zone to cut the Williams lead to 24-10 with 5:38 to play in the third quarter.

“Football is such an emotional game,” Mills said. “There’s so many things. They certainly swarmed first in a heavyweight fight. Our kids were not going to lay down. We came back, you make some plays, you execute, settle into the game.”

In the fourth quarter, Foy found Bo Berluti in the end zone from 13 yards out. The Mammoths missed the extra point, but trailed 24-16 with 7:42 left in the game.

Two plays later, Maimoron was looking for a receiver over the middle, but sophomore safety John Ballard read his eyes. Ballard jumped the route and returned the interception 28 yards for a touchdown. Foy found Berluti for the 2-point conversion to tie the game at 24.

“Very proud of our kid’s resiliency and fight to come back from a 21-point deficit to tie it up,” Mills said. “I feel so bad for our seniors who gave us a lot and for that to be their last game it’s a tough pill to swallow.”

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