Football defeats Continentals 24-19 in first win of the season

After four weeks of competition, Colby football at last procured its first victory of the 2015 season against Hamilton College on Saturday, October 24. The pressure was high for both teams going into the game, as neither had won a game yet this year. The Mules were especially inclined to top their opponent, with their seven-game head-to-head winning streak against the Continentals on the line. A rally by Hamilton late in the game threatened to snap this streak, but the Mules were able to hold them off and secure the win, 24-19.

The team made the seven hour drive to Clinton, New York, this weekend for the matchup.  Following the long trip the day before, it did not take long for the Mules to get on the board at Steuben Field, driving 71 yards in nine plays to take a 7-0 lead in the first quarter. The scoring drive opened with six running plays by running back Jabari Hurdle-Price ’17 (currently first in the NESCAC in all-purpose yards and second in rushing), followed by two straight first downs. The drive was finally capped with a ten-yard run by quarterback Gabe Harrington ’17 for the touchdown. Five minutes later, John Baron ’18 kicked a 34-yard field goal for the Mules, putting them up 10-0.

After the rest of the half passed without either team scoring, Colby took a 17-0 advantage on their first drive of the third quarter. However, the Continentals made it a 10-point game again three plays later when Cole Freeman completed a 59 yard pass to Charles Ensley for the touchdown. Colby’s next drive advanced their lead to 24-7, but another long pass from Freeman to Ensley a few plays later gave Hamilton their second touchdown of the game; first-year kicker Erik Fyrer missed the extra point, however, and the game remained 24-13.

The fourth quarter proved to be more tense for the Mules and their supporters. With 12:12 remaining, Hamilton pulled within five points. A long pass to wide receiver Patrick Donahoe advanced the Continentals to Colby’s five-yard line. After a few unsuccessful rushes, Donahoe received a third-down pass in the end zone to make the game 24-19. Hamilton’s two-point conversion attempt failed, but, regardless, the crowd at Steuben Field became increasingly riled up, and Colby needed to kill off the remaining 12 minutes of the quarter to secure the victory.

The Mules were successful in running out the clock on their next drive, rushing for 54 yards and chewing up over more than seven minutes. The drive saw several handoffs to Hurdle-Price and key blocking from Colby’s offensive line, but was terminated by Jimmy Giattino’s interception on Colby’s fourth down attempt. Hamilton proceeded to make several incomplete passes, and, after failing on another fourth down attempt, gave possession back to Colby.

The Mules got a bit of a scare when Hurdle-Price went down on the sideline after receiving a lateral pass, and though he initially remained on the ground while being attended to by a trainer, he soon picked himself up and returned to action. Several plays later, Harrington ran the ball far to the outside near the goal line. A failed field goal attempt due to the tough angle stopped Colby from gaining any insurance.  Hamilton had possession again and was only a touchdown away from taking the lead.

The Continentals proceeded to gain several first downs and make it to the Mules’ 41-yard line, but that was the extent of their comeback bid as Freeman made several long incomplete passes before Colby ultimately shut down the resurgence.

The Mules won their eighth straight game against Hamilton with 330 total yards. Hurdle-Price led them with 103 rushing yards and three receptions, and Harrington completed a pass to seven different Colby players. The Mules head into Family Homecoming Weekend 1-4 overall and will face off against Bates on Saturday at 1:00 p.m. for the first of the Colby-Bates-Bowdoin games.

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