Football remains winless through eight games

Despite struggling in the NESCAC standings, Colby Football has been nothing if not a consistent competitor this season, showing great potential in the first quarter of every game, but struggling to hold off their opponents in the other three. Coming off a tough but hard-fought loss against instate rival Bates over Homecoming Weekend, the Mules hoped to bounce back on their last home game of the season. While the Mules showed some promise of a comeback in the fourth quarter, Tufts’ strong offense and defense proved formidable, securing a Jumbos victory 28-14.

The first quarter was consistent with the rest of the Mules’ season, with strong performances defensively, but a series of fumbles and interceptions thwarting Colby’s ability to score. Following a fumble recovered by Tufts junior Alex LaPiana, the Jumbos were the first to score, running the ball down the field for a touchdown by first-year running back Mike Pedrini. Pedrini’s rushing abilities proved to be a strong point for the Jumbos, as he rushed for 135 yards and three touchdowns during Saturday’s contest.

Colby’s offense continued to struggle in the first quarter, but a resilient performance from the Mules defensive line gave hope for a comeback. With 11:20 left in the second quarter, Colby was able to stop a long drive of Colby’s 26 yard-line with a sack by junior linebacker Nick Strand.

However, following a long drive led by Colby quarterback Jack O’Brien ’20, LaPiana intercepted a pass at Tufts’ eight yard line, cutting the Mules’ momentum. Tufts’ next drive down the field led to pass completions by Daniel de Leon, despite resistance from the Mules’ defense. Pedrini was able to rush for a one-yard touchdown with 3:28 remaining in the first half.

The beginning of the second half went back and forth between the Mules and the Jumbos, mostly due to strong defensive performances by both teams. The Mules’ defense was led by Sebastien Philemon ’19, with 18 total tackles and one sack. Other outstanding Mules include Brian McAdams ’18 and Strand, with 14 and 13 total tackles respectively. “We’re still needing improvement on putting together a complete game with the least mistakes. The team that has less mistakes wins almost every time,” Philemon commented.

At the end of the third quarter the Mules offense finally started to come together, with a combination of Tufts penalties and shorter completions helping Colby advance. After a nine play, 81 yard drive, Colby was able to put its first points on the board with a huge 37 yard catch by Andrew DeFranco ’20 at 12:04 left in the fourth quarter. Fearing a comeback, Tufts responded quickly and effectively with a combination of short rushes and receptions by Pedrini and Frank Roche. Pedrini was able to score with another one-yard touchdown, upping Tufts’ lead to 21-7 with 5:41 remaining.

With the pressure on, Colby’s offense struggled in the fourth quarter. Jumbo Tim Preston was able to record a pick six on Colby’s first drive, brining the score to 28-7 following a successful extra point by Jumbo kicker Matthew Alswang.

Still, the Mules did not give up. Quarterback O’Brien was able to find Mark Snyder ’18 in the endzone, scoring a touchdown with 1:41 remaining. Colby’s defense put up a strong fight and forced a punt the next drive, but the Mules lost possession with another interception caught by Preston. Tufts was able to end the game by running out the clock in the last minute. The Jumbos will head into their last game against Middlebury with a 5-3 record. This game brought the Mules to 0-8 on the season, but the team hopes to secure a final win against rival Bowdoin (also 0-8) next weekend.

Philemon described this season as difficult yet rewarding, commenting “This off-season was a difficult one, and the end result was a team that entered the year with one of the if not the smallest number of players on the roster in the NESCAC. Despite the outcome on paper, our goals this year were directed towards a long term goal that we could change a culture that has plagued not only Colby football but Colby in general. I’m excited to see what we can achieve in years to come. In all honestly I am more proud of the men on this team than any other that I have played on.”