Football rolls over Hamilton behind Harrigton

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Senior football captain Connor Clancy has seen it all in his four years with the Mules. As a three-year starter at center, he understands the finite difference between winning and losing in the NESCAC. When asked about starting the season 0-4, Clancy offered a confident, yet realistic perspective: “It’s tough sometimes when you work so hard and you strain for so long and then don’t see a result from your hard work, you don’t get that taste of winning.”

It had been quite a while since the Colby football team last left Alfond Stadium victorious. Almost a year, in fact. The Mules’ last victory came on November 2nd, 2013 with a 37-0 drubbing of Tufts. That game capped off a three game win-streak in which Colby outscored their opponents 95-21. Five straight losses later, this Saturday’s 47-14 win against Hamilton couldn’t have come soon enough. “With the win yesterday,” Clancy said, “you know that all your hard work that you’ve been putting in actually has produced something that you wanted, and hopefully it’s going to fuel the rest of the season for us.”

Led by quarterback Gabe Harrington ’17, the Mules exploded out of the gate against the overwhelmed Continentals. The offense, which had yet to score more than 10 points in any game this season, had 14 after less than six minutes of play. But they didn’t stop there. The Mules scored on each of their first four possessions to start the game, going up 20-0 after the first quarter, and adding on another 20 more in the second without letting up a single point. With the Mules up 40-0 at the half, the game was never in doubt.

Harrington, who was awarded NESCAC player of the week, had the best game of his young career. The California native completed 13 of 20 passes for 225 yards and whopping four touchdowns (to three different wide receivers). Clancy, who has snapped the ball to a number of quarterbacks in his time as a starter, had high praise for his latest one. “Gabe has done tremendous so far. To me, he grows every single week, and he’s one of those guys that had a great offseason, number one. And he is a true leader on the offense, you know, he’s never gotten down on himself, nor has he gotten down on anyone else around him.”

On the other side of the ball, Colby’s defense stifled anything and everything Hamilton threw at them. The Mules’ defense let up an underwhelming 184 total yards to the Continentals’ offense, and picked off 3 passes along the way. This is particularly impressive given the injuries the defensive backfield suffered through the season’s first 4 games. With senior defensive backs Zach Padula (collar bone) and Randy Person (foot sprain) out, the Mules were forced to shift the secondary around. Senior wide receivers Luke Duncklee (who scored 3 touchdowns on Saturday) and Nick Joseph were charged with starting at cornerback, allowing Jason Buco ’15, a natural cornerback, to start at free safety.

Person, who is looking to return from injury in the coming weeks, added some perspective to this unique challenge, stating, “it just shows how much of a team we are where we can have guys who maybe haven’t played the position ever in their lives step up and just do what they’re told. It’s crazy. We have [Buco] in a completely different position at free safety. There’s no hesitation when asked to do a different job, just do it, figure it out, and it’s pretty awesome to see.”

If all goes according to plan, the dominant performance against Hamilton is the beginning of a new season for Colby football. With a renewed energy, the team heads down to Lewiston next Saturday to take on rival Bates. “Our goal was to be perfect for those last four games,” Clancy added, “so hopefully this will have a ton of momentum going into next week.”

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