Football’s comeback falls short in homecoming game

This weekend, over 3,400 fans packed into Harold Alfond Stadium to cheer on the Colby Mules as they took on the Bates College Bobcats. With current students’ families visiting for Parents Weekend and alumni on campus for Homecoming, the game had a noticeably stronger and more palpable energy compared to other games this year. Unfortunately, despite several highlight plays and a tight score throughout the game, Colby fell just short of a win, losing 27-24 to the Bobcats.

Both teams were hungry for a win, each looking to break their 0-6 NESCAC records. The matching records, historic rivalry between the two teams, and strong fan presence made for intense and heightened emotions during the game. Jack O’Brien ’20, quarterback for the Mules, described the impact these unique circumstances had on the team during Saturday’s game.

“The Bates game is such an old and intense rivalry, so the game always carries added significance for the team in the week heading into Bates every year. You always know it’ll be a close, hard-fought football game.”

Numerous tents and tailgates with assortments of food, carnival games, music, and Colby gear surrounded the field. This excitement fueled the Mules in their pursuit for victory.

“The atmosphere definitely felt different than usual. The stands were packed with loud fans. This made the game even more fun to play in, especially at certain key points in the game. The crowd yesterday was intense and loud, which always make you play better as a team because it pumps everyone up and makes the game more fun to play in,” O’Brien added.

Bates was first to put points on the board, scoring with 6:15 left in the first quarter. With 4:52 left in the half, Colby responded with a touchdown pass from O’Brien to Mark Snyder ’18, with an extra point from John Baron ’18 to tie the game at 7-7. Bates managed to add three more points with a 29-yard field goal before the end of the half, pulling just ahead of the Mules 10-7. 

The Mules managed to contain the Bobcats at the start of the half. Then, nearly six minutes into the second half, the Mules restored the tie with a 31-yard field goal from Baron, bringing the score back to a tie at. With 20 seconds left in the quarter, Bates scored with a 4-yard touchdown run and extra point, pulling ahead by a touchdown. Determined to close the score gap once again in the fourth quarter, O’Brien ran the ball 30 yards for a touchdown, with an extra point added by Baron. At that point, the score was tied again at 17-17, with just over 11 minutes of play left.

Both teams were craving a victory. Less than 30 seconds of play after the Colby touchdown, Bates scored on a 52-yard touchdown pass and extra point kick, leaving the Mules trailing 24-17. With 5:31 left in the game, the Bobcats managed to score again with an 18-yard field goal that pulled them even further ahead. The Mules, now down 27-17, needed to maintain their composure as they made a final push for a comeback and victory. 

Jake Schwern ’20 brought the Mules back to life, with a 2-yard run and kick from Baron to put seven more points on the board for Colby. “Schwern made some huge plays to keep us in the game, particularly his blocked punt. The block gave the entire team life again and set the offense up for an easy touchdown drive.” O’Brien commented.

However, even after getting possession back after Bates’ 1:10 drive, Colby could not manage to seal a victory. After five plays and three incomplete passes, Colby lost possession on downs with 0:38 left in the game. Bates ran the clock down, keeping 27-24 as the final score.

“In the end, we didn’t make enough highlight plays to win the game,” O’Brien explained.

This loss will only motivate the Mules to secure a win in their next game. The Mules take on the Tufts Jumbos (4-3) this Saturday, at 1:00 p.m. on Harold Alfond field.