Middlebury

Football Falls At Colby

September 29, 2008

Colby held off a late charge by Middlebury as the Mules picked up a 24-19 win over the Panthers at Alfond Stadium in Maine. The loss snaps a five-game winning streak for Middlebury that dates back to last season. The game was penalty-ridden as the teams combined for 21 penalties, costing them a combined 231 yards, with the Panther penalties coming at some costly spots in the game. Colby out-gained the Panthers 223-55 on the ground as the Panthers held a 343-92 advantage in the air.

Colby was unable to take advantage of a Middlebury interception late in the first quarter, with the Panthers fumbling away an opportunity at the Colby 39 with five minutes left in the half. The Mules took advantage and drove 61 yards in seven plays, as Patrick Burns connected with Roger Bel for a five-yard scoring strike. The Panthers took two penalties during the drive, including a 15-yard pass interference call.

Middlebury answered on the ensuing kick-off, marching 66 yards in 1:22 as sophomore Donald McKillop (Poway, Calif.) finished the drive with a one-yard scamper. McKillop connected with both senior Andrew Matson (Coventry, R.I.) and junior James Millard (Greenwich, Conn.) for 19 yards apiece during the drive. The extra-point was blocked, leaving the Panthers with a 7-6 deficit.

A 40-yard return on the kick-off put the Mules in position to extend their lead with about a minute to play. A 12-yard pass from Burns and a 10-yard rush, left Victor Gagne a 42-yard field goal, which he converted as time ran out in the first half.

Colby took advantage of a failed fake punt by the Panthers early in the third, earning possession on the Middlebury 37. A Panther penalty on third and short kept the drive alive, before Burns hit Dan Prunier for a three-yard touchdown pass to give the Mules a 17-6 lead.

The Panthers had another drive halted late in the third quarter as a 25-yard connection from McKillop to Millard was called back on a holding penalty. Following a punt, Colby drove 80-yards on 11 plays, taking 5:38 off the clock as they extended their lead to 24-6. Burns hit Prunier for 14 yards and had a 16-yard rush of his own to move the ball downfield. Middlebury came up with a big sack on a 3rd and 6 play from their own 28, but a penalty enabled a 3rd and 1 conversion for the Mules to keep the drive alive. Burns capped the drive with a 21-yard connection to Matt Hellinger.

Middlebury answered on their next drive as McKillop hit Matson for 45-yards before scoring on a two-yard run to make it a 24-13 game with 9:39 remaining.

Late in the fourth quarter, McKillop found senior Timothy Dillon (Dracut, Mass.) for 33 yards and then connected with Matson for an eight-yard scoring strike to make it a 24-19 game with 1:59 left to play. The onside kick failed as Colby was able to run out the clock and secure the win.

McKillop ended the day 28 of 39 for 343 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. He also led the Panthers with 21 of their 55 yards rushing on the afternoon. Matson caught 10 passes for a career-best 177 yards with a touchdown, while senior tight end Charles Holm (Longmeadow, Mass.) had five receptions for 36 yards. Junior Eric Kamback (Mahwah, N.J.) led the defense with 14 tackles, while senior Michael Quinn (Hingham, Mass.) had eight with two pass break-ups.

Burns went 11 of 21 for 92 yards with three touchdown passes for Colby, as both Prunier and Michael Cuqua each rushed for 64 yards, with 62 from Burns. Walsh led the Colby receivers with four for 20 yards, while Chris Copeland led the defense with 11 stops.
. Football record: 1-1
. Up next: 10/4 vs. Amherst - 1:30