November 2, 2009

Middlebury handed Trinity its first loss in two years as the Panthers earned a 31-24 win over the Bantams on Youngman Field at Alumni Stadium. The loss snaps a 15-game winning streak for Trinity, dating back to a 23-14 loss to the Panthers in October of '07. The Bantams entered the game 5-0 and ranked #1 in New England. Middlebury led the entire game with Trinity scoring late to make it a 31-24 final.

Middlebury struck first after a failed fake punt play left the Panthers the ball on their own 45 yard line. Junior quarterback Donald McKillop (Poway, Calif.) hit senior Eric Rostad (York, Maine) for 21 yards on the drive, before Rostad scored on a four-yard rush later in the drive.

Trinity answered with a 14-play, 91-yard drive that elapsed 6:55 off the clock. Oliver Starnes ended the drive with a one-yard plunge to tie the game at 7-7 at the 13:49 mark of the second quarter.

The Panthers scored on their ensuing possession, driving 80 yards on 15 plays. McKillop hit junior tight end David Reed (New Canaan, Conn.) four times on the drive for 45 yards, before Rostad scored his second touchdown of the afternoon with a nine-yard rush to the right.

Middlebury junior Connor Green (Wellesley, Mass.) intercepted a Craig Drusbosky pass on Trinity's next possession, but the Panthers were not able to take advantage of the turnover.

Middlebury took a 17-7 lead into the halftime break, after junior Anthony Kuchan (Wauwatosa, Wis.) booted a 26-yarder with just 27 seconds left in the first half.

The Panthers received the kickoff to start the second half, and quickly drove 74 yards on just five plays. McKillop found senior James Millard (Greenwich, Conn.) for 34 yards before hooking up on a 29-yard touchdown strike with sophomore Alex Englert (Wellesley, Mass.) for his first career touchdown reception, making it a 24-7 game.

The teams exchanged punts before Trinity drove 33 yards on a short field after a short punt into the wind. Drusbosky hit Michael Galligan for 20 yards before Starnes scored on a one-yard rush to cut the lead to 24-14.

Middlebury took advantage of a sophomore Michael Bilodeau (Hull, Mass.) interception on its next possession, driving 74 yards for a touchdown. McKillop found Millard for 21 yards and rookie Zach Driscoll (Concord, Mass.) for 15 & 8 yard receptions on the drive. Senior Tim Monaghan (Rye, N.Y.) scored his first touchdown of the season, finding himself wide open in the end zone for a one-yard catch.

The Bantams had great field position later in the third quarter after a 39-yard punt return from Harry Melendez left them at the Middlebury 14. The drive ended quickly as senior Dan Haluska (Wellesley, Mass.) intercepted a pass in the end zone on the first play from scrimmage.

Following a Middlebury punt, the Panther defense earned its fourth pick of the day as junior Charlie Taft (Ambler, Pa.) picked off a pass at the Middlebury 31 early in the fourth quarter.

Trinity cut into the lead with 6:01 left to play as Tim Costello booted a 30-yard field goal to make it a 31-17 contest.

Middlebury punted on its next possession, as Trinity made it a game with a 12-play, 76-yard drive resulting in a touchdown. Drusbosky hit Winstron Tuggle for 18 yards and Galligan for nine before finding Andrew Grombala for a 20-yard scoring strike.

The Panthers led 31-24 with 1:49 remaining and the ball on the Trinity 45 after recovering an onside kick. Middlebury was forced to punt, giving Trinity one last chance with the ball on their own nine, no timeouts left and 37 seconds on the clock. One play later, senior Taylor Robinson (Summit, N.J.) sacked Drusbosky, knocking the ball loose as first-year player Keegan Ashley (Sudbury, Mass.) recovered the fumble to seal the win.

McKillop had a 35 for 50 day, tossing for 342 yards with a pair of touchdowns. With the performance, he now holds Middlebury single-season records for attempts (317), completions (204) and yards (2,131). Rostad rushed for a career-high 118 yards on 29 carries with two touchdowns on the ground, while catching six passes for 36 yards. Reed had a big game at tight end, catching 11 balls for 105 yards with several of them resulting in first downs. Senior linebacker Eric Kamback (Mahwah, N.J.) led the Middlebury defense with 12 tackles, while senior Steve Hardin (Summit, N.J.) had nine with two for lost yardage.
. Football record: 3-3
. Up next: 11/7 vs. Hamilton - 12:30