Donahoe '20 makes TD catch in football loss against Amherst

Donahoe '20 makes TD catch in football loss against Amherst

Amherst College's Jack Hickey ran for 113 yards and two touchdowns as the Mammoths posted a 36-6 NESCAC football win against the Hamilton College Continentals at Hamilton's Steuben Field on an unseasonably warm Saturday afternoon.

Amherst (2-0 NESCAC) averaged 5.4 yards per carry and finished with 253 rushing yards. The Continentals ended up with 29 yards on the ground. The Mammoths were solid on special teams as well. John Rak made field goals of 41 and 48 yards late in the second quarter and was 4-for-4 on extra points. Nate Tyrell blocked a PAT after Hamilton's touchdown in the third quarter.

The Continentals (0-2) were hurt by turnovers as they lost three fumbles in the first quarter and John Ballard intercepted a pass in the end zone midway through the fourth quarter. The fumbles led to 14 points as Hamilton fell behind 16-0 in the first. Amherst also picked up a safety when the Continentals were flagged for intentional grounding in their own end zone with 4:44 left in the opening quarter.

Kenny Gray '20 was 25 of 43 passing for 245 yards and Sam Foley '21 was 3-for-9 for 42 yards in his first action behind center for Hamilton. Christian Donahoe '20 set career highs with eight catches for 104 yards and added his first touchdown reception. Alec Waugh '18 (3 rec., 55 yards), Joe Schmidt '20 (6 rec., 54 yards) and Eli Saucier '18 (5 rec., 39 yards) were the other leading receivers for the Continentals.

Tyler Hudson '19 paced the Hamilton defense with 12 tackles, Cole Burchill '19 added 11 stops and Michael Friedman '19 recorded his first sack. Billy Wagner '20 averaged 42 yards on three punts.

Elijah Ngbokoli added 78 yards on 11 carries and James O'Regan caught five passes for 48 yards for the Mammoths, who used three quarterbacks and none of them attempted more than nine passes. Matt Durborow was credited with a team-high seven tackles, Avery Saffold broke up three passes and Alex Katchadurian and Brett Bates had one sack apiece.

The Continentals lost a fumble on their first play from scrimmage at their own 26-yard line and Reece Foy scored from the 1 on a quarterback sneak five plays later. Rak added the PAT and it was 7-0 just 2:19 into the game.

Hamilton drove from its own 22 to the Amherst 30 on the Continentals' next drive, but on fourth down-and-1 Hamilton fumbled the exchange between the quarterback and running back, and the Mammoths recovered. Amherst drove just 20 yards but Henry Atkeson nailed a 47-yard punt that was downed at the Continentals 1. Two plays later, Hamilton was called for intentional grounding when the quarterback evaded a strong Mammoth rush from the pocket in the end zone by lofting a pass out-of-bounds. The penalty gave Amherst a safety and 9-0 lead.

The Mammoths had another short field on their next scoring drive after the Continentals completed a pass but the receiver lost the ball and Amherst pounced on it at the Hamilton 34. The Mammoths thought they had a touchdown on the next play when Foy found O'Regan in the end zone but Amherst was whistled for holding and pushed back 10 yards. Three Mammoths gained 40 yards on four straight carries and Hickey punched it in from the 4 on a run off left tackle with 16.7 seconds remaining in the quarter.

Amherst led 16-0 after one and 22-0 at the half thanks to Rak's two long field goals in the second quarter.

The Mammoths didn't waste any time in extending their lead after receiving the opening kickoff of the second half. Hickey started the drive with two rushes for 22 yards and Ollie Eberth completed passes of 11 yards to O'Regan and 40 yards to Craig Carmilani on consecutive plays. Hickey ended the five-play drive with a 16-yard run off right tackle as he hurdled a would-be tackler around the 5. Rak added the PAT and it was 29-0 just 2:11 into the third quarter.

Amherst's quick-strike offense struck again on its next drive. Ngbokoli's number was called on three of the four running plays, including a 39-yard scamper up the middle as he went untouched to the end zone after he made it past the line of scrimmage. Rak made it 36-0 with 8:28 to go in the third.

The Continentals got on the scoreboard on their ensuing drive. Gray was 4-for-5 for 64 yards on the drive, including a 31-yard scoring strike to Donahoe at the right-front corner of the end zone with 5:08 left in the third.

Hamilton drove to the red zone twice and to the Mammoths 21 in the final 15 minutes but didn't score another point. On Foley's first drive midway through the fourth quarter, Sam Robinson '20 dove for and caught a low pass but the officials ruled the ball was trapped. On the very next play from the 21, Schmidt caught a pass from Foley but he was just outside the back of the end zone.

The Continentals host Wesleyan in NESCAC action on Saturday, Sept. 30 at 1 p.m. Amherst returns home to take on Bowdoin next Saturday.