Ganter '20 has big game in 31-24 football loss at Trinity

Alex Ganter '20 (Josh McKee photo)
Alex Ganter '20 (Josh McKee photo)

Trinity College's Seamus Lambert threw for 245 yards and three touchdowns and the Bantams held on for a 31-24 NESCAC win against the Hamilton College Continentals at Trinity's Jessee/Miller Field on Saturday afternoon.

The game was close all afternoon as there were three lead changes and neither team led by more than eight points. The Bantams took the lead for good with 8:24 left in the fourth quarter on a 10-yard touchdown pass from Lambert to Jonathan Girard, who finished with 95 yards on five catches.

The teams exchanged punts midway through the fourth and Hamilton (2-2 NESCAC) had one last chance after a 34-yard Trinity punt and 8-yard return by Sam Robinson '20 to the Hamilton 40 with 4:24 remaining. Kenny Gray '20 gained 3 yards with a quarterback sneak on fourth down and gave the Continentals a first down at the Bantam 48. A bad snap back to Gray in the shotgun was recovered by offensive lineman Sean Greaves '22 for a 12-yard loss, and two incomplete passes and a 9-yard run handed the ball back to Trinity with 1:41 to go. The Bantams (2-2) ran out the clock thanks to Tijani Harris and his 29 yards on four carries.

Gray finished 16 of 34 passing for 210 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions. He also ran for a touchdown in the first quarter. Gray, who has thrown no picks in three of four games this fall, moved into third place on the program's all-time list with 5,088 career passing yards. Will Budington '21 had four receptions for 69 yards and Christian Donahoe '20 added four catches for 68 yards.

Alex Ganter '20 was credited with a career-high 10 tackles including 2.5 for loss and 1.5 sacks for Hamilton. Justin Leigh '20 and Pat Morelli '20 chipped in eight stops apiece and Luca Katz '21 recorded a half-sack. Christian Snell '22 broke up two passes, Sam Bowen '20 came up with his seventh career interception and Ian Esliker '21 partially blocked a punt. Billy Wagner '20 averaged 40.4 yards on seven punts and placed three of them inside the Trinity 20.

Lambert was 15 of 23 passing and also ran for 41 yards. Harris finished with 115 yards on 25 carries as the Bantams boasted a 174-46 advantage on the ground. Koby Schofer had five catches for 90 yards and two touchdowns. Brian Casagrande led the Trinity defense with nine tackles and forced a fumble. Jimmy Christiano, Hassan Azeem and Josh Brito posted one sack each.

The Continentals drove 85 yards in 11 plays and took a little more than five minutes off the clock on their first drive as they took a 6-0 lead. Gray accounted for 76 of those yards including a 12-yard run on third-and-long and a 14-yard pass to Connor Cates '21 on another third-and-long. On first-and-goal at the Bantam 4, Gray faked the handoff to David Kagan '20, ran around left end and dove into the end zone with 9:48 left. The extra point missed wide right. Trinity moved in front on its first possession as a 22-yard touchdown pass from Lambert to Schofer ended a 10-play drive and J.P. Dallazem added the PAT with 6:18 remaining.

After a Hamilton punt, Bowen intercepted Lambert on the first play of the Bantams' next possession at the Trinity 34. The Continentals opened their drive with five straight rushes before Gray completed a 9-yard pass to Budington on third-and-8 to the Bantam 10. Three plays later, Gray threw high to the back of the end zone to tight end Mark Howrigan '23 who jumped up, snagged the pass and landed inbounds before he fell out of the end zone. Sam Thoreen '22 added the extra point for a 13-7 advantage with 14:52 to go in the second quarter.

Trinity scored the next 10 points and took a 17-13 edge into the locker room. Dallazem booted a 31-yard field goal with 4:49 left and, after a 53-yard catch by Girard to the Hamilton 11, Lambert found Schofer from 6 yards out for a touchdown with 2:28 remaining.

The first three drives of the second half ended with punts including a 27-yarder by Dallazem that gave the Continentals great field position at the Bantam 37. Eight plays later, Thoreen nailed a 31-yard field goal and pulled Hamilton within a point at 17-16 with 4:03 to go in the third quarter.

Trinity created some breathing room on its next drive as the Bantams marched 68 yards in nine plays and Harris punched it in from 1 yard out with 34 seconds left. Trinity converted a fourth-and-short at the Continental 29 to keep the drive alive.

Hamilton responded immediately with an 85-yard drive that took just 72 seconds off the clock. Gray found Donahoe for a 10-yard gain on third-and-9 and completed a 32-yard toss to Budington at the Bantam 42 on the next play. On the next play Gray looked deep downfield again to Donahoe who caught the ball at the 10-yard line in double coverage and dragged a tackler into the end zone with 14:00 remaining in the fourth quarter. The Continentals -- trailing 24-22 -- went for two points and Gray fired a bullet to Budington on a quick slant over the middle from the left side.

Hamilton travels to 3-1 Williams College for another NESCAC game on Saturday, Oct. 12 at 2 p.m.