College football: Trinity strikes early and often, routs Bates

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Trinity’s Matt Patry, left, breaks up a pass intended for Bates’ Noah Stebbins during Saturday’s game at Garcelon Field in Lewiston.

LEWISTON — Sonny Puzzo threw two touchdown passes, Max Chipouras ran for a score, Dominique Seagears had a pick-six and Eric Sachse kicked a field goal for Trinity.

That was just the first quarter.

Trinity thumped Bates 51-0 in the Bobcats’ home opener Saturday at Garcelon Field.

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“Last week, we played terribly in the first quarter,” Trinity coach Jeff Devanney said, referencing the Bantams’ 35-0 win over Colby. “So this week, our focus was, ‘Let’s have a good first quarter.’ I didn’t think it would be that good.”

Sachse’s 22-yard field goal started the Bantams’ scoring, and a few plays later, Seagears picked off Sandy Plashkes and returned it 13 yards for a touchdown that made the score 10-0.

On the first play of Trinity’s next drive, following a long punt return, Chipouras ran into the end zone from 16 yards out.

Then Puzzo connected with Cliff David and Jonathan Girard for scoring strikes of 8 and 17 yards, to give the Bantams a 31-0 lead by the quarter break.

“Against (Bates) coach (Mark) Harriman’s team, if you can get a lead, that makes it easier to defend the option,” Devanney said. “The kickoff team did a great job, our punt return team set up a score. So the way we opened up the game was big, I thought.”

Trinity’s third touchdown was set up by a Bates fumble, and then further helped when a missed field goal was made moot by a Bates roughing-the-kicker penalty.

“They’re a very good football team, I’m not taking anything away from them, but we did not play well in any phase of our game,” Harriman said. “That obviously starts with me and works down to the coaches and to every player in our program, and we’ve certainly got to get better.”

Puzzo threw a pair of touchdowns in the second quarter — a 31-yarder to Jon Samuelman and a 20-yarder to Dakota Foster — to give Trinity a 45-0 halftime advantage.

“Bates does a lot of unique stuff on both sides of the ball,” Puzzo said. “The coaches gave us a great game plan and we were well-prepared for what was coming, and we just executed.”

Puzzo, Chipouras and several of Trinity’s started spent the entire second half on the sideline. Puzzo finished 12-for-18 with 192 yards and four touchdown passes. Chipouras gained 92 yards on 11 carries.

The Bantams’ final score came on the final play of the game when Matt Laporta took a screen pass from fourth-string quarterback Brad Whitman and scored a 9-yard touchdown.

Bates drove the ball better in the second half, but was unable to finish drives. Early in the fourth quarter, facing fourth-and-goal from the 13, Matt Golden completed a short pass to Zach Doyon, who ran near the goal line but was stopped inside the 1.

The Bobcats were playing without senior slotback Frank Williams, their captain and one of their most dynamic offensive playmakers, who is out with an injury. They also lost Plashkes late in the second quarter, and offensive lineman Dylan Rasch later in the game.

Sam Golden took over for Plashkes. Late in the game, freshman quarterback Brendan Costa also saw action under center.

Bright spots in the dismal loss was the play of freshmen returners Jaason Lopez and Milan Lemon. Lopez racked up 180 yards on seven kick returns.

Oak Hill graduate Kyle Flaherty picked up three or four first downs late in the game and finished with 34 yards on six carries.

Combined with last week’s season-opening 41-17 loss to Amherst, the Bobcats’ season is off to a tough 0-2 start. They host Tufts next Saturday.

“I’m still encouraged with this group. I think we’ll see them come on, it’s just a little painful right now. But we’ll get it squared away,” Harriman said.

“In some ways, it can help you,” he added. “I think, if guys got pride and care about what they’re doing, then something like this is embarrassing. And I don’t think I’m the only one that’s embarrassed. I’d hope that most of our guys are going to come out next week and be prepared to recommit to what they’re doing and get better at what they’re doing.”

Bates runningback Mickoy Nichol finds a seam in the line that quickly closed for a short gain during Saturday’s game against Trinity.

Bates’ Jaason Lopez scampers down the sideline on a long kick return for one of the lone highlights of the game for the Bobcats as they were shutout by the Trinity Bantams during Saturday’s Homecoming game.

Bates defender Coy Candelario has no chance to stop Trinity’s Jonathan Girard as he leaps high to catch a touchdown pass during the first quarter of Saturday’s game where the Bantams tallied 31 points before the end of the first quarter and trounced the Bobcats at Garcelon Field in Lewiston .

Trinity’s Matt Patry, left, breaks up a pass intended for Bates’ Noah Stebbins during Saturday’s game at Garcelon Field in Lewiston.

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