LEWISTON – Deplorable playing conditions are in the eye of the beholder.

Colby couldn’t find enough reasons to hang around the shredded sod of Garcelon Field. The White Mules splashed with childlike glee and basked in the glow of their 10-7 victory Saturday over Bates, an exercise in exposure and water torture masquerading as a four-overtime football classic.

Brian Bachow’s right foot scrawled the merciful exclamation point, booting a 22-yard field goal as the flourescent orange flags flapping from the uprights teasingly pointed back in his face.

“These guys have a lot of guts. They were not going to be denied,” said Colby coach Ed Mestieri. “Bates played their asses off. That’s a tough one for anybody to have to lose.”

That emotion was no revelation to Bates coach Mark Harriman, who gave his winless Bobcats (0-6) a pep talk that could have been measured with a stopwatch before they sought the refuge of their locker room.

Bates lost its second overtime game in three weeks and fell to Colby (2-4) for the fourth straight season in the kind of weather Hall of Fame coach-turned-talker John Madden has romanticized for years. Harriman isn’t buying.

“There comes a point when it’s too much,” Harriman said. “Rain is one thing, but the wind affects everything you do. But (Colby) played on the same field.”

Both teams had a chance to kick a game-winning field goal earlier in overtime, and they tried to combat the complete lack of traction by pulling a page from Adam Vinatieri’s book in the Patriots’ snowy playoff win over the Raiders five seasons ago.

During the entire timeout prior to his 32-yard try in the second overtime, Bachow scraped his foot like a windshield wiper over his preferred spot. His kick barely got off the ground.

Bates’ entire special teams unit hopped up and down in an effort to give Andrew Johnson a patch of sturdy earth in the third overtime. His 25-yard bid was blocked.

There were weird scenes from a weird game. Wobbly punts were twice as frequent as tightly thrown spirals. The safest play was an off-tackle plunge, and the two featured backs took full advantage whenever their quarterbacks could get enough grip on the ball to make the exchange.

“This was fun,” said Colby quarterback Justin Smith, “for everyone except the quarterbacks.”

Jamie Walker carried 43 times for 135 yards, two tries shy of his own Bates record. Colby’s Chris Bashaw logged 34 lugs for a less impressive 73 yards. In the fourth OT, however, Bashaw (109 all-purpose yards) burrowed ahead for gains of three and four yards to push the ball into cozier range for Bachow.

Justin Candon also made a sliding, 14-yard catch from Smith (13-for-29, 100 yards) to trigger the triumphant series.

Bates went up 7-0 on a defensive gem with 9:45 remaining in the third quarter. Terence Ryan hit Smith from the blind side and forced a fumble. Eric Obeng scooped it up on a generous hop and rambled seven yards for the score. Johnson kicked the extra point.

Smith resuscitated the White Mules (2-4) on a broken play in the fourth quarter, scrambling 37 yards and drawing a penalty at the end of the jaunt. Then Bashaw took over with a 2-yard run, a 9-yard grab from Smith and consecutive dives of 3, 2 and 1 yards to paydirt.

The Bobcats stalled twice in Colby territory in the first half, in part because the conditions shortened their playbook. Brandon Colon went 3-of-15 through the air for 14 yards. Many were dropped or fell short of the mark. Fumbled snaps plagued both signal-callers.

“Obviously, we’re more of a spread team than that this year,” Harriman said. “You have to take advantage of your opportunities on a day like this, and we didn’t.”


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