Bates College’s Tyler Bridge tries to avoid a Middlebury defender during Saturday’s game at Garcelon Field. Theophil Syslo/Bates College

LEWISTON — From start to finish, Middlebury ran roughshod over Bates College and glided to a 28-0 victory in the second game of the year for both football teams. 

The Panthers (2-0) were led by quarterback Will Jernigan, who guided the offense on a 73-yard drive down the field on its first possession of the game. Jernigan was responsible for 54 of those yards, either through the air or on the ground.

The drive ended with a 9-yard throw to the back-right corner of the end zone that just slipped over a defender’s fingertips and into the out-stretched arms of receiver Maxwell Rye to put Middlebury up 7-0. 

“The defensive back almost made a play on it, but it was a great way to start off the game with that connection,” Jernigan said.

Rye finished with seven receptions for 83 yards, 44 of which came in the first half. 

“They have good chemistry and they’ve been throwing together for a couple years now, so I think they have good rhythm,” Middlebury coach Bob Ritter said.


Rye was a safety net for Jernigan on Saturday, but it wasn’t a fluke. 

“Me and Max Rye have such a good connection and have been working all offseason,” Jernigan said. “The game plan was to spread the ball around, and it just worked out where the coverages and our guys made him in the right spot.”

Bates ended Middlebury’s second offensive drive with an interception by Jose Calleja in the red zone. Owen Straley also picked off a pass late in the third quarter, and the Bobcats recovered two fumbles, by Zach Doyon and Tyler Hamilton.

Bates College defensive linemen Ramon Ruiz (99) and Nolan Potter team up to tackle Middlebury’s LeeCharles McNeil at Garcelon Field on Saturday. Theophil Syslo/Bates College

But, overall, Bates (0-2) coach Malik Hall was not happy with the defense, which gave up four touchdowns.

“This looked like a first-game loss,” Hall said. “… I dare to argue we probably took a step back. We didn’t play well, we couldn’t get a line, we couldn’t get calls out.

“If they don’t score, they can’t win, right? They scored 28.”


Middlebury scored again in the second quarter when Aidan Power caught a 15-yard pass from Jernigan to put the Panthers up two touchdowns. 

Bates’ starting quarterback Brendan Costa went down with an injury in the second quarter — Hall wasn’t sure of the severity after the game — so the Bobcats turned to freshman Liam Foley.

Foley finished the game 7-for-19 for 58 yards. 

“Foles has grit. He’s clear on who he is, he’s not a runner, he’s a thrower,” Hall said. “Foles, moving forward, will be our guy until otherwise.

“So now it’s our time to develop him to be what ‘B’ (Bates) needs him to be. When we learn to play and pour out for the ‘B,’ the ‘B’ will pour back into us. I don’t expect anyone to feel sorry for our circumstances. We can’t be a circumstantial team.”

Middlebury’s Alex Maldjian ran for a 4-yard score up the middle before halftime to make it 21-0. 


In the third quarter, Bates stopped Middlebury in the red zone again on fourth down, but went three-and-out on its ensuing drive. 

When the Panthers received the ball again, the possession ended in a 10-yard touchdown pass from Jernigan to Frank Cosolito on a crossing route in the middle of the end zone.

Bates College receiver Christian Olivieri turns upfield as Middlebury’s Gordon Pollock gives chase during Saturday’s game at Garcelon Field. Theophil Syslo/Bates College

Hall said his team’s mentality was in the wrong place. 

“When you live in your past, good or bad, it shows up in your present,” Hall said. “If we were living on what we did versus Amherst, it showed up in our present. If we were living on what 28 years was against Middlebury, it shows. If you don’t live in the now, the past lives for you.”

In his second career game, former Wells High School standout Tyler Bridge ran for a team-high 45 yards on 11 carries and also punted 10 times with a long of 56.

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