Trinity Football Blanks Colby In Season Opener

Max Chipouras '19 rushed for 131 yards and two touchdowns
Max Chipouras '19 rushed for 131 yards and two touchdowns

Hartford, Conn. – Junior RB Max Chipouras (Longmeadow, Mass.) rushed for 131 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Trinity College Bantams to s 35-0 victory over the visiting Colby College Mules in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) football season opener for both teams this afternoon at Jessee/Miller Field.  Trinity keeps several streaks intact with its 10th win in a row, extending its winning streak against Colby to 11 games, its winning streak in season openers to 23 games, and its streak of victories in season openers at home to 19 games in a row.  Trinity, the 2016 NESCAC Champions with an 8-0 record last fall, will visit Bates next Saturday, while Colby hosts Williams next weekend.

The game started well for Colby, as junior Don Vivian (Slingerlands, N.Y.) recovered a Trinity fumble on the opening kickoff, but the Bantam defense allowed just three yards on the first three Colby plays and Mule senior John Baron (Medfield, Mass.) missed wide left on a 44-yard field goal try.  After each team punted three times, Colby recovered a Chipouras fumble at the Bantam 27-yard line but was again held to three yards on three plays.  Baron connected on a 41-yard field goal, but Colby was penalized 15 yards for tripping on the play.  The Mules were forced to punt and the first quarter ended scoreless.

Trinity went 80 yards on 12 plays on the first drive of the second quarter, including a 30-yard pass from senior tri-captain QB Sonny Puzzo (West Caldwell, N.J.) to junior WR John Spears (Boston, Mass.) that gave the Bantams the ball at the seven-yard line of the Mules.  Colby kept the Bantams out of the end zone on the first three downs, but Chipouras scored the first touchdown of the season on a two-yard run on fourth down with 10:32 left in the first half.  On Trinity's next drive, the Bantams needed just four plays to go 60 yards for another score.  Puzzo completed three passes to sophomore WR Koby Schofer (Northbridge, Mass.) on the possession including a 31-yarder for Schofer's first career touchdown at the 6:19 mark of the second quarter. A short Colby punt gave Trinity possession near midfield and a 26-yard pass from Puzzo to Schofer keyed another scoring drive that ended with one-yard leap over the defense and into the end zone by Chipouras with 2:01 on the clock before halftime. 

The Bantams scored twice more in the third quarter, as Chipouras started it by sprinting 82 yards on Trinity's first play of the third quarter from his own 17-yard line to the Colby one-yard line and Puzzo ran it in two plays later.  Bantam junior safety Sameir Madden (Norristown, Pa.) picked off a Colby pass near midfield moments later, and Trinity capitalized with its final touchdown of the game.  Puzzo found senior TE Matt Hirshman (Berwyn, Pa.) three times for 34 yards on the six-play drive including from six yards out on a shovel pass for Hirshman's first career touchdown with 7:20 remaining in the third quarter to close out the scoring.

Trinity outgained Colby, 478 to 200, and the Bantam defense held the Mules to a single third-down conversion in 15 tries.  Puzzo finished 15-for-21 for 224 yards through the air, while Colby senior Christian Sparacio (Marlboro, N.J.) and sophomore Jack O'Brien (Freehold, N.J.) combined to go 16-for-29 for 119 yards passing. Chipouras averaged 8.7 yards per carry to reach 131 on just 15 rushes, while first-year RB Colin Beaulieu (Bethany, Conn.) added 51 rushing yards on six carries, and junior Jake Schwern (Glen Ridge, N.J.) paced Colby on the ground with 72 yards on 16 carries and catching the ball with five grabs for 38 yards.  Schofer led all receivers with 112 yards on seven catches, while Hirshman added five catches for 58 yards. 

Defensively, Vivian led all tacklers with eight and sophomore DB Sean Godin (West Roxbury, Mass.) added seven tackles for the Mules, while junior DB Patrick Yale (Haverhill, Mass.) had an interception and a pass breakup.  Trinity junior linebackers Shane Libby (Scituate, Mass.) and Sean Smerczynski (Topsfield, Mass.) had five tackles each and Libby added sack.  Bantam junior DE Corey Jean-Jacques (Haverhill, Mass.) and rookie DT James Christiano Middlebury, Conn.) also made five tackles apiece and Trinity sophomore DB Matt Patry (Medfield, Mass.) had a tackle for loss and broke up two passes.