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Football defeats Colby with 27-point blitz in second quarter


A 27-point second quarter lifted the Hamilton College Continentals to a 27-14 NESCAC win over the Colby College Mules at Colby's Seaverns Field at Alfond Stadium on Saturday afternoon.


Hamilton (2-1 NESCAC) picked up its first win in Waterville, Maine, since 2006. The Continentals return home to face 3-0 Trinity College for Fallcoming and Family Weekend on Saturday, Oct. 9 at 1 p.m.


Joe Cairns '25 was 16 of 22 passing for 293 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions in his second start at Hamilton. Vincent Spitalieri '24 ran for 32 yards on eight carries and tight end Nick Fabrizio '22 led the Continentals with four receptions (42 yards).


Mike Cairns '22 led the Hamilton defense with 10 tackles, including eight solo stops, and returned an interception 35 yards for a touchdown. Both of Cairns' career interceptions have come against Colby. Jared Schwartz '22 broke up two passes and Sam Gilbert '24 and George Johnson '23 chipped in seven tackles apiece.


Matt Hersch was 25 of 39 for 330 yards with a touchdown and an interception for the Mules (1-2). Jack Sawyer led the team with five catches for 127 yards and Devin Marrocco had a combined 76 yards rushing and receiving. Nick Donatio recorded a team-high nine stops and EJ Brister registered three tackles for loss. Colby's offense generated 380 yards and 22 first downs, but the Mules were just 2 of 13 on third-down conversions and scored on two of five chances in the red zone.


The Continentals scored a touchdown on all three of their possessions in the second quarter. A nine-yard punt return by Christian Snell '23 gave Hamilton the ball at its own 39 less than two minutes into the quarter. It took the Continentals just two plays to take the lead. After a play-action fake to the tailback, Cairns threw deep down the right sideline to Vince Reph '24, who caught the ball around the 20 and sprinted into the end zone for a 56-yard touchdown -- his first -- with 12:11 left. The extra-point by Sam Thoreen '22 was good and Hamilton led 7-0.


Colby attempted to respond on its next drive as the Mules marched 63 yards in eight plays, but a 22-yard field goal attempt sailed wide left with 8:26 remaining. Colby missed another short field goal try early in the first quarter.


Hamilton took over at its own 20 and quickly moved the ball on a 10-yard catch by Drew Granski '22, a 28-yard pass to Saleh Eltayeb '24 and another eight yards to Reph. The last completion set up third down and short at the Colby 33. Running back Kamau Hopewell '25 set up close to Cairns on his left and Cairns flipped a short swing pass out to him. Hopewell caught it on the left side and scampered into the end zone untouched for his first receiving touchdown with 5:38 to go.


The Mules went three-and-out on their next possession and after a 37-yard punt, the Continentals started on their own 30. Cairns followed his own three-yard scramble and incomplete pass with a 26-yard connection to Granski and completions of 16 and 15 yards to Will Budington '22. The latter was a fade that Budington laid out for in the end zone near the back-right pylon with 1:24 left. The touchdown reception was his first this fall and the 10th of his Hamilton career.


Cairns made it a 27-point cushion just 23 seconds later with his pick six -- the first touchdown of his career with the Continentals -- and the PAT was no good. Colby tried to get on the scoreboard in the final minute of the half as Hersch completed five straight passes for 47 yards, and a 15-yard personal foul flag on Hamilton put the ball at the Continental 13. The Mules didn't get any further, and Hamilton took a 27-0 advantage into the locker room.


Colby tried to get back into the contest with touchdowns on its first two possessions of the third quarter. Marrocco scored on a two-yard run with 10:01 remaining and Hersch found Sawyer for an 18-yard score with 5:53 to go as the Mules pulled within 27-14. Colby didn't get closer than the Continental 33 on its two drives in the fourth quarter, and Hamilton killed the final 6:27 with 10 consecutive running plays.


The Mules had the best chance to score in the first quarter when they drove 59 yards in 13 plays to the Continental 6 and settled for a 25-yard field goal attempt that hit the right upright with 5:43 left.

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