Williams quarterback Bobby Maimaron found Frank Stola in the end zone from 15 yards out on the final play of the game, lifting the Ephs (4-1) to a 27-26 road win at Middlebury (4-1). The Panthers return to action next week at Bates, while Williams will host Tufts. Saturday's game was played before a crowd of 3,655 on Youngman Field at Alumni Stadium.
The Panthers added to their lead when John Jackson recorded a safety, blocking a punt in the end zone. The play was set up by a 72-yard punt by Rye that left Williams the ball on its own one-yard line.
Middlebury looked to add to its lead in the second quarter, but a 34-yard field goal attempt by Carter Massengill was blocked by Edward Manzella. Massengill converted on the next possession, this one from 25 yards out to give his team a 12-0 lead with 7:27 remaining in the first half.
Leading 12-0 at the intermission, the Panthers drove 83 yards on their opening drive of the third quarter, but came up short as a field goal sailed wide left.
Williams got on the board on its next possession when Maimaron connected with tight end Justin Burke on a 22-yard touchdown pass. The Ephs now trailed 12-7 with 6:36 remaining in the third quarter.
Middlebury answered, as a 40-yard connection from Lebowitz to Rye set up a two-yard screen pass to running back Peter Scibilia from two yards out for his first career touchdown.
The Ephs came right back, making it a 19-14 game early in the fourth on a five-yard quarterback rush up the middle by Maimaron after faking the handoff.
Leading 19-14, Middlebury added to its advantage at the 9:02 mark of the fourth quarter when Aidan Power earned his first career touchdown reception on a 21-yard strike over the middle from Lebowitz. A 28-yard pass from Lebowitz to tight end Frank Cosolito aided the drive, as did a 28-yard kickoff return by Jimmy Martinez and a fourth-down conversion. The touchdown gave the Panthers a 26-14 lead.
Williams answered, driving 75 yards before cutting the lead to 26-21 with 4:31 left to play on a 10-yard rush Rashad Morrison.
Following a Middlebury punt, Williams took over on its own 20 with 2:04 remaining and no timeouts. Maimaron completed his first six passes on the drive, moving the ball to the Panther 48. An 11-yard completion to Frank Stola and a 17-yard rush of his own left the ball at the Middlebury 15. With 6.2 seconds remaining, Maimaron had time in the pocket before Stola found a seam in the Panther defense to catch the game-winning touchdown in the end zone.
Middlebury outgained Williams 432-378 on the day, as the teams combined for 14 penalties totaling 142 yards.
Lebowitz connected on 24-37 passes for 304 yards with three touchdowns. Scibilia rushed for 62 yards on 18 carries, while Maxim Bochman caught five passes for 61 yards. Rye finished with a career-high 133 yards receiving on seven catches with a touchdown. He also averaged 50.2 yards on his four punts, including two inside the 20 and a 72-yarder. Aaron Slodowitz was all over the field, making a career-high 18 tackles, including two for lost yardage. Kevin Maxwell made a career-best 16 stops in the game, while Jackson had 11.
Maimaron completed 21-29 passes for 195 yards with a pair of touchdowns, while rushing for 93 yards and a score. Stola caught 11 passes for 88 yards with a touchdown, while Adam Regensburg made seven receptions for 71 yards. Luke Apuzzi (16 tackles) and T.J. Rothman (15 tackles) led the Williams defense.