Football Wins Big at Williams to Improve to 4-0

Diego Meritus rushed for a career-high 122 yards in the win.
Diego Meritus rushed for a career-high 122 yards in the win.

Middlebury defeated Williams for the fifth-consecutive year, scoring more points than it ever has against the Ephs in a 49-23 win on Saturday in Williamstown. The Panthers move to 4-0 for the first time since 2012 when they opened with a 5-0 mark. Middlebury will host Bates next Saturday at 1:00 p.m., while Williams (0-4) visits Tufts.

The Ephs scored on their opening possession when quarterback Jansen Durham found Tyler Patterson for a 79-yard touchdown just 1:03 into the contest.

The Panthers answered on their second drive, when Frank Cosolito fell on a fumble in the end zone after a five-yard run from quarterback Jared Lebowitz.

Middlebury took a 14-7 lead late in the quarter on an 18-yard scoring strike from Lebowitz to Ryan Rizzo. The drive was set up by a 40-yard reception from Conrado Banky.

Williams cut into the lead at the 10:19 mark of the second quarter when Adam Regensburg connected on a 25-yard field goal to make it a 14-10 contest.

Middlebury linebacker Clay Hunt intercepted a pass at the Panther 44-yard line, leading to a 10-yard touchdown reception by Rizzo from Lebowitz. The touchdown at the 4:02 mark of the second quarter held, as the Panthers took a 21-10 lead into the halftime break.

Middlebury scored on its opening possession of the second half when Diego Meritus rushed for 24 yards, Rizzo caught a 21-yard pass before Banky pulled down a 22-yard touchdown on a feed from Lebowitz.

Williams answered later in the quarter when quarterback Peter Cahill hit Jaelon Moaney for a short three-yard touchdown. The Ephs got closer late in the quarter on a 32-yard touchdown pass from Durham to Tyler Patterson to make it a 28-23 game with 6:31 remaining in the third quarter.

The fourth quarter was all Middlebury, as the Panthers outscored the Ephs 21-0, including 14 points off turnovers. A short punt left Middlebury the ball at the Williams' 32, before Lebowitz found Banky in the end zone from 30 yards out.

Linebacker Wesley Becton picked off a Williams pass on its next possession, leading to another touchdown. Meritus gained 32 yards on the ground, including a 12-yard touchdown run, making it a 42-23 game with 8:08 remaining.

Safety Kevin Hopsicker helped the Panthers score their final touchdown of the day, intercepting a pass at the Williams' 33-yard line. Seven plays later, Lebowitz scored on a rush of his own, this one from 11 yards out to make it a 49-23 final.

Meritus finished with a career high 122 yards on 20 carries with a touchdown. Middlebury had a big day on the ground overall with 206 yards rushing to go along with 292 yards through the air. This marked the first time since October 18, 2008 that the Panthers have rushed for over 200 yards in a game (Bates – 209).

Lebowitz was steady, completing 22-43 passes for 292 yards with four touchdowns to go along with 41 yards on the ground and a touchdown. His top target was Banky, who caught nine passes for 159 yards with a pair of touchdowns. Rizzo also scored twice, catching six balls for 86 yards. Kicker Carter Massengill converted all seven extra points and is now 15-15 on the season. Addison Pierce led the Panther defense with 11 tackles and a pair of pass break-ups, while Becton added eight tackles, a sack and an interception.

Durham completed 12-28 passes for 205 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions for Williams. Harris finished with 86 yards on the ground, while Noah Sorrento rushed for 79. Patterson led the Ephs receivers with seven catches for 176 yards with a pair of touchdowns. Defensively, Alex Brandeis led the team with nine tackles and an interception.