College Football: Big Second Half Carries Middlebury Past Williams

Courtesy Middlebury Sports Information

MIDDLEBURY – Middlebury exploded for 27 second-half points on its way to a 36-14 win over Williams (2-2) in a homecoming game on Youngman Field at Alumni Stadium. The Panthers (3-1) have now taken four-straight wins from the Ephs and have won their last four home games. Middlebury returns to action next weekend at Bates, while Williams hosts Tufts.

Williams got on the board first with a three-yard touchdown run from Noah Sorrento with 14:36 left in the second quarter. The drive was set up by a 32-yard punt return from Mark Pomella and a 17-yard connection from Austin Lommen to Colin Brown.

Middlebury quickly answered on the ensuing kick-off, as former South Burlington star Tanner Contois caught the ball on his own four-yard line before racing down the middle of the field and into open ground for a 96-yard touchdown return. The extra point failed and left the Ephs with a 7-6 advantage.

The Panthers went on top with 6:21 left in the half when Charlie Gordon connected on a 24-yard field goal to make it a 9-7 game. The drive was set up by a 37-yard connection from Matt Milano to Conrado Banky.

Williams took the lead 10:49 into the third quarter, scoring on its opening possession with a short, 40-yard drive. Connor Harris carried the ball in from one-yard out to put his team on top, 14-9.

The Panthers fumbled the ball on their own 29 following the score, but the Ephs could not take advantage as they missed a 38-yard field goal.

Three plays later, Milano found Matthew Minno 10 yards downfield before he pulled away from the field and found the end zone for a 71-yard touchdown reception to put his team on top 15-14 after a blocked extra point.

Williams went three-and-out before Middlebury drove 96 yards on nine plays in just 2:48. Diego Meritus rushed for 20 yards and caught an 11-yard pass on the drive, while Milano connected with Trevor Miletich for 22 yards and Minno for 18. The touchdown came on a 21-yard strike to Minno down the right side line. The Panthers now held a 21-14 lead with 4:41 left in the third after a blocked extra point.

Middlebury added to its lead in the fourth quarter with another touchdown to make it 29-14. Milano found Miletich for 16 yards before a flat pass to Meritus ended in a 19-yard touchdown.

Middlebury scored its final points of the game on the next drive, after holding the Ephs again. Meritus rushed for 39 yards on the drive, including finding the corner of the end zone from 16 yards out for the touchdown. The score left the Panthers with a commanding 36-14 lead with 7:57 remaining.

Milano connected on 20-41 passes for 319 yards with three touchdowns for the afternoon. Minno caught eight passes for a career-high 171 yards to go along with a pair of touchdowns. Meritus rushed for 100 yards for the first time in his career, gaining 118 on 22 carries with a touchdown run. He also caught three passes for 36 yards and a score. Miletich earned four receptions for 53 yards in the win, while Banky caught three passes for 51 yards. Addison Pierce led the Middlebury defense with nine tackles and a pick, while Kevin Hopsicker made eight stops and Gil Araujo had six, including a sack. Nate Leedy finished with six tackles and an interception.

Lommen went 20-38 on the day for 194 yards with two interceptions for Williams. Harris finished with 70 yards rushing, while Pomella caught seven passes for 64 yards. Alex Brandeis paced the Eph defense with nine stops.

Middlebury amassed 464 yards of offense on the day, while holding Williams to 286.

Box Score:

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