Bates Edges Bowdoin on Late Field Goal to Win CBB Championship

Tyler Grant's 151 yards rushing established a new sophomore rushing record at Bowdoin
Tyler Grant's 151 yards rushing established a new sophomore rushing record at Bowdoin

BRUNSWICK, Maine - Grant DeWald snuck home a 25-yard field goal with 1:14 remaining in the fourth quarter to lift the Bates College football team to a 10-7 win over Bowdoin on a rainy and cold afternoon at Whittier Field.

With the win, the Bobcats (3-4) win their 10th CBB (Colby-Bates-Bowdoin) championship and retain the trophy they have held since 2012. The Polar Bears fall to 2-5 with their third consecutive loss.

In the 117th meeting between the schools, neither team could get much going offensively in the first half, despite a few good chances. On Bowdoin's second possession of the day saw Tyler Grant sprint for a 57-yard rush down to  the Bates 23. Two plays later, however, a fumble by Garrett Thomas squandered Bowdoin's chance to take an early lead. In the second quarter, Bowdoin was set up for a 25-yard field goal, but a bad snap spoiled the scoring opportunity. Bates was able to get into Bowdoin territory on two occasions in the first half, but couldn't find points on either drive as the game entered halftime tied at 0-0.

Bates finally broke through late in the third period, going 61 yards in ten plays, covering 5:13. Matt Cannone connected with Frank Williams for a 27-yard pass on 3rd-and-16 for the Bobcats and five plays later Shaun Carroll sliced up the middle and dove over the goal line on a three-yard run to give the visitors a 7-0 advantage.

After the teams traded interceptions on consecutive plays to open the fourth quarter, and then traded fumbles on consecutive plays later in the period, Bowdoin was able to piece together a six-play, 72-yard drive to tie the score. Aided by a pair of personal fouls against the Bobcats that moved the ball to the Bates 37, Mac Caputi hooked up with Matt Perlow for 11 yards and Drew Prescott scampered around left tackle for a 22-yard carry. The plays set up a three-yard touchdown run by Grant that deadlocked the game at 7-7 with 8:36 remaining.

A facemask penalty against the Polar Bears on the ensuing kickoff put the Bobcats in great position, starting at the Bowdoin 42. The Bobcats plodded 35 yards in 14 plays, converting on two third downs and a fourth-and-one to get down to the 7. With 1:14 remaining, DeWald lined up the game winner from the left hashmark and chipped the ball just over the crossbar from 25 yards to give the Bobcats a 10-7 lead.

Following the kickoff, Bowdoin was able to drive to the Bates 49, but a penalty and two straight incomplete passes cut the drive short as the Bobcats ran out the final seconds to seal the win.

Bowdoin totaled 294 yards of total offense to 243 for Bates. Bates held the ball for 35:09, including 10:38 in the decisive fourth quarter to seal the win. The Bobcats went 7-19 on third down, compared to 3-14 for Bowdoin and scored on both of their red zone opportunities, while the Polar Bears went 1-3.

Tyler Grant rushed 27 times for 151 yards, increasing his season total to 737 yards, breaking the sophomore rushing mark of 676 set by Joe Bonasera '73 in 1970. It also moves him into sixth place on Bowdoin's single-season rushing list and gives him 1,002 yards for his career. Bowdoin made 11 tackles for a loss on the afternoon, and were led by Branden Morin's eight tackles, including 2.5 for loss.

Shaun Carroll led Bates with 83 yards rushing. Cannone passed for 98 yards and rushed for 31 for the Bobcats. Mark Riley caught seven passes for 69 yards. David Kurey punted 10 times for 400 yards to help Bates in the battle for field position. Adam Cuomo led all players with 12 tackles for the Bobcats.

Bates will close out its season next Saturday at home against Hamilton (12:00 p.m.). Bowdoin will complete its season at Colby (12:30 p.m.).