Thilly hits late field goal to give football win over Hamilton

WATERVILLE, Maine -- Walter Thilly kicked a 34-yard field goal with 13.3 seconds remaining and head coach Jack Cosgrove won his first football game as head coach at Colby College in the Mules' 23-21 win over Hamilton College on Saturday at Harold Alfond Stadium.
 
"We're very excited for our players, especially the seniors,' Cosgrove said. "They have worked incredibly hard throughout the season in pursuit of a win like this. Out senior leadership has been outstanding."
 
Game highlights
* Colby's defense was strong all day and helped set up the game-winning drive by stopping Hamilton at its own 42-yard line. A 30-yard punt by Hamilton's Billy Wagner put the ball at the Colby 28-yard line.
 
* Aidan McCleary caught two balls on the day and both were huge catches on the final drive. He caught a 10-yard pass on a third-and-10 play and later scampered 34 yards to the Hamilton 22-yard line on a catch and run after breaking free from a defender in front of Hamilton's bench. 
 
* The Mules gained five more yards to the 17-yard line to set up Thilly for the field goal. Thilly sprinted about 40 yards down the field toward the Colby bench after making the kick. He was 3-for-3 on field goals and made both of his extra points. Meanwhile, first-year punter Moises Celaya averaged 43.3 yards per kick and had three kicks inside the 20-yard line.
 
"Both our punter and kicker are exceptionally talented," Cosgrove said. "Both have performed admirably under pressure situations."
 
* Hamilton (2-4 overall) had three leads in the game of 7-0, 14-10, and 21-17. The Continentals went ahead first on Sam Bowen's 40-yard interception return when he stepped in front of a receiver and went down the right sidelines for the score.
 
* Colby (1-5) bounced back on the catch of the season by Bernie Sander on a 16-yard scoring pass from quarterback Matt Hersch. Sander, near the right sideline in the end zone, leaped over a Hamilton defender and pulled in the pass.
 
* The Mules took their first lead of the game with 2:44 left to halftime on Thilly's 36-yard field goal. Colby's defense set up the drive when they recovered a fumble on the Hamilton 45-yard line.
 
"Our defense was outstanding," Cosgrove said. "Hamilton scored 62 points last week and they have a very skilled group of players."
 
* Hamilton went up 14-10 just 1:01 into the third quarter. Sam Robinson had an 84-yard kickoff return and the Continentals scored two plays later when quarterback Kenny Gray found Billy Wagner on an 8-yard scoring play.
 
* Colby's second lead of the game came after running back Jake Schwern rushed off left tackle for 1 yard. Andrew DeFranco had a 38-yard catch on the drive to help make it 17-14.
 
* Mitch Bierman had a 1-yard touchdown run of his own to put the Continentals up 21-17 with 2:50 left in the third quarter. Gray had a 38-yard pass to Christian Donahoe on the drive.
 
* Thilly hit his second field goal of the game at 30 yards to close the score to 21-20 with 12:04 left in the fourth quarter. 
 
By the numbers
* Hersch had a terrific day for the Mules, completing 27-of-38 passes for 288 yards and the one touchdown. DeFranco had four catches for 74 yards, while Rory Glavin had four for 45 yards. Matt Richman (first photo) led all receivers with six catches for 42 yards.
 
* Gray threw for 125 yards and ran for 50 yards on just seven carries. David Kagan added seven rushes for 54 yards and Joe Park had 50 yards on 11 carries for Hamilton.
 
* Don Vivian, coming off an injury, led the Mules with seven tackles and one pass break-up. Marcus Bullard, also back from injury, added six stops. Asher Inman and CJ Hassan both had three pass break-ups.
 
* Cole Burchill led all tacklers with 11 and had one of Hamilton's five sacks on the day. James Ball added seven tackles. Bowen had the interception return, five tackles, and two pass break-ups.
 
Next up
The Colby-Bates-Bowdoin (CBB) series begins when the Mules head to Lewiston next Saturday for a 1 p.m. game with Bates. The Bobcats will play at Bowdoin on Nov. 3 and the Mules then host Bowdoin in the final CBB game on Nov. 10.
 
Box score