WATERVILLE — The Colby College football team knew it was in for a challenge heading into the start of this season. Trinity College did not fail to meet those expectations.

The Bantams scored 3:02 into the opening quarter Saturday afternoon at Seaverns Field at Harold Alfond Stadium and did not let up from there on their way to a 34-0 victory over the Mules in the season opener for both teams.

“They have great personnel and they’re very well coached,” Colby head coach Jonathan Michaeles said. “Their line is enormous, they have skill guys, they have a rookie of the year quarterback coming back so that’s what we expected. That’s what we got.

“…At no point in this game was there any questioning. There was no dissension, there was nothing. There was just let’s play the next play and when you have that you have something to build on. We need to build, obviously, but these kids played their hearts out and they played a good team.”

Ultimately the Mules had no answer for Trinity quarterback Sonny Puzzo on Saturday. A redshirt sophomore who missed all of last season due to personal reasons, Puzzo — the 2013 New England Small College Athletic Conference Rookie of the Year — completed 14-of-22 passes for 278 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. He also had seven carries for 53 yards and a touchdown.

“It was unreal just to be back out here playing the game. Really there were no words for it,” Puzzo said. “It’s always important (for us to start fast), whether you’re on the road or at home — especially against Colby. They’re a really well-coached team, they’re a little younger this year but they’re very well-coached, very disciplined so it’s always important to come and start quick.”

Trinity — who figures to be a top-tier team in the NESCAC — took over at its own 35-yard line to start the game and went to work from there.

The Bantams picked up 11 yards and a first down on three plays to open the drive before they began gashing yards in bunches. Puzzo connected with Darrien Myers for an 11-yard gain to cross into Colby territory, and on the ensuing play, Nick Gaynor rumbled his way for a 13-yard pickup down to the 28-yard line.

On the very next play Puzzo threw a swing pass to the right to Myers. The 5-foot-9 wide receiver picked up a block, broke a tackle and raced down the sideline before diving for the pylon to put the Bantams up 7-0 after Eric Sachse’s extra-point kick. Myers finished as the game’s leading receiver with five catches for 93 yards.

The Mules responded with a three-and-out on their opening drive and Trinity proceeded to answer with a nine-play, 82-yard scoring drive. A 46-yard quarterback keeper on a read-option play from Puzzo down to the Colby 3-yard line set up a 1-yard plunge from the sophomore signal caller three plays later.

“We have some good players on this team and they made some big plays,” Trinity coach Jeff Devanney said. “We got to the quarterback pretty good, caused some turnovers and then Sonny played well. First game back after being out for two years was great to see. He got the ball, spread it out around the field and it makes it tougher to defend us when we can get the ball spread around like that.

“…We’re really talented on the edge. Trinity in the past maybe has been a little bit tail back-centric and we’re trying not to be that way. It was nice to see us get the ball down the field a little bit.”

The Bantams extended their lead to 21-0 early in the second quarter on a 43-yard touchdown strike from Puzzo to Myers and ultimately took a 27-0 advantage into intermission thanks to a 32-yard interception return for a touchdown from Paul McCarthy with 4:31 left in the second quarter.

Trinity rounded out the game’s scoring with 5:49 remaining in the fourth quarter as a 33-yard pass from Puzzo to Bryan Viera set up a 2-yard rushing score from Max Chipouras two plays later.

Junior Gabe Harrington and sophomore Christian Sparacio each split time at quarterback for the Mules Saturday, yet each was under near-constant pressure from the Bantams throughout the game. Harrington finished 14-of-26 for 97 yards with three interceptions and Sparacio — who looked to run more than pass — was the team’s leading rusher with 30 yards on seven carries. He also completed 2-of-3 passes for 10 yards.

For the game, the Mules were out-gained in total yards 439-159 and lost the turnover battle 4-1. Trinity also managed to pick up three sacks for a loss of 33 yards.

“We just physically struggled to pick up and block their blitzers,” Michaeles said. “They were blitzing on second down and we physically did not pick up the blitzes and that hurt us. That prevented us from getting that next first down.”

Evan Crawley – 621-5640

[email protected]

Twitter: @Evan_Crawley

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