The New England Small College Athletic Conference season is an eight-week sprint. Now that the season is more than half complete, the fun starts for the league’s three Maine schools.

The annual Colby-Bates-Bowdoin rivalry series begins Saturday when Colby plays at Bates. Next week, Bates plays at Bowdoin. On Nov. 12, Bowdoin plays at Colby.

“This is the most important game of the season so far. There’s not a single person on this team who likes Bates. They’re a tough team, hard-nosed. They like to confuse you on offense and defense. At the same time, we’re ready,” Colby co-captain Jabari Hurdle-Price, a senior running back, said.

Bates won the last two CBB crowns and is going for its fourth title in five years. Bowdoin last won the CBB in 2010. For Colby, the CBB drought goes back more than a decade. The Mules last won the championship in 2005. That’s something that Hurdle-Price and his teammates know very well.

“No one’s ever seen that trophy. That’s something that needs to change. We’ve beat Bates. We’ve beat Bowdoin. We’ve beat a lot of different teams in this league, but that’s something we’ve never seen, that trophy in our hallway,” Hurdle-Price said.

Throughout the week leading up to a CBB game, alumni regularly send words of encouragement and luck.

“The emails and texts come pouring in. It means a lot to everybody, and these guys know that. They understand that,” Colby head coach Jonathan Michaeles said. “One of our goals every year is to compete for the CBB and play for the people that support us. That’s all the alumns this game means so much to.”

“The alumni are pretty good about reaching out every week, but once we hit the Bates and Bowdoin weeks, that’s when the phone’s always blowing up. I get a bunch of texts from the guys, and it’s always great to hear from them,” Hurdle-Price said.

• • •

Last Saturday’s 27-7 win over Hamilton was Colby’s most consistent effort of the season thus far, particularly on defense, Michaeles said. The Mules defense had an interception on Hamilton’s second drive. After Colby missed a field goal, the Mules defense stepped up again, forcing a fumble, which was returned by Patrick Yale for a touchdown.

“Defense really set the tone. Defense gave us that spark with a huge fumble recovery. They had given us a pick and great field position earlier, so you could tell they were gaining confidence and that was what we really needed to get on track,” Michaeles said.

Yale was named to d3football.com’s Team of the Week for his game. Along with his 34-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown, Yale also returned an interception 40 yards, broke up four passes, and had four tackles.

Offensively, freshman quarterback Jack O’Brien had a solid game, completing 23 of 32 passes for 297 yards and two touchdowns. Michaeles said O’Brien will get the start against Bates.

“He will be under center, and Christian’s (Sparacio) ready to go as well. We feel like we’ve got a couple good guys,” Michaeles said.

• • •

With last week’s totally dominating defensive effort in a 42-0 win over Anna Maria, Husson moved into first place in Division III in total defense.

The Eagles allowed just 37 yards in last week’s win, holding Anna Maria to three first downs. Anna Maria gained 49 yards in the air, and minus 12 yards on the ground. Husson, on the other hand, piled up 708 yards of total offense. Eagles running back John Smith ran for 231 yards, or slightly more than six times the entire Anna Maria team.

At 145.5 yards per game allowed, Husson is well ahead of second place Wesleyan (189.6 yard per game) and third-ranked Amherst (194.2). Linebacker Ellis Throckmorton, a Bangor native, was named to d3football.com’s Team of the Week for his effort against Anna Maria. Throckmorton had 10 tackles, eight solo, with a forced fumble and a career-high three sacks.

Husson (6-1) is still ranked fifth in the New England Division III poll. The Eagles play at Becker (2-5) Saturday in an Eastern Collegiate Football Conference game. Husson holds a one-game lead in the conference over Norwich, Mt. Ida, and Castleton, but has a win in hand over Castleton. The Eagles close the regular season against Norwich and Mt. Ida.

• • •

Madison native Bobby Wilder, head coach at Old Dominion University, saw his team’s three-game win streak snapped with a 59-24 loss at Western Kentucky last week. This week, the Monarchs are back on the road for a Conference USA game at Texas-El Paso.

Old Dominion is 4-3, 2-1 in conference play. In his weekly “Wake Up With Wilder” show, Wilder said while the loss on the road to a good Western Kentucky team was disappointing, it shouldn’t define the Monarchs season. Wilder said that when he began a team meeting on Sunday, he had everyone stand up and repeat after him, “We are a good football team.”

“That’s my No. 1 responsibility, to get them back,” Wilder said. “The moment really got us, got all of us.”

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.