The Colby College football team showed improvement in Saturday’s 31-14 loss to Middlebury. Now, the Mules need to carry that improvement for four quarters, coach Jack Cosgrove said.

Colby and Middlebury were tied 7-7 in the final minute of the third quarter, before the Panthers scored a field goal to take a 10-7 lead into the fourth. A pair of Colby turnovers led to two of Middlebury’s three fourth quarter touchdowns, letting the game get out of hand quickly.

“It got away. The last four years, (Middlebury) has won 26 games. We’ve won seven. We got to the fourth quarter, and they knew how to play. They’ve been there before. We haven’t. We got there, which was encouraging. It was the furthest we’ve advanced with a good team so far,” Cosgrove said. “We failed, but we learned from our failures. That’s what those type of things present to you. Hopefully we’ll back in that situation this weekend with a chance.”

Freshman quarterback Matt Hersch got his first start versus Middlebury, and will start again Saturday when the Mules (0-3) host Wesleyan (1-2). Hersch was 20 of 34for 182 yards with a pair of touchdown passes, but also threw a pair of interceptions, one of which was returned for a fourth quarter touchdown. Hersch also lost a pair of fumbles.

“We thought there was a lot of promising things, positive things. Obviously the turnovers were a concern. We’re working hard on that. You learn from your mistakes. He’s a very conscientious, hard-working young man. He wants to be a great player,” Cosgrove said.

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Colby senior linebacker and captain Sebastien Philemon is making strides towards returning to the field after suffering a severe ankle injury on the second day of preseason practices. On Thursday morning, Philemon wore a red jersey to signify non-contact, and worked on individual drills as the team practiced.

“He’s making progress. This is really uplifting for him, and us. He’s worked incredibly hard in his rehab, and he wants to back so bad. The progress has been back, and it’s a credit to him and his spirit,” Cosgrove said.

Philemon led the Mules in tackles last season. Cosgrove said there’s still no timetable for the senior’s return to game action.

“This was a really good advance week. All I can tell you is he’s ahead of schedule, which is promising,” Cosgrove said.

Colby’s other defensive captain, safety Don Vivian, did not participate in Thursday’s practice. Vivian was injured in the Sept. 22 game at Williams, and did not play last week against Middlebury.

“(Vivian’s) fighting through a couple things,” Cosgrove said. “That’s football. It happens. What we’re trying to do is make sure the guy who goes in for them is a guy we can hold responsible and accountable. You’ve just got to play the next guy.”

• • •

The emergence of Austin McCrum at quarterback has allowed Bowdoin to get creative with its offense. Noah Nelson and Griff Stalcup, both former quarterbacks, have lined up at wide receiver this season for the Polar Bears.

In last week’s 24-14 loss to Amherst, Stalcup led the Polar Bears with 11 catches for 75 yards and a touchdown. Nelson had one catch for 10 yards. Each also factored in the passing game as throwers. Stalcup was 3 for 3 for 57 yards, while Nelson completed his only pass for 35 yards.

A graduate of Thornton Academy, McCrum transfered to Bowdoin this year after spending the last two seasons at Lafayette College, a Football Championship Subdivision program in the Patriot League. McCrum and Stalcup split time at quarterback in the season opener, a 41-6 loss to Williams. Stalcup started that game at quarterback, with McCrum starting each of the last two games.

Stalcup, a former Vermont Gatorade Player of the Year as quarterback at Burr and Burton, leads the Polar Bears with 16 catches for 133 yards. Bowdoin (0-3) hosts Tufts Saturday at 1 p.m.

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A pair of Winslow alumns are key players on the Maine Maritime Academy defense this season.

Trenton Bouchard, a junior defensive back, has 20 tackles and a pass breakup. Alec Clark, a junior inside linebacker, has 18 tackles.

The Mariners (0-4) host undefeated MIT (5-0) Saturday. Messalonskee grad Jack Bernatchez, a tight end/running back, has two catches for 26 yards and a touchdown for the Engineers.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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