WATERVILLE — The Colby-Bates-Bowdoin trophy is not a flawless ornament. The gold football has dents — many dents — scars and bruises from decades of victory parties.

As Colby College senior safety Don Vivian lifted the CBB trophy to the ski at Alfond Stadium on Saturday afternoon, he thought it was the most beautiful thing he had ever seen.

Colby broke open a close game with a 27-point second half, pulling away from rival Bowdoin for a 30-14 win. It was the first CBB championship for the Mules since 2005.

“New history,” Vivian said. “We’re setting our own course at this point. It’s a great starting point for us. We’re really excited, as you can see.”

Senior running back Jake Schwern ran for 185 yards and three touchdowns on 34 carries for Colby (3-6). Schwern’s first TD, a 47-yard run down the Bowdoin sideline, came with 9:38 left in the third quarter and gave the Mules a 10-0 lead, and set the offensive tone for Colby for the rest of the half. It also came on a broken play.

“It was supposed to go the other way. It kind of got a little messed up. The offensive line did a heck of a job blocking, and I just found a hole and just kept running,” Schwern said.

A 29-yard punt return by Jack Colleran set the Mules up at the Bowdoin 21. Three plays and a pass interference call on the Polar Bears later, quarterback Matt Hersch bootlegged to the left pylon for a touchdown as the Bowdoin defense converged on the middle to stop Schwern. The Mules led 17-0 with 6:01 left in the third quarter. The offensive success came after a slow start. Colby punted on its first four possessions, and led 3-0 at the half after Walter Thilly banked a 29-yard field goal off the right upright and through with 3:29 left in the second quarter.

“Give (Bowdoin) credit. They came out and played really well defensively. They wanted to force us to throw the ball in some conditions that weren’t great,” Colby head coach Jack Cosgrove said. “They played seven, eight man fronts and gave us a hard time. I thought we did a great job talking at halftime about things we needed to do on offense.”

The Mules had success when they put Chris George in the backfield as a fullback, and also converted a Bowdoin turnover into a touchdown. When Matthew Williams fumbled a punt late in the third quarter, Colby’s Mike Whiting recovered it at the Bowdoin 1. On fourth and goal, Schwern dove into the end zone for a 24-0 lead.

Schwern added a 16-yard touchdown run with 10:38 to play to give the Mules a 30-0 lead.

“I think in the second half it hit us, like, man we’ve only got one half left. We’ve got to bring it all out there,” Schwern said.

While Bowdoin finished with 374 total yards to Colby’s 319, most of those yards were empty calories. While the Polar Bears moved the ball, they didn’t get close to the end zone until the game was well in the Mules’ hands. Communication was the key for Colby’s defense, Vivian said.

“We had a lot of emphasis on it this week, on communicating shifts, communicating motions, everything,” Vivian, who had eight tackles, said.

Added Cosgrove: “They came out to try and run the football, and they had some success. They were mixing it up on us. The thing I liked was, we bent but we didn’t break.”

Bowdoin scored with 9:41 left, when Brendan Ward (28 carries for 146 yards) broke a 48-yard touchdown run. The Polar Bears added another touchdown with 34 seconds left, when Bo Millett caught a 5-yard touchdown pass from Austin McCrum.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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