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Football suffers heartbreaking loss in final home game of season

On Saturday, Nov. 4, the Colby football team played its last home game of the 2022 season, falling to Tufts 35–7. 

It was senior day for the Mules, so players in the Class of 2023 and their families were celebrated before the game for their achievements on and off the field. Following this was the national anthem performed on an electric guitar.

The second-leading tackler in the NESCAC and one of the conference’s best defenders, Julian Young `25, spoke about his departing seniors before the game. 

“Something I’ll miss the most from the seniors is their leadership and the relationship I was able to build with those guys daily. I’m definitely excited to continue to build on the high Colby football standards set by those seniors,” he said.

Tufts jumped off to an early lead in the first half. Capitalizing off of a Colby muffed return, Tufts ran in a touchdown in the final seconds of the first quarter.

In the middle of the second, the Jumbos stopped the Mules’ offense to set up great field position. They drove down and found the back of the endzone with a short pass to give them a 14–0 lead with five minutes left before the half. 

Colby’s offense quickly responded. The Mules orchestrated a 9-play, 80-yard drive, which finished with a Keon Smart ’25 touchdown. Colby trailed 14–7 heading into the half.

Tufts came out of the break on a mission. The Jumbos marched down the field with a seven-minute drive that ended in a score.

Now down 21–7, quarterback Matt Hersch ’23 and the Mules’ offense took over midway through the third. Colby found success with short gains in the first plays of the drive, and a holding call on a Tufts defender allowed the Mules to steadily drive down the field.

However, the Tufts defense did not let up. Hersch, pressured by the defensive line, nearly threw an interception.

Hersch later connected with receiver Duke Ferrara `25 for several yards, which pushed the offense just outside the Tufts 30-yard line.

Remaining aggressive, Hersch delivered a beautiful pass toward the end zone for which his receiver was just a step too slow.

On the next play, offensive interference was called against Colby, and they were pushed back fifteen yards.

Trying to make a play to get the Mules back into scoring position, Hersch was flushed out of the pocket and forced a pass that was picked off right near the Colby sideline.

The third quarter ended and the fourth began with Tufts on offense. The Jumbos took their time, using the clock to their advantage and running the ball to move the chains. They ran all over the Mules to extend their lead 28–7.

After the score, Colby’s coaches pulled the whole team together to give their players some motivation and energy for a comeback.

Return specialist Subomi Soyoye `26 provided this energy with an electric kick return for thirty-four yards.

Smart followed this up by breaking tackles and juking his way to a thirteen-yard reception, fueling the offense.

Unfortunately, the Jumbos’ front line struck again and hit Hersch on consecutive plays, forcing the Mules to punt. Hersch was sacked seven times on the day.

The Jumbos got the ball and conducted an eight-minute drive, the longest drive of the game, to secure the victory. Colby’s defense couldn’t get a single stop as Tufts converted third down after third down and finished with a twenty-yard quarterback keeper to the end zone.

Receiver Jack Sawyer `25 headlined the Mules offense with seven receptions and eighty yards, while Nick Donatio `24, Young, Luke D’Aloia `23, and Marc Dougherty `23 led the defense in tackles and sacks.

The Colby football team fell to a record of 4–4, and they will play their last game of the season under the lights at Bowdoin College on Nov. 12. The Mules have a chance to finish the season above .500 for the first time since 2005 with a win over Bowdoin. Last year, Colby hosted Bowdoin for their final game, winning the CBB Championship.

After the game, Young gave insight into the state of the team heading into their final week.

“The team and coaches have a mindset set in place which is to always look forward to the next challenge ahead. Therefore, we’re not getting down on ourselves  for having lost these past two weeks because we learn from these games as a whole and move on stronger and smarter. We’re feeling really good about this last game against Bowdoin. Not only is this the last opportunity for us to prove ourselves for the 2022 season, but it also is the last game for our seniors, so everyone has no choice but to lay it all out on the line and finish with that CBB trophy in hand,” Young said.


~ Julian Cangieter-Hernandez `25

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