LEWISTON (NEWS CENTER) - The Bates College football team put a final, thrilling stamp on its historic 2012 season, defeating Hamilton College 47-33 at Garcelon Field to finish 5-3, the Bobcats' first winning season since going 6-2 in 1981. Bates scored its most points since a 48-28 win over Bowdoin in 2002.
Though it led only once in the game, after a first-quarter touchdown, Hamilton (1-7) didn't go down without a fight. The Continentals scored three touchdowns in a wild fourth quarter, finishing the game with 491 yards of offense to Bates' 436. Bates countered with two touchdowns of its own in the final period, including linebacker Gilbert Brown's 101-yard interception return.
Senior team captain Patrick George ran for a career-high 144 yards on 15 carries in his final game for the Bobcats, leading a ground attack that piled up 355 yards on 50 attempts, Bates' most rushing yards in a game in more than a decade. It is the Bobcats' fourth time this season with 288 or more rushing yards. Bates finishes the year with a program-record 1,865 rushing yards, exceeding the former mark of 1,852 set in 1985.
Hamilton quarterback Jordan Eck eluded Bates tacklers on several sack chances, and finished the game with 27 completions on 42 attempts for a career-high 329 yards. Eck was intercepted three times by the Bobcats, who entered the game ranked fourth in Division III in interceptions per game, and he also tossed three touchdown passes. James Stanell, meanwhile, carried the ball 30 times for 133 yards and two touchdowns. He also caught an Eck pass for a 63-yard touchdown in the third quarter.
Four Hamilton receivers had five or more catches, led by Garrett Hoy's six receptions for 69 yards and a touchdown. Joe Jensen caught five passes for 71 yards and a touchdown, his fifth straight game with a TD catch.
Bates quarterback Trevor Smith completed 7 of 13 passes for 81 yards and a touchdown, and also carried 11 times for 50 yards and his fifth rushing touchdown of the season. Junior slotback Shawn Doherty, meanwhile, found the end zone twice, finishing the year with seven touchdowns in all. Doherty scored from 42 yards out on a reception from Smith late in the second quarter, then ran for a 27-yard score in the fourth quarter.
Hamilton could not slow down Bates' running game. In all, Bates had 12 runs that went for more than 10 yards. Senior Teddy Downs ran nine times for 55 yards and a score, and sophomore Mac Jackson added 41 yards and a touchdown on five carries.
Junior placekicker Charlie Donahue made field goals from 28 yards and a career-long 34 yards, finishing the season a perfect 9-for-9 on field goal attempts and shattering Bates' single-season accuracy record, formerly held by Rejean Guerriero's 7-for-10 season in 1999. Donahue's nine field goals ties as Bates' single-season mark with the nine kicked by Don Sarason '83 (on 13 attempts) in 1981.
It is Bates' ninth win over Hamilton in the teams' past 11 meetings, and the Bobcats now own an 18-17 advantage in the all-time series.
The Bobcats finish in a tie for fourth place in the NESCAC with Wesleyan; the Cardinals escaped Lewiston with a 24-22 win in Week 4. Only Trinity (8-0), Middlebury (7-1) and Amherst (6-2) placed ahead of Bates in the final standings.
Brown had a career- and game-high 12 tackles in addition to his third interception this season and the 101-yard return for a touchdown. Andrew Kukesh added eight solo tackles and his team-high sixth interception of the season, and Evan Dowd also made eight tackles. Kyle Starr made seven tackles and broke up two passes.
Austin Fisher paced Hamilton's defense with 10 tackles (6 solo).