As the clock struck zero at Whittier Field this past Saturday, fans rushed from their seats and stormed the field to celebrate the football team’s first win since the fall of 2018. Although they were labeled as the underdogs against their New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) rival Amherst College, the Polar Bears led from start to finish, defeating the Mammoths by a score of 21-14.
Despite statistically dominating the first half on both sides of the ball, the Polar Bears only held a one-touchdown lead at halftime. However, following a quiet third quarter, the Polar Bears doubled their lead on a long touchdown pass at the beginning of the fourth quarter.
Head Coach BJ Hammer credited the win to the team’s preparation.
“[The team has] done a great job of preparing all year long, so it wasn’t like we did anything different,” Hammer said. “We kept building and building, and [on Saturday] the execution was there.”
The win was Hammer’s first in his Bowdoin tenure, which he said was an important moment in his career.
“When you are building a program, there are always phases, and there are always steps, and getting the first [win] is big,” Hammer said.
But Hammer refuses to take the team’s accomplishment for granted.
“The thing is, one win doesn’t define you, and we have to come back every week,” Hammer said.
Wide receiver Colton Fahey ’24 echoed Coach Hammer’s sentiment.
“Having that win, just remembering what that feels like, and trying to go chase that every single week is big,” Fahey said.
Fahey said a large home crowd contributed to the win, as students created a raucous atmosphere that helped the team play with confidence.
“[The crowd] keeps us motivated,” Fahey said. “It gives us the momentum, especially after a big play … to keep going.”
Coming off a 221-yard performance against Wesleyan, Fahey played a stellar game against the Mammoths, recording five catches for 112 yards and two touchdowns.
“It just felt really good to be able to do that for the team because of all the hard work the other players put in to get to that place,” Fahey said.
Following a record-setting performance against Wesleyan that earned him NESCAC Offensive Player of the Week honors, quarterback Andrew Boel ’24 also had a strong showing against the Mammoths, completing 68% of his passes for 307 yards.
After being denied his first college season as a result of COVID-19 restrictions, Boel was quick to deflect praise of his immediate success to others.
“I really give [the credit] to all my coaches, my offensive line and my receivers,” Boel said.
With their first win in the last three seasons, the team is finally able to breathe a collective sigh of relief and build their confidence.
“This program clearly needed a win more than anything,” Boel said. “I think this first win was huge just to prove to ourselves that we are able to run with anyone in this league and just to really get it off our back.”
“The tables are turning for Bowdoin football. I think we are going to have a really good finish to the season,” Fahey said. “The future is looking really bright.”