Who can stop Middlebury football this season?
The Panthers have faced a series of tests in recent weeks, but nothing has shaken them yet.
Three weeks ago, the Panthers triumphed over Williams College (2–4) in the midst of a torrential downpour. The following week, they handed Trinity College (5–1) its first home loss in over five years, and then crushed Bates College (0–6) by over 40 points last weekend. Now, Middlebury (5–1) is riding a four-game winning streak with their sights firmly set on the NESCAC title.
If the Panthers win their remaining three games, they are guaranteed to earn at least part of the NESCAC title. Their final match-ups include Colby College (3–3), Hamilton College (1–5) and Tufts University (5–1). Quarterback Cole Kennon ’23.5, who co-captains the Panthers football team, indicated the prospect of a trophy is not distracting them.
“We’re putting an emphasis on taking the rest of the year one game at a time,” Kennon said. “We’re not looking at the title until the job’s finished.”
The team’s record is a testament to their prowess on both sides of the ball. Leading the Panthers on the offensive line is Kennon, who is averaging 280.17 passing yards per game. He previously led the team to a 7–2 record in 2022.
As the saying goes, “defense wins championships,” and the Panthers have certainly taken this to heart. The Panthers’ defense ranks second in the NESCAC in average points against per game (15), trailing only Trinity (13.5). Super Senior Febs Finn Muldoon ’23.5 and John McCool ’23.5 rank second and fourth in the conference in tackles, respectively. On the line of scrimmage, Tomás Kenary ’24.5 and Dave Filias ’25 have been playing like All-NESCAC players.
The Panthers' kicker, Zach Levy ’25, has received the NESCAC Special Teams Player of the Week honor twice this year, highlighting the team's well-rounded membership.
Middlebury still has their work cut out for them. In the next two weeks, they will hit the road, facing Colby on Oct. 28 and Hamilton on Nov. 4. Additionally, the Panthers’ biggest competitors — Trinity (20-15), Tufts and Wesleyan University (4–2) –– are all equally motivated to take the title come Nov. 11.
“We’ve got to ensure that we’re taking care of the ball and eliminating turnovers,” Kennon said. “Any game that we do that effectively, we’ll have a shot to win because of how stellar our defense is.”
If the Panthers do keep showing composure in difficult moments, get the duck boats ready — they could be on their way to their fifth conference title since the start of the century.
Blaise Siefer ‘23.5 is a sports staff writer.
Siefer is majoring in Sociology and minoring in Spanish.
For three semesters in 2021 and 2022, Siefer served as Senior Sports Editor. He also co-founded a Middlebury sports recap podcast, PFL Weekly, which is released on all major streaming platforms every Tuesday.
Siefer is also the Co-Founder and Co-President of Middlebury Club Soccer.