REGION – The Bellows Falls Terriers have carried the area bragging rights throughout the football season. There was no bragging of any sort by anyone last week, as the opposition outscored our area football teams 136-20. BF did the best of the bunch, falling to Burr and Burton 34-14 in the battle of Vermont Division II unbeaten last Friday night. Springfield fell to Spaulding 42-6 and Fall Mountain was dismantled by Stevens 60-0.
Things started well for the Terriers but they did not last long. Bob Lockerby’s team took the opening kick-off and marched to the Bulldog 15 before having their opening drive stall. Lockerby said, “That was disappointing. I thought it was a nice drive. We did that three times against Milton and survived. We talked about that could hurt us in a big game. It hurt us tonight.”
Burr and Burton took the ball and marched the 85 yards to pay dirt with a combination of runs and passes. Stellar quarterback Griffin Stallcup ran it in on a quarterback draw the final six yards. The Terriers could only muster one first down in their next possession and then punted. The defending state champions took the ball with a short field (the BF kicking game, both of the punt and kick-off variety is a weakness they may not be able to overcome) and quickly found the end zone again, this time through the air to up the count to 13-0 with 9:16 remaining until the half.
Shane Clark’s long kick-off return allowed BF to get in position to get on the scoreboard. Logan Cota had the biggest play in the drive with a run from the 30 to the 4. Jahyde Bullard tallied the six points on a 4 yard run at the 4:07 mark to cut the deficit almost in half 13-6. A very short kick-off put B+B right back with another short field and they took advantage with another Stallcup touchdown less than two minutes later at the 2:36 mark, upping the lead to 20-6.
BF finished the first half the same way they opened it, marching to the red zone, only to come up empty. A combination of hurried plays and clock management, along with an official taking an eternity to spot the ball, left the Terriers short. Lockerby said, “I said if we were going to beat them, we were going to have to play the best game we’ve ever played and we didn’t play the best game we’ve ever played. You guys watched the same game we did. We had opportunities and we didn’t take advantage of them. We had moments where we looked excellent like ourselves and we had moments where we just didn’t execute.”
One of the moments when they did execute was just after halftime when Shane Clark struck again, this time on a TD run to the left side of 58 yards with 9:43 remaining in the third quarter. The extra point play was special because Caleb Lisai thread one of those Tom Brady like passes near the ground, which could only be caught by the receiver. Clark gathered it in for the conversion, which brought the Terriers hope with a 20-14 score. The offense would not be heard from again. Two additional Bulldog tallies would provide the final margin of victory.
The Terriers travel to Fair Haven Friday night for a 7 p.m. kick-off and a game, which will determine which of those two teams will play at home in the first round of the play-offs. The two teams will meet again the following weekend at the site of the Friday night winner.
Springfield had hoped to land its’ second win at Spaulding and entered play that day mathematically still alive for a play-off spot. A 42-6 defeat left fans of all types surprised. “In the end, their size was the differrence,” Coack Rich Saypack offered. “It didn’t take long to see that we were outmanned,” he added, continuing on to say, “maybe we are just a JV football team.” That statement was not putting his football team down, it was just speaking about you cannot take shortcuts to being competitive.
Ryan McSally found Jacob Stepler on a neat 80-yard pass play for the lone Springfield score. In a strange twist of fate, with the Cosmos not making the play-offs, yet guaranteed nine games by the state of Vermont football system, they travel back to Spaulding Saturday for another 1 p.m. kick-off.
Fall Mountain never had a chance against a possible play-off bound Stevens team. The Cardinals led from start to finish. Coach John Callahan told us “It is so tough to be playing so many players out of position. We had fourteen healthy players and the kids give it their all. Koal Simonds does what he can to help us be as good as we can be. If some of our injuries heal, we might be competitive against Mascoma this week. Time will tell”
The 0-7 Wildcats host Mascoma Friday night at 7 p.m.