This & That: Springfield and Bellows Falls football slow to open

It has taken me more than six decades to figure out the seasons in New England. Although there are four kinds of distinct seasons, my figuring has clearly let me know that all seasons were not created equal. The truth is, winter is the longest season in my world, and it is not far away.

You see, my whole life’s research tells me there are really more than the traditional four seasons because there are also a couple of transition seasons. Jumping to the point, I believe winter is four months long and each of the other traditional times of year is only two months long. I realize those numbers only add up to ten. This leaves us with two transitional months.

I start with a school year because for the most part, this page deals with school sports. Fall is basically the two months of regular season fall sports: September and October. Then November is a transition month between fall and winter when the air outside often resembles a preview of coming attractions.

I’ve already mentioned that winter is the longest season and runs December through March in New England. Then comes April, the other transition month, with the coaches in our area cringing almost every day, wondering what each 24 hours is going to bring. Last, but not least, the final third of the year has spring paying a visit in May and June and summer in July and August.

While on the subject of fall, Friday evening, Aug. 31, was just about perfect to be outdoors. Football gatherings in both Bellows Falls and Springfield had to have enjoyed taking in the season openers in both communities.

The shocking news is how Springfield continues to pack in the fans year after year. Scribe Poody Walsh told me that the crowd was large and then some. In checking with Cosmos athletic director, Rich Saypack, he confirmed Walsh’s words, saying they had close to 700 fans.

The head count in Bellows Falls saw about 400 faithful fans in attendance. That means 1,100 football fans had the opportunity to enjoy the wonderful evening outdoors.

Both games saw very few offensive numbers accumulated during the first half. In fact, the games were almost mirror images for those first 24 minutes. Both contests were scoreless for the longest time. I was in Bellows Falls, and I don’t know if I have ever seen what I saw in the first quarter. Spaulding received the opening kick-off and kept the ball for more than 10 minutes, driving to the Terrier 6 and did not score. Their field goal attempt was blocked. I’m not sure I have ever seen one team keep the ball that long at a game’s outset in high school football.

Springfield and Bellows Free Academy of Fairfax played a scoreless first half. There was plenty of scoring in the second half with 44 points being put up on the board, but unfortunately the visitors put up 32 of them.

In Bellows Falls, the Terriers put the first points on the board with only 3:46 left prior to intermission. Sophomore Jed Lober found paydirt from 10 yards out. The Bellows Falls game would eventually see 38 points tallied with the Terriers owning 30 of them.

The turning point in the Bellows Falls game was when Spaulding had the ball deep in their territory just prior to halftime, and there was a bobble on a snap and the quarterback was trapped in his own end zone with 5.2 seconds left before the half. The play turned a one score game 7-0 into a two score game 9-0. Spaulding’s confidence went south from there and so did the score.

Julian Christiansen scored two touchdowns, both of the short variety. Lober added a 30-yard run to paydirt. Jacob Stepler ran for both Cosmo scores on runs of 25 and 34 yards.

BF coach Bob Lockerby made halftime adjustments, which opened up the contest for a Terrier triumph. But it was his awakening speech at halftime, which was probably equally as vital.

“I gave it to them.” He told me of his emotion-filled words directed at his football team, but he also passed out credit to the opposition.

He said, “In the first half, they owned the clock. They owned the game even though we had the lead. I think they were hungrier to play football than we were. At halftime, the boys had no emotion, so I challenged them, asked someone to step up and be a leader. Success has come easy for this group. They have never not been to the state finals.

“The guys who helped us get there are no longer here. It’s time for someone else to step up to help us get there. To get a win and give our guys experience is good. We are young. Outside of our offensive line, our backfield is really young.”

Lockerby made technical adjustments as well, and Spaulding was left standing in their tracks in the second half.

Springfield appeared to have done everything they could do in their contest. The 0-0 half-time tie was impressive. When all was said and done, the fact that BFA had more depth and able bodies to play on both sides of the ball allowed them to wear down Springfield and earn the victory.

Cosmo coach Todd Aiken said, “The first half was exactly what we expected, a grind it out, hard-nosed game. Both teams’ Ds kept things in check. In the second half, we just ran out of steam. We were only using 13 guys, and we had a couple of injuries too. That part was tough.”

BFA went up 16-0, scoring two TDs with two-point conversions. Then Stepler tallied his first score before two more Bullets third quarter touchdowns with conversions to complete their scoring and a 32-6 advantage.

Springfield is home again this Friday, Sept. 7 hosting Mill River at 7 p.m. at Brown Field. Bellows Falls is on the road Saturday for a 1 p.m. encounter at Lyndon.

Rivalry get-together

Springfield and Bellows Falls already had a get-together in one sport this fall as the Cosmos shut out the Terriers 4-0 in girls’ soccer. This game didn’t come out anything like we expected.

Long-time followers may have recognized the score between the two and thought it made sense, but here’s predicting that both teams aren’t the same as they have been recently.

The Terriers have only had three winning seasons since 2000, while the Cosmos have had double that. Springfield has dominated the games between the two schools.

To some, 4-0 may seem to be another domination, but those in attendance say it really didn’t feel like a 4-0 game.

More importantly, Springfield looked sharp in a scrimmage versus perennially tough Fall Mountain. Chances are they are possibly better than they have been since 2012.

On the other hand, Bellows Falls isn’t likely to be an easy calling card for a number of opponents this time around. I hear they are playing much better. The truth is, the score was 4-0 like many expected, but both teams may be better than most people expect.

If you would like to comment on the sports in this paper, feel free to email me at bmurphy@vermontjournal.com.

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