St. Johnsbury next for 3-0 Redhawks
Sept. 22, 2011
By Mal Boright
After their spirited 49-21 victory on Sept. 16 at Essex High School, it is fitting that the next Division I test for the undefeated Champlain Valley Union football Redhawks will be on Saturday’s Spirit Day, when the 2-1 St. Johnsbury Academy Hilltoppers pay their initial visit to the Hinesburg pigskin foundry.
The Academy forces got crunched, 24-0, by BFA-St. Albans in their season opener, but then recovered with a 35-14 win at Burlington and last Saturday’s 46-6 romp over Spaulding.
In earning the school’s first victory in two appearances at the Essex field (a loss to the Hornets last year and defeat in the Division II title contest in 2009), the Redhawks took advantage of early Essex (0-3) turnovers to open a 28-0 lead by the early stages of the second quarter. The Hornets regrouped in the late stages of the second reel, but CVU got its mojo back after intermission to put the game away.
After the game, CVU head coach Jim Provost recalled an old Nashville tune when he mentioned his squad’s defense.
“What’s that country song? Thunder gets all the credit but lightning does all the work? The defense creates opportunities and the offense taps them in,” he said.
The game was scoreless when the Redhawks’ Matt Bauer recovered an Essex fumble at the CVU 45 yard line after a Redhawks’ punt from deep in their own territory.
With decent field position for the first time in three possessions, CVU rolled into paydirt in eight plays on a Nick Ferrentino plunge from five yards out. Quarterback Drew Nick’s 25-yard keeper was a key play in the drive. Nick finished the night with 97 yards on eight lugs.
CVU soon got the ball back when it recovered an Essex fumble at the Hornets’ 32. Nick passed to Ferrentino for 12 yards, and on the next play rolled out for a 20-yard touchdown. An incomplete pass for a two-point conversion left the score at 12-0 with 3:33 left in the first reel.
A little more than a minute later, Ferrentino powered through the trenches for a 53-yard touchdown run. Nick passed to lanky end Ryan Beaudry for the two-point conversion and a 20-0 lead with 2:30 to go in the quarter.
For Ferrentino, his usual night at the office resulted in 231 yards on the ground, another 12 via a pass reception and four touchdowns. The night’s take boosted the junior halfback’s season marks to 10 touchdowns and 534 yards in three contests.
“He doesn’t need much of a hole,” lineman/linebacker Quinn Kropf said of Ferrentino.
After CVU went up, 28-0, on a Nick to Brent Carreiro scoring pass early in the second stanza, Essex quarterback Jack Valley got the Hornets back in the contest with touchdown passes for five and 37 yards.
With CVU leading, 28-14, the Redhawks’ linebackers Ryan Fleming and Michael Fournier led a defensive comeback capped by Carreiro’s interception and 25-yard return. Ferrentino then scored on a six-yard scamper and Kohlasch booted the extra point for a 35-14 edge with 3:27 to go in the third reel.
Ferrentino then loped 74 yards for his fourth touchdown on the last play of the quarter and Pat Shea (11 carries, 41 yards) scored on an 11-yard run in the final period.
The Redhawks assaulted the Essex defense for 369 rushing yards. CVU’s offensive created running room against a huge Hornets’ team that has four linemen weighing more than 250 pounds.
“They grown them big in Essex,” said Fleming after the game, adding that the coaches had the team well prepared for the contest.
“This is Essex,” added Kropf. “We were pumped coming in.”
CVU 49, ESSEX 21
CVU (3-0) Essex (0-3)
First downs 14 15
Total yards 435 312
Yards rushing 369 67
Yards passing 66 266
Passes-att-int 26-7-0 51-22-3
Fumbles-lost 3-1 5-3
Sacked-yds lost 0 2-21
Penalties-yds 9-89 3-25
Punts-ave 8-32 5-32
Return yards 75 130
CVU 20 8 14 7 — 49
Essex 0 14 0 7 — 21