By Mal Boright
September 26th, 2013
When, in the middle of a football campaign, a team with a zero in the loss column meets another team with zip on the defeats list, a serious happening is in the offing.
The place and time will be Middlebury Union High Friday night at 7 p.m. The foes are visiting 4-0 Champlain Valley Union High and 4-0 Tigers.
“It is into the meat grinder,” said CVU head coach Jim Provost Sunday. “Middlebury (Tigers) are solid overall. They don’t make mistakes. They are well coached.”
Provost added that his Redhawks “just happen to be 4-0. In spurts we look great. This time we will have to be consistently good throughout.”
The Tigers blanked defending Division 1 champion Hartford High (2-2) and ended the Hurricanes’ two-and-a-half year winning streak on the season’s second weekend. Their other victories were over Essex High (35-7), Colchester High (28-6) and, last Saturday, Rutland High (35-0).
CVU rapped St. Johnsbury Academy 30-14 Saturday. Previous wins were over Burlington High (25-8), Essex (27-19) and Colchester (35-9).
Middlebury is led by veteran quarterback Austin Robinson, who tosses the occasional pass but also beats feet, scoring two touchdowns in the win over Rutland plus several in the earlier victories.
Redhawks’ signal caller Steele DuBrul also pounds the ground, rolling up 100 yards in 21 carries Saturday, including scoring jolts of 14 and eight yards.
For CVU, the triumph was an all-infantry show as the Redhawks rumbled overland for 355 yards. Halfback Jason Cora smashed and dashed for 199 of those yards in 32 sorties, his third straight 100-yard game. He scored the first touchdown on a slam from the one in the second period, putting CVU up 10-0 by halftime.
Cora praised his offensive line, as did Provost, the coach noting the front guys in the trenches have been somewhat “unheralded.”
The initial score came on a first period 14-yard field goal by Max Whitcomb, who also knocked home three of four extra points.
CVU moved to put the game away after intermission with two long marches, the second going 65 yards in six running plays with DuBrul going in from eight yards out. The point-after made it 17-0, which stood into the final quarter.
Hilltopper quarterback Colton Hudson then broke through the CVU defense on a keeper and scrambled 71 yards for a score, and suddenly it was a contest at 17-7.
DuBrul, with help from halfback Lucian Bedard (game total: 41 yards, 12 lugs) led a 54-yard drive with the quarterback slanting into the end zone from the 14. Whitcomb’s point saw the CVU lead at 24-7.
St. Johnsbury came right back behind a passing attack that earned 148 yards for the day with 16 completions on 34 Hudson throws. However, there were four CVU interceptions, two of those by defensive back Alex Bulla and one by Jack Frost.
The clincher came when linebacker Matt Goldborough ended the Hilltopper drive by stepping in front of a receiver at the CVU 20, plucking the pass out of the air and sashaying 80 yards into the end zone.
St. Johnsbury then scored again late, after recovering a CVU fumble and driving 52 yards to get six on a three-yard plunge by fullback Dylan Shattuck.
As the poet John Keats wrote in Endymion, “A thing of beauty is a joy forever.”
That thing of beauty Saturday was the punting by Bulla, who booted four balls into the high, blue sky for an average of 50 yards. In the fourth quarter, Bulla unloaded a back-em-up special, unlimbering a 77-yarder from well behind the CVU 23 that rolled dead on the Hilltopper 5.
‘What an incredible day he had,” Provost said of Bulla. The senior kicker-defensive back said he was able to use the wind gusts, which made the high, lazily twisting kicks even prettier.