By Mal Boright
September 19th, 2013
They are two high school football teams going in different directions, but when 0-3 St. Johnsbury Academy visits 3-0 Champlain Valley Union High Saturday (1 p.m.), Redhawks head coach Jim Provost wants nothing to be taken for granted.
“They (St. Johnsbury) have played better than their record indicates,” Provost said in a Sunday phone chat. He added that there are “no walks in the park” in Division 1.
“We will have to play well to beat them.”
CVU’s Spirit Day foe lost last Saturday to 2-1 Mount Mansfield Union’s crushing ground game 32-9, while Provost’s Redhawks were scoring a 25-8 home victory over 1-2 Burlington High following a scoreless first half.
Practice week focus, according to Provost, was offensive consistency, cutting out “stupid penalties,” and getting off to a better start.
In all three outings, the Redhawks have had problems unleashing the offense until the second half. Saturday, after an initial 24 minutes in which they put up a mere three first downs, the Red Clads came out of their intermission talk with the coaches in go-go mode.
Starting on its 41, it took CVU just three plays to find the end zone, quarterback Steele DuBrul (18 carries, 108 yards) hotfooting in from 39 yards out for the first of his two touchdowns.
CVU scored again on a safety with three minutes and 10 seconds left in the quarter, set up when Alex Bulla’s classic punt from near midfield came to a halt at the Seahorses’ two yard line. Moments later, Burlington’s fourth-down punt from the six was blocked in the end zone by linebacker Jason Cora, with lineman Nick Fecteau also on the scene.
Following BHS’ free kick, CVU opened a long drive at its 46 and used 11 plays to score its second touchdown, Cora (28 lugs for 129 yards) bulldozing in from the 5 some 37 seconds into the final reel. Max Whitcomb booted the point-after per usual and, following his later kick, now has 11 straight for the season.
CVU’s final six-pointer came on a DuBrul 25-yard burst up the left sideline in the closing minutes.
This followed a second two-point safety in which defensive end Pierce Farrington tackled Seahorse quarterback Peter Labracio in the end zone.
Burlington scored on defensive back Jack Breen’s 65-yard interception return and two-point pass conversion midway through the final quarter.
The CVU defense was once again huge, particularly in the second half, when it held Burlington without a first down and minus seven yards of offense, helped by two sacks (Farrington and Fecteau in on the other) for 17 yards in losses.
Provost also praised the defensive work of linebacker Connor Gobeille, Cora and defensive back Jack Austin.
The BHS defense also had some moments, sacking CVU quarterbacks four times for 33 yards of loss ground.
First downs 5 11
Total offense 80 272
Rushing yards 92 268
Passing yards 5 37
Pass att-com-int 10-1-1 10-1-2
Fumbles-lost 2-0 1-0
Sacked 2 (-17) 4 (-33)
Return yards 136 17
Penalties-yards 4-25 5-40
Punts-ave. 5-28 6-29
BHS 0 0 0 8 – 8
CVU 0 0 9 16 – 25