By Mal Boright
November 7th, 2013
While coach Jim Provost’s Champlain Valley Union High football team’s 2013 edition did not meet the ultimate goal, a Division 1 championship, the Redhawks did take another step ahead in reaching the Division’s final four.
A 6-3 campaign was ended last Friday night under the lights in South Burlington in a 27-0 loss to the 8-1 Rebels who go on to meet 9-0 Middlebury Union High for the crown Saturday in Rutland.
“One of our goals was to reach the top four,” said Provost. “We did that, although we did not accomplish the big one which is the championship. But we will some day.”
After a CVU team missing some key players was whacked 47-6 by the speedy Rebels late in the regular season, these Redhawks gave South Burlington serious concern before bowing in the semifinal.
Provost wanted his team to use up the clock with a deliberate and consistent offense, which it did. The problem came when the Redhawks got inside the Rebs’ 10-yard line, where on three occasions they were denied the end zone.
“Our game plan worked to perfection,” Provost said. “We just didn’t finish.”
Following South Burlington’s first score on a slick 22-yard pass play early in the first period for a 7-0 lead, the Redhawks rumbled 75 yards in 18 plays before the drive petered out at the Rebels’ 1-yard line on the second play of the second quarter.
After an exchange of punts, South Burlington went up 14-0 on a 24-yard aerial strike from quarterback Hunter Riehle to wide out Cam Nolting, a play set up by a 56-yard run by elusive and quick back Tanner Contois.
CVU’s next opportunity to change the game came just before halftime when punt returner Alex Bulla slashed and dashed 70 yards to the Rebel 5 where Contois, of all people, caught up with him.
With 1.1 seconds remaining before intermission, the Redhawks were frustrated again in front of the South Burlington goal posts as a pass failed to connect in the end zone.
Early in the third reel, the ‘Hawks marched to the South Burlington 5 before the Rebels’ trusty pursuit stuffed an end run by CVU.
On the very next play, the remarkable Contois bounced off would-be tacklers at the line of scrimmage and then broke free for a 95-yard bolt that essentially sealed the contest.
“That play really hurt,” said Provost. “But we proved we belonged here.”
Contois, stopped with four yards or less on 16 runs on good works by the defensive line plus Matt Goldsborough, Bulla, Cora and others, still accumulated 241 yards and two touchdowns. For the season, the swiftie has 29 touchdowns and more than 2,000 yards.
CVU’s primary ground pounder Jason Cora ran for 67 yards in 25 carries and picked up four first downs. He surpassed the 1,000-yard mark (1,040) for the season.
Quarterback Steele DuBrul carried 15 times for 42 yards against a fast moving gang tackling Rebel defense.