Football team has bye week to regroup from loss 9/25/08

Sept. 25, 2008
By Mal Boright
Observer correspondent

At the midway mark in its eight-game schedule, the Champlain Valley Union High football team has a blank on its docket this weekend, a time to heal and prepare for the final four contests of the regular season and possible playoffs.

Courtesy photo
Champlain Valley Union football players Cameron Fitzgerald (from left), Jake Thibault and Konnor Fleming team up on defense during Saturday’s loss at Poultney High.

Head coach Jim Provost said on Sunday the open date is OK, but it would have been better if the Redhawks were coming off a victory rather than last Saturday’s 20-14 loss at Poultney High.

With a 2-2 record, CVU is still very much in the Division III playoff chase, but, as Provost warned, losing Saturday made the job ahead “more difficult.”

“We are 2-2, but we should be 4-0,” the coach said, noting the season-opening 22-20 loss by a late field goal at Oxbow High and Saturday’s defeat, in which Poultney came charging from behind.

The Redhawks took the opening kickoff against the Blue Devils and rolled down the field to chalk up an 8-0 advantage on a rushing six-pointer by sophomore halfback J.P. Benoit and a two-point conversion by Derek Goodwin.

Provost saw that quick score as causing a problem.

“We seemed to relax after that,” said the coach. “We then got pushed around a little. They (Poultney) outdid us physically.”

Primary workhorse for the Blue Devils was Nathan Bourne. Call it the Bourne Ultimatum. The running back rolled up 175 yards and the game-winning touchdown on a 2-yard jolt into the end zone with 8:43 remaining in the fourth period. The score snapped a 14-14 deadlock.

“He was real tough,” Provost said of Bourne. “He ran with brute force, low to the ground and was difficult to bring down.”

After falling behind 14-8 by intermission, CVU tied the game in the third quarter on a 30-yard scamper by halfback Tommy Powers, making his way back into the offense following a Sept. 6 ankle injury against Bellows Free Academy of Fairfax.

Benoit, in the meantime, had his third straight 100-yard plus running game with 103 yards.

Provost said the preparation for the second half will be a quest to find more consistent play from the offense — in other words, ball control.

“Our defense is still our lynchpin,” he added. “Saturday, we had no consistency on offense. The defense let down just a little, but the offense should have picked them up.”