Middlebury Tigers set to invade Hawks nest (9/24/09)

CVU football team continues to dominate

Sept. 24, 2009

By Mal Boright

Observer correspondent

The 3-0 Champlain Valley Union High football team gets back into its Division 2 menu Saturday when traditional power Middlebury Union High rolls into Hinesburg for the first-ever gridiron clash between the two schools.


    Courtesy photo by Terri Zittritsch
Champlain Valley Union High football player Brian Cherhoniak kicks off against Bellows Free Academy of Fairfax on Saturday. The Redhawks put up a 42-6 victory in the home opener.

Middlebury comes to town for the 1 p.m. game after two straight wins following a season-opening, 28-6 loss at the hands of Colchester High. Since then, the Tigers have nipped Fair Haven Union, 14-6, and last Saturday tripped Mount Mansfield Union, 13-7.

CVU’s secondary will no doubt be tested, since all five of Middlebury’s touchdowns have resulted from aerial strikes.

In piling up a 42-6 victory over visiting Division 3 Bellows Free Academy of Fairfax on Saturday, the Redhawks dominated play but not the game statistics.

The Bullets had a remarkable 15-2 edge in first downs and ran 74 plays from scrimmage to just 30 for CVU. Nevertheless, the Redhawks were in command all the way; coach Jim Provost and his team took the long view with scoring runs of 69, 47 and 21 yards and added a pair of touchdowns off blocked punts.

The Red and White took charge in the first quarter when lineman Crawford Morris and end Matt Long slammed a BFA punt on its eighth play and lineman Cameron Fitzgerald lugged the subsequent loose ball some 30 yards for the score.

Placement specialist Brian Cherhoniak began a perfecto afternoon with the first of his six successful extra points.

BFA was forced to punt after its second eight-play series, giving CVU the ball for its first offensive play of the game with just under four minutes left in the quarter. Quarterback Konnor Fleming rolled off left tackle and into the end zone from 69 yards out for his ninth touchdown in three games. He wound up with 85 yards in six carries.

Next up for CVU: the darter, J.P. Benoit.

Early in the second period, the junior flashback returned a BFA punt from deep in its territory 14 yards to the Bullets’ 21. On the first play from scrimmage, Benoit busted through the BFA line, rocketed to the right sideline and into the end zone for CVU’s third score and a 21-0 edge.

CVU’s first second half trip to pay dirt came after the second blocked punt, this time by Ian Solomon with Long getting the touchdown.

Fullback Eric Palmer bulled in from five yards out early in the fourth quarter and halfback Alex Zullo got the final touchdown with a 47-yard scamper that was the Doozie of the Day.

Zullo started around left end but was greeted by a looming defensive wall. He then changed direction, shook off a would-be tackler and bolted to the right sideline, zipping to pay dirt.

“Adrian Peterson,” yelled several Redhawks from the bench after seeing Zullo’s pro-like moves. The great Minnesota Vikings running back would be eating his heart out.

BFA scored late in the game. Junior Brandan Bates (57 yards in 17 carries) returned a CVU kickoff 25 yards to the CVU 44. Five plays later, quarterback Andrew Barden connected with end Grady Ballard in the right corner for a seven-yard TD pitch. Defender James Pieper Lococo stopped the two-point conversion with a sure tackle just out of the end zone.

The Redhawks’ air game had just one completion for 10 yards. A Fleming to Collin Teator 37-yarder to the BFA 1 in the second period was nullified by a holding penalty.

CVU head coach Jim Provost praised the work of the defense and the special teams. Defensive back and special teams standout Nick Meunier was awarded the game ball after making several tackles and generally throwing his 140 pounds around all day.

Long was again a force at his defensive end slot, creating several lost yardage situations for BFA. Linemen Mike Bean and Dan Thabault helped keep BFA power back Ben Langelier (17 carries, 91 yards) reasonably contained.

Linebackers Drew Nick, Palmer and others had solid performances.

BFA-CVU, Stats

BFA    0    0    0    6    –    6

CVU    14    7    7    14    –    42

            BFA        CVU

First downs        15        2

Rushing yards    216        236

Passing yards        45        10

Return yards        30        96

Comp-Att-Int        5-12-1        1-5-0

Punts-avg        4-30        4-31

Fumbles-lost        1-0        1-0

Penalties-yards    4-30        2-25