Redhawk football shuts out Winooski (Sept. 18, 2008)

CVU faces defending champs in next game

Sept. 18, 2008
By Mal Boright
Observer correspondent

With two straight home victories in the bag, the Champlain Valley Union High football team will head south on Saturday to the home of the defending Division III champion Poultney High Blue Devils.

“They are the defending champions,” said CVU head coach Jim Provost. “This is an important league game for us.”

The Redhawks hiked their season record to 2-1 Saturday with a 21-0 triumph over 0-2 Winooski, which had handed CVU two losses in the past two seasons.

Poultney is 1-2, having had its eggs scrambled at home on Saturday, 46-6, by Rice Memorial High, a Division II team with a 2-1 record. The Blue Devils’ lone victory was an 18-6, turnover-aided triumph at Bellows Free Academy in Fairfax. The Redhawks knocked off BFA 27-6 in Hinesburg two weeks ago.

The young Winooski team did not go down easily before the multi-faceted Redhawks.

“We had to work for this,” said Provost. “We needed to play well to beat them.”

Primary factors for CVU’s victory were an aerial defense that produced a quartet of interceptions and an effective ground pounding that racked up 246 yards.

Leaders of the blitzkrieg were speedster J.P. Benoit, who lugged the ball 18 times for 131 yards and a touchdown. The dash and dart zinger had his second straight century mark game, having trotted for 107 yards in the win over BFA.

Fullback Crawford Morris became known as the “drive-extender,” slamming for 66 yards in 13 carries, seven of those earning first downs for the Redhawks.

The CVU pass interceptors were defensive backs Collin Teator, Konnor Fleming, Nick Meunier and linebacker Eric Palmer.

Teator’s first quarter grab in the end zone on a Winooski fourth and goal from the 5 was a serious momentum changer. Winooski, with its second possession, unleashed a 41-yard scurry by halfback Cyle Chaplin, which set up a first and goal from the CVU 3 in a scoreless game.

On the first play, CVU linebackers Jake Thibault and Dale Conger threw Winooski halfback Gary Grant for a 3-yard loss. After a no-gain line plunge and a 1-yard pass completion, Spartan quarterback Chris Blais threw into the end zone and Teator made the pick, returning the ball to the CVU 21.

From there, the Redhawks drove 79 yards in 12 plays, quarterback Ian Solomon hitting end Matt Long with a 16-yard completion to the Winooski 11. Benoit then scooted in for the initial tally.

Benoit then showed he has hands to go with his legs, as he caught a Solomon pass for the two-point conversion and an 8-0 CVU lead.

The score came just seven seconds into the second quarter. On the first play after the kickoff, Fleming picked off a Blais pass to give the Redhawks the ball at the Spartan 40. Two plays later, Solomon connected with his favorite long bomb facilitator, wide receiver Michael Bonfigli, for a 43-yard touchdown.

The final score came late in the third period. Defender Cameron Fitzgerald fell on a blocked Spartan punt in the end zone. Andrew Lieberman kicked the extra point to finish the scoring.

As to how the punt was blocked, the answer was in the trenches.

“What happened?” veteran senior lineman Tyler Hulbert was asked.

“A Winooski player was pushed into the kick,” he replied.

“Who shoved him?” was the next question.

“I did,” came the reply.

A reminder that winning starts in the trenches.

WHS-CVU, stats
                                    WHS        CVU
First downs                   8        15
Rushing yards             110        246
Passing yards             77        71
Return yards                59        37
Comp-Att-Int            5-11-4        3-10-1
Sacked-Yards lost        0        3-30
Punts-avg                    2-32        3-33
Fumbles-lost                4-0        2-0
Penalties-yards            5-28        4-40

WHS        0    0    0    0 — 0
CVU        0    14    7    0 — 21