Oct. 9, 2008
By Mal Boright
No doubt smarting from Saturday’s 54-13 home loss to Division II North Country Union, the Division III Champlain Valley Union High football team takes another foray into Division II on Friday night.
Courtesy photo by Terri Zittritsch
Champlain Valley Union High quarterback Konnor Fleming (10) powers through the North Country Union defense in Saturday’s game. The Redhawks fell, 54-13.
The 2-3 Redhawks will play under the lights at Colchester High at 7 p.m. The 3-3 Lakers are coming off a 13-12 loss to Mount St. Joseph of Rutland last Friday night. This followed a 21-20 overtime win at Rice Memorial High the previous week.
If going strictly by last Saturday’s score, one might think the Lakers will have easy pickings when the Redhawks show up Friday. But as the old saying goes, that ain’t necessarily so.
CVU troubles against North Country Union came from gifts the home team gave to the visiting Falcons. That largesse — five lost fumbles and two intercepted passes — fueled the North Country offense while short-circuiting the Redhawks’ opportunities to move the ball.
In the first period, CVU turned the ball over on all four of its possessions, which led to three North Country touchdowns. The Falcons’ second score came after the Redhawks had opened a promising drive from their 13 yard line to midfield, only to have North Country defensive back Cody Gage pick off an errant pass and return it 45 yards down the right sideline for six points.
On the first play after the ensuing kickoff, the Falcons made their third fumble recovery of the quarter at the CVU 22, then scored on a 22-yard pass play from quarterback Aaron Grondin to Gage in the initial minute of the second reel.
Down 20-0, the Redhawks showed they could move the pigskin when not giving it up. They rolled 76 yards in 12 plays, scoring on a 23-yard pass from quarterback Konnor Fleming to wideout Michael Bonfigli. A two-point conversion pass failed to connect, but CVU had trimmed the margin to 20-6 and was back in the game.
But not for long. Helped by a third down roughing-the-passer penalty, North Country got the touchdown right back on a 41-yard scamper by halfback Fred LeClair on an option pitch. Andrew Lefleur, NCU’s 230-pound battering ram fullback, muscled in for the two points-after and North Country led 28-6.
The Redhawks’ next possession, after a quick first down, was halted by a pass interception.
Hopes for a second half comeback were quickly dashed when the Redhawks fumbled away the ball on first plays after kickoffs, leading to two more Falcon scores that put away the game.
Lefleur took over the NCU offense after intermission, rumbling for 156 of his 184 total yards and two touchdowns. On one 20-yard scoring run, Lefleur left a trail of at least seven red clad Hawks on the ground after they failed to bring down the bruising fullback.
“He is strong,” said CVU linebacker and running back Tommy Powers.
CVU’s final score came early in the fourth quarter on a 3-yard keeper by Fleming. Andrew Lieberman booted the point-after.
Fleming completed seven of nine passes for 80 yards and ran nine times for an additional 26 yards. Bonfigli caught five of Fleming’s tosses for 71 yards.
The Redhawks’ ground game produced 169 yards. Halfback J.P. Benoit, who sat out the second quarter with an injury and was limited after that, carried only seven times for 43 yards. Powers gained 55 yards on 14 sorties.
First downs 19 15
Plays from scrimmage 55 54
Rushing yards 383 169
Passing yards 16 80
Return yards 85 113
Att-Comp-Int 1-4-0 7-12-2
Punts-avg 1-23 1-25
Fumbles-lost 0-0 7-5
Penalties-yards 7-75 2-20
NCU 14 14 12 14 — 54
CVU 0 6 7 0 — 13