Redhawks to play under northern lights (10/15/09)

Oct. 15, 2009

By Mal Boright

Observer correspondent

With a shorter-than-usual week of practice in which to rejuvenate a stalled offense, head coach Jim Provost hopes the Redhawks can get back some of the rumble and dash that helped propel CVU to victories in its first five games.


    Courtesy photo by Terri Zittritsch
Champlain Valley Union High football player Derek Goodwin (28) carries the ball against Milton High on Saturday. Milton handed the Redhawks their first loss, 14-0.

A derailment took place Saturday at the Hinesburg gridiron when a scrappy, 4-2 Milton High squad handed the Redhawks a 14-0 whitewashing. CVU never got more than 5 yards inside Yellowjacket territory at the midfield stripe.

On Friday night, 5-1 CVU will make the 70-mile trek to Newport to test the 3-3 Falcons, who have had a wild up and down season thus far.

Last week, the birds from the north were up, posting an upset 19-13 win over 4-2 U-32 in East Montpelier. The previous week, the Falcons had crunched Oxbow High 69-28.

Three weeks ago, however, a winless Lyndon Institute whacked them, 44-8.

The week before that downer, North Country fell to Milton High 14-0.

The Falcons opened the season by blowing out Montpelier High, 46-13. They then got nipped by Mount Mansfield Union in a shootout, 54-44.

“Offensively, they (North Country) run a lot of fakes and do it well. We have to be disciplined on defense,” Provost said.

Milton put up a mighty defense in shutting down the Redhawks on Saturday, in a game in which field position became a determining factor. CVU got to midfield just four times in 11 possessions and on five occasions was burdened by starting inside its own 7.

“We executed poorly,” Provost said. “We could not get into a rhythm.”

The visitors had a formidable front wall anchored by big and mobile tackles Jamie Holbrook and Russell Justin, with linebackers Dino Georgakis, Tanner Palermo and Tyler Robitaille adding considerable pressure.

The Redhawks were held to six first downs, one via Milton penalty and two in the final two minutes of the game. The ground game produced 54 yards, with J.P. Benoit picking up 33 on nine carries.

There were also few opportunities through the air, with 18 throws resulting in five catches for 19 yards and three interceptions. Four passes appeared on target but were mishandled.

Defensively, CVU gave nearly as good as it got, but the field position problems proved too much to overcome.

Milton’s first score came with 1:45 left in the first half, when Holbrook became a back and smashed into the end zone from 4 yards out to complete a short drive that opened at the CVU 36.

Matt Long and Cameron Fitzgerald stuffed Milton’s rush on the two-point conversion attempt.

The Yellowjackets scored again midway through the third quarter, set up at the CVU 30 after a pass interception and 25-yard return by Garrett Baker.

The Blue and Gold slowly crunched its way to the 5 in seven plays. Quarterback Palermo then sneaked into the end zone. Milton tried another run for the two points, but Fitzgerald and Dan Thabault rose from the trenches to stop it.

Early in the fourth quarter, CVU’s defense, led by Mikey Bean, Nick Meunier, Dale Conger and others, held Milton on downs at the CVU 3. It was the second time the Redhawks had kept the Jackets out of touchdown territory from inside the 5.

But on the Redhawks’ first play, the ball was fumbled in the end zone; CVU recovered, but was downed for a safety and the final 14-0 tally.

Collin Teator had CVU’s lone recovery of an MHS bobble and Derek Goodwin a pass interception.

“We have to pick up the pieces this week,” Provost said on Monday. “But we are still in charge of our playoff destiny.”


Milton-Champlain Valley Union, Stats

MHS 0 6 6 2   –   14

CVU 0 0 0 0   –   0


                       MHS          CVU

First downs       10             6

Rushing yards    178        54

Passing yards     50         19

Return yards     85          20

Comp-Att-Int     2-9-1       5-18-3

Sacked-Yards Lost 0-0       2-4

Punts-Avg            4-33       5-26

Fumbles-lost          4-1         3-0

Penalties-yards        11-92     2-20