Redhawks win hard-fought game in Brandon (10/8/09)

Football team hosts Milton on Saturday

Oct. 8, 2009

By Mal Boright

Observer correspondent

After narrowly getting past two Division 2 adversaries the past two Saturdays, the Champlain Valley Union High Redhawks will entertain division rival Milton High (3-2) Saturday at the Hinesburg block and tackle layout.


    Courtesy photo by Terri Zittritsch
TChamplain Valley Union High quarterback Drew Nick (right) lets go of a pass during the Redhawks’ 7-6 win over Otter Valley Union High on Saturday.

Game time has been moved to 2 p.m. due to student testing.

The 5-0 Redhawks, 4-0 in the division, are no longer — if they ever were — taken lightly by playoff position competitors.

Milton comes to town stinging from a 26-0 blanking by Mount Mansfield Union last Friday night in which the Yellow Jackets could convert only two first downs and picked up just 57 yards of offense.

Previously, Milton had lost to South Burlington High by a score of 36-20, and defeated Bellows Free Academy of Fairfax 32-8, Burr and Burton 28-6 and North Country Union 14-0.

CVU also handily bumped off the two common opponents, Burr and Burton and BFA.

“Milton is a lot better team than it showed last week,” CVU head coach Jim Provost warned. “This is going to be a battle.”

A southern trip to Brandon and Otter Valley Union High last week also produced a battle, one in which the Redhawks had to come from behind in the second half before posting a 7-6 triumph over the stubborn 1-4 Otters.

Sophomore quarterback Drew Nick, in his first start as signal caller, hit halfback Derek Goodwin with an 18-yard scoring pitch with 4:19 left in the third quarter to force a tie before kicker Brian Cherhoniak booted the winning point-after.

Nick, filling in for injured Konnor Fleming, passed for 102 yards and ran for another 18.

Provost said Fleming, who injured an ankle in the previous week’s 7-0 victory over Middlebury Union High, is day-to-day.

“Nick did a good job, and so did James Pieper-Lococo, who filled in for Konnor at cornerback,” Provost said.

Pieper-Lococo, a junior, made a key late defensive play, batting down a long Otter Valley pass just before it could get to a racing receiver for a pay dirt payoff.

Another late game Otter Valley drive was halted when battle hardened lineman Cameron Fitzgerald recovered an Otter fumble in CVU territory.

“The defense played well, as usual,” Provost said.

Otter Valley scored early in the second quarter when halfback Peter Bautista (165 yards on 21 carries) romped 46 yards for a score. The extra-point kick misfired.

“We played better in the second half,” Provost said.

Motivation for the post-intermission improvement may have come in part because of some well-chosen Provost halftime words.

CVU assistant coach Tyler Provost, son of Jim, told Tom Haley of the Rutland Herald that the coach’s halftime speech was “scary.”

Pieper-Lococo told the Herald, “It got us going.”

The head coach Sunday added praise for usual defensive stalwarts Eric Palmer at linebacker and end Matt Long. He also credited offensive end Ryan Busch with a “nice day,” and a critical fourth down catch.