“Defense wins championships” is one of the oldest of football aphorisms, but a good defense can only do so much. The offense has to chip in and score some points too.
Against Burlington last Friday night, the Brattleboro Colonels shut down the Seahorses’ passing game. The Colonels sputtered on the other side of the ball, with minus-6 yards of total offense in the first half.
Someone had to step up on offense for the Colonels in the second half, and that was Chieck Diakite. The sophomore fullback ran for 109 yards and two touchdowns as the Colonels beat Burlington, 14-0, in the home opener at Natowich Field.
After struggling for nearly three quarters, the Colonels put together two long scoring drives to win the game. Starting on their 19 yard line, the Colonels went on an 11-play, 58-yard drive that ended with Diakite scoring on a 5-yard run with 11:27 left in the fourth quarter.
After stopping Burlington, Brattleboro got the ball back, and the offense clicked again with an eight-play, 64-yard drive capped by a 20-yard run by Diakite with about eight minutes left in the game. Dylan DeJordy kicked both extra points as the Colonels had a chance to savor a hard-fought win on a hot, humid night that was more like July than September.
Burlington quarterback Peter Labracio, 10 for 37 for 75 yards, was intercepted twice, by Tayler King and Tanner Freeman. Brattleboro quarterback Tony Martinez ran for 32 yards and completed five of his nine passes for 53 yards.
The 1-1 Colonels travel to South Burlington on Friday night.
• The Bellows Falls defense twice stopped Milton in goal-line situations, and the Terriers held on for a 27-14 road win over the Yellowjackets last Friday night.
BF scored on its first drive of the game, which was capped off by a 24-yard touchdown run by Carson Fullam. Milton took an 8-7 lead when Logan Bean returned a punt for a 46-yard touchdown. Cooper Bushey ran in the 2-point conversion.
The Terriers countered with a pair of touchdowns to close out the first half. Jahyde Bullard scored on a seven-yard run, and Liam Hackett reeled in a six-yard touchdown pass from Ethan Illingworth for a 21-8 BF lead.
Milton started the second half with a clock-eating 69-yard scoring drive that consumed all but two minutes of the third quarter. Bean scored on a one-yard plunge on fourth and goal to trim the BF lead to 21-14.
That was as close as Milton would come: Austin Stack, who led BF with 110 yards on 18 carries, scored an insurance touchdown on a 15-yard run with 20.8 seconds left in the third quarter. The BF defense, aided by costly penalties by Milton, held firm in the fourth quarter.
Now 2-0, the Terriers host Rice on Saturday at 1 p.m. at Hadley Field in what could be a preview of this year’s Division II championship game.
• Twin Valley boys’ soccer coach Buddy Hayford achieved a significant milestone last week — his 347th win as a high school soccer coach.
The victory came against Bellows Falls on Sept. 2, a 8-0 shellacking of the Terriers.
In his 32 years as a soccer coach at Wilmington and Twin Valley high schools, Hayford compiled a 348-134-24 record with seven state championships. The BF win broke a tie with longtime Arlington soccer coach John Werner, who retired in 2003 with a 346-108-31 record.
The Wildcats led 2-0 at halftime, then scored six more goals in the second half. Tobi Will had three of them; Baylee Crawford added two; Nick Nilsen, Justin Hicks, and Javier Mateos also scored goals.
Morrow Bernard, Wyatt Shippee, and Nilsen each scored as the Wildcats shut out Otter Valley, 3-0, last Thursday for Hayford’s 348th win.
• Leon Ogden scored in the 26th minute and Robyn Avery converted a penalty to give Brattleboro a 2-0 win in its home opener last Thursday. Goalkeeper Brian McCarthy picked up the shutout for the 1-1 Colonels.
The Colonels lost 5-1 Aug. 30 at St. Johnsbury. The game was tied at the half before the Hillltoppers erupted for four goals in the second half. Kassidi Ramirez scored the lone goal for the Colonels.
• Midfielder Owen McDonald tallied two goals and three assists as Leland & Gray won its first two games of the season: a 1-0 win over BFA-Fairfax on Aug. 30 and a 5-2 win over Black River on Sept. 3.
McDonald scored the lone goal of the game against BFA-Fairfax. John Peloso, Bryce Karg, Evan Daigneault, and Ryan Borgenson joined McDonald on the score sheet against Black River.
• Bellows Falls evened its season record at 1-1 last Saturday with a 2-0 road win at Fair Haven.
• Leland & Gray is off to a great start. Last Friday in Townshend they beat Black River, 2-1, for the Rebels’ first win in for years over the Presidents. Skylar Nupp and Ashley Bates were the goal scorers for the Rebels.
On Sept. 3 at Fair Haven, the Rebels beat the Slaters, 5-2. Giannina Gaspero-Beckstrom scored three goals, and Bates added two more scores. Goalie Jordan Gouger finished with seven saves.
• Abigail Smith scored the only goal of the game in the third minute to give Black River a 1-0 win over Twin Valley in Whitingham on Sept. 3. The Wildcats were shut out by Mill River, 8-0, to fall to 0-2 to start the season.
• Bellows Falls is also off to an 0-2 start, losing 7-0 at Arlington last Thursday and 7-1 against Mount St. Joseph at home last Saturday.
• Brattleboro opened the season with a 2-0 loss to Mount Anthony in Bennington last Thursday.
• Sarah Wells scored one goal and assisted on Lela Robinson’s goal to give Bellows Falls a 2-1 road win over Windsor. Quinn Lawrence had five saves in goal to preserve the victory.
• Mount Anthony scored three goals in the first 10 minutes and cruised to a 6-0 win over Brattleboro on Sept. 2.
• Becca Freeman finished second in 25 minutes, 4 seconds to lead the Brattleboro Colonels to a third-place finish in the girls’ opening meet at Thetford Academy on Sept. 2.
Woodstock was first with 21 points. Thetford followed with 57, and Brattleboro with 58.
Caty Yost also finished in the top 10 for the Colonels: she was sixth in 27:18. Dana Alexa was 20th in 32:34; Emily Gale was 22nd in 33:38; and Katie Reynolds was 24th in 34:45.
The Colonel boys were fifth behind Woodstock, Thetford, Bellows Falls, and Rivendell.
Ryan Gilligan, sixth in 19:52, was the top Brattleboro finisher. Following were Tyler Clement, 15th in 22:26; John Meachen, 25th in 24:24; Phelan Muller, 27th in 24:40; and Rhys Glennon, 28th in 24:52.