Bellows Falls football coach Bob Lockerby has often said that the road to the Division II state championship always goes through Rice.
The Green Knights are the defending champs and a perennial power in the division, so last Saturday’s game at Hadley Field was a highly anticipated match-up between two unbeaten teams.
BF played well, but Rice had too much speed for the Terriers, and the result was a 26-6 win for the Knights.
Rice running back Anthony Phillip put on a show in the first half with three touchdowns — two on the ground and one through the air. Phillip, who rushed with 156 yards, scored on runs of 10 and 90 yards, and closed out the half with a 25-yard halfback option touchdown pass to Cam Cousino.
The game started out promising for the Terriers, as they scored on their first possession of the game. Quarterback Ethan Illingworth set up the touchdown with a nifty 20-yard run up the sideline, and scored on a two-yard keeper. The extra point attempt was unsuccessful.
“That first drive was beautiful,” said Lockerby.
Rice quickly responded as Chris Jansen fired a 19-yard touchdown pass to Joey Hester on the Knights’ first possession. Jansen rushed 116 yards before having to leave the game with leg cramps. On defense, Cousino intercepted Illingworth twice and Charlie Meli picked up two sacks.
BF had a chance to get back into the game before halftime as they put together a good drive, led by sophomore running back Jahyde Bullard, but a personal foul penalty ended the scoring bid.
Neither team scored in the second half, as a steady rain and strong defense by the Terriers held Rice in check. At the same time, BF could not engineer a comeback, despite Carson Fullam and Jahyde Bullard each rushing for 74 yards. Illingworth completed only two passes, both to Jake Lober, for 25 yards.
“I fully expect to play them twice this season, and we know the next time will be a lot more important,” said Lockerby, alluding to a possible playoff game between Rice and BF. “Defensively, we can’t give up points like we did in the first half, but we didn’t fall apart on defense in the second half.”
The 2-1 Terriers travel to Newport to face North Country this Friday night at 7.
• Everything that could go wrong did go wrong for Brattleboro in a 28-0 loss at South Burlington last Friday night.
The Colonels had four fumbles and an interception in the first half as the Rebels raced out to a 21-0 lead. Colby Barrett ran for all three touchdowns; he finished up 118 yards on just 10 carries.
Any hopes of a Colonel comeback were dashed when Jake LaBelle added a 61-yard touchdown run on South Burlington’s first offensive play of the second half.
Starting quarterback Tony Martinez was injured in the first half and was replaced by Tyler McKinney in the second half. The turnover bug persisted, as the Colonels gave away the ball two more times on a fumble and another interception.
It was the first win of the season for 1-2 South Burlington. Brattleboro falls to 1-2, and hosts Hartford this Friday night at 7 at Natowich Field.
• Brattleboro had a busy week, starting on Sept. 8 with the consolation game of the Lady Patriot Tournament in Bennington, a 3-1 victory over Springfield. Maddy Derosia, Devin Millerick and Abbie Lesure all scored for the Colonels as Brattleboro outshot the Cosmos, 21-9. Goalkeeper Tori Svec made seven saves.
The Colonels faced Springfield again, this time at Tenney Field, on Sept. 10, and they rallied to beat the Cosmos, 2-1.
Springfield led 1-0 at the half on a goal by Calista Polidor. Brattleboro’s Abbie Lesure then scored the tying and winning goals in the second half, each assisted by Natasha Clark. Brattleboro had a 16-15 advantage in shots, and Svec made 11 saves in goal.
Brattleboro faced a sterner test against Mill River two days later, and came up short, 5-1, at Sawyer Field. They trailed 2-1 at the half, but gave up three unanswered goals in the second half. Mill River controlled play for most of the game.
• Caitlin Hunt had a goal and two assists as Twin Valley defeated Bellows Falls, 5-1, on Sept. 9 for the Wildcats’ first victory of the season.
All of the TV goals came in the first half as Natalie Herrick scored twice, and Karlee Walkowiak, Tayler Courchesne, and Hunt also scored. Assists were also credited to Cassie Bratton, Sam Morse and Walkowiak. Carrie Ticino scored in the second half for the Terriers.
• Arlington handed Leland & Gray its first loss of the season, a 2-1 decision in Townshend last Friday. After Arlington took a 2-0 lead, Giannina Gaspero-Beckstrom scored for the Rebels with 14 minutes remaining. The Rebels are now 3-1.
• After an undefeated season last year, Twin Valley has been adding to the winning streak this season.
Morrow Bernard, Nick Nilsen, and Tobi Will all scored as the Wildcats won their 20th consecutive match with a 3-1 victory over Green Mountain in Chester on Sept. 8. Justin Hicks had two assists and goalie Sam Molner made five stops. Mac Walton scored on a penalty kick for the Chieftains.
Win No. 21 was chalked up last Friday with a 5-1 win at Otter Valley. The Wildcats are now 4-0 this season.
• Brattleboro had a tough week in Bennington at the John James Tournament with a 6-0 loss to Mount Anthony in the opener on Sept. 11, followed by a 2-1 loss to Arlington in the consolation game two days later.
It was a big win for Arlington, a Division IV school that has been winless at the tournament since 2008. The Colonels had plenty of scoring chances, but it was the Eagles that took a 2-0 lead in the first half. Jared Lacoste scored one goal, and assisted on Lucas Stroffoleno’s goal. Brennen Zolnoski scored for the Colonels near the midpoint of the second half. Brattleboro falls to 1-3.
• Leland & Gray improved to 3-1 with a 3-0 won over Proctor in Townshend on Friday. Corso Donatti, Owen McDonald and John Peloso all scored for the Rebels.
• Bellows Falls lost at West Rutland, 3-0, and beat Long Trail at home, 3-1, to finish the week with a 2-2 record.
• Bellows Falls shut out Woodstock, 3-0, on Sept. 8. The BF defense — led by Emily Stoddard, McKenzie Brandon, Paxton Santorelli. Morgan Finnell, and goalie Quinn Lawrence — kept the lid on Woodstock’s offense until the Terriers could score some goals in the second half. Anna Clark scored two goals and Sarah Wells added another. Cassidy Santorelli, Averie Lowe, and Wells were credited with assists.
Last Thursday, Wells scored three goals in the half to lead the Terriers to a 4-0 win over visiting St. Johnsbury. Santorelli scored the first goal of the game six minutes in, and the Hilltoppers never recovered as the Wells’ scoring barrage finished them off. Quinn Lawrence needed to make three saves for her second shutout of the week as BF finished at 4-0.
• Brattleboro held Mount Anthony scoreless for most of the game, but Kari Bow broke the deadlock with under 10 minutes to play to give the Patriots a 1-0 win at Tenney Field last Friday night.
Brattleboro fell to 0-4-1 with the loss, but considering the Colonels lost to Mount Anthony, 6-0, in Bennington 10 days earlier, coach Kelly Markol thought her team played markedly better.
“MAU is a good team,” she said. “They scored five goals on us in the five minutes of the last game. This time, I told the girls to be aggressive inside the circle and don’t give them a clear shot at the goal.”
Although the Patriots kept the ball on the Brattleboro side of the field for most of the game, they managed only four shots on goal. “We didn’t quit,” said Markol. “This program has been through some rough times, so the most important thing is to get the girls believing in themselves and try to improve with every practice and every game.”
• The Brattleboro boys’ and girls’ cross country teams swept a three-team meet on Sept. 9 in Hartford.
Becca Freeman led the Colonel girls with a first place time of 25 minutes, 53 seconds. Caty Yost was second in 26:21, and Gwen Harris came in third in 28:22. Jazmin Smith (12th in 32:16) and Katie Reynolds (13th in 32:18) rounded out the top five, followed by Dana Alexa (14th in 32:21), Annie Takacs (15th in 32:26), Emily Gale (21st in 33:42), and Safirah Wirasatyawan (31st in 42:43).
The Colonel boys were just as dominant, placing all five scoring runners in the top 10. Ryan Gilligan won the boys race in 19:32, with Tyler Clement finishing fourth in 21:30. Colin Costa-Walsh was sixth in 21:45, followed by Josh Meachen (9th in 22:50), Dan Burdo (10th in 22:59), Phelan Muller (13th in 24:03), Rhys Glennon (15th in 24:28), Matt Miller (22nd in 27:11), and Garrett Winchester (25th in 29:20).