As debuts go, Brattleboro Colonels head football coach Chad Pacheco hoped for something better.
Instead, the Hartford Hurricanes scored 41 unanswered points as senior running back Jacob Perkins rushed for 215 yards and six touchdowns in a 41-21 win over Brattleboro last Friday on opening night for the 2015 season at Natowich Field.
“That’s a great football team. They are very solid up front and Perkins ran really well. That was a good test for us,” said Pacheco after his first game at the helm of the Colonels’ football program.
It looked promising for Brattleboro at the start of the game as they opened with a nine-play scoring drive. A 29-yard pass reception by senior Taylor King and a 20-yard run from junior Cheick Diakite helped set up a one-yard touchdown by junior quarterback Tony Martinez. Jack Gagnon’s extra point made it 7-0 Colonels.
It took some time for the Hurricanes to respond, but Hartford would ultimately score the next 41 points.
The Colonels’ defense kept the game close, as Hartford only had a 12-7 at the half, but eventually the Hartford offensive line of Jason Bielecki, Khant Thu, Bailey Nott, Justin Pero and Tanner Potter wore down the Colonels.
Hartford finished with 421 total rushing yards. Kody Rhodes ran for 70 yards, while Walker Judd picked up 66 yards.
After the opening touchdown, Brattleboro didn’t score again until late in the fourth quarter against Hartford’s second-string defense. Gagnon had a 14 yard touchdown and Martinez later scored on a 32-yard run.
Brattleboro certainly had a chance to put more points on the board. But a second-quarter interception return for a touchdown by linebacker Aleks Harrison was nullified because of a personal foul committed by one of his teammates.
The Colonels also got a fumble recovery and sack from Diakite at linebacker, a couple of pass breakups from King at defensive back, a couple of tackles for losses from linemen Ty Grannum and Harrison, and a big fourth-down stop by defensive end Chris Hall.
Unfortunately, Perkins ran roughshod over Brattleboro in the second half and gained more rushing yardage on his own than the entire Colonel team combined.
Brattleboro ran the ball 37 times for 187 yards. Martinez led the way with 70 yards, mostly in the fourth quarter. Diakite finished with 45 yards and Kolton Ravenna had 32.
The passing game wasn’t a factor for either team, as Martinez was 3-for-10 for 38 yards and was intercepted once. Hartford quarterback Bryce Landon completed five passes for 42 yards.
“I felt we let this one get away,” said Pacheco. “Hartford is a great team that’s solid up front, with two great running backs. We had a great start. Now, we just have to work on finishing games.”
The road gets tougher for the 0-1 Colonels, as they head north to play at St. Johnsbury on Saturday at 1 p.m.
Terriers crush Cosmos
• In a break from tradition, the Bellows Falls Terriers faced their traditional archrival, the Springfield Cosmos, in the regular season opener last Friday night at Brown Field, rather than in the season finale as in years past.
There was little to cheer about for the Cosmos, as they were clobbered by the Terriers, 48-0.
The game marked the 100th time these teams have faced each other on the football field. The Terriers have won the last six meetings, including a 42-7 victory last season. BF has a 54-42-4 record in the series that dates back to 1914.
While Springfield has struggled to keep its football program relevant, little of the luster has gone out of the BF-Springfield rivalry. The chance to play for “The Trophy” is motivation enough for the players on both sides.
As usual for a BF team, the Terriers ran the ball and got all their touchdowns on the ground. Jahyde Bullard scored three times and Jacob Lober, Logan Cota, Shane Clark, and Chris McKeen each added a touchdown for the visitors. Bellows Falls led 28-0 by halftime in a game in which the outcome was never in doubt.
The 1-0 Terriers will host Mount Abraham for the home opener on Friday night at 7 at Hadley Field.
• You wouldn’t normally give credit to the defense in a soccer game where they gave up a pair of goals. However, Leland & Gray kept the Green Mountain attack bottled up for most of the game as the Rebel boys won, 4-2, last Saturday in Chester.
The Rebels controlled the midfield and, aside from a couple of defensive lapses that led to the Chieftains’ two goals, did not allow Green Mountain to have many scoring opportunities. Senior goalkeeper Nick Morrow finished with three saves.
As for the Rebels’ offense, coach Chris Barton said they could have easily scored twice as many goals. The Rebels put 18 shots on goal and had many quality chances to score.
“I’m proud of the way we played,” said Barton. “We stayed with what we do well and bounced back after a few near misses.”
GM got the first goal of the game in the 19th minute, when Mack Walton took advantage of a defensive breakdown and pounced on a loose ball in the goal crease. Two minutes later, the Rebels got the equalizer when senior forward Sergi Brower scored off a pass from senior forward Cody Cutler.
Leland & Gray got the go-ahead goal in the 26th minute on a direct kick by senior midfielder Owen McDonald after he was taken down just outside the penalty area on a breakaway.
The Rebels started the second half with another goal of a set play. This time, it was McDonald’s direct kick from the top of the penalty area that found Brower’s foot just two minutes in.
GM’s Jeremy Fleming scored in the 57th minute to cut the Rebels’ lead to 3-2, but McDonald would get it back in the 70th minute when he took a pass from senior Jeremy Bovat and scored from the left side of the penalty area.
“We have a lot of skill and experience up front,” said Barton. “Today, that created a lot of opportunities.”
• The two-time defending Division IV state champs picked up where they left off last season last Friday, as Twin Valley won its 35th consecutive game, 3-0, at Windsor, in their season opener.
The Wildcats got a pair of goals from Chad Bernard and another from freshman Gunnar Nilsen. James McGovern had two assists and Nick Nilsen also set up a goal. Goalkeeper Kyle Murdock was scarcely tested as he made four saves for his first varsity shutout.
• Twin Valley opened its season with a 2-0 loss to Otter Valley in Brandon last Friday.
Addie Pinkowski scored twice to lead Otter Valley and goalkeeper Felicity Drew made four saves to earn the shutout. Twin Valley goalkeeper Brianna Rafus finished with seven saves.
Harris named to Vermont Sports Hall of Fame
•The Vermont Sports Hall of Fame will honor Brattleboro ski jump pioneer Fred Harris at its fourth annual induction dinner and celebration on Nov. 14.
Also selected for the 2015 class is longtime Vermont Golden Gloves boxing promoter Ernie Farrar. The remainder of the induction class will be released in mid-September.
Harris (1887-1961) will be inducted as the VSHOF Historical Pioneer Award, which honors a pioneer from Vermont who makes his or her mark in sports in or outside the Green Mountain State. Not limited to a pioneer from the past, it also acknowledges a one-time prominent contribution by a Vermonter at the regional, national or international level.
In addition to founding the Dartmouth College Outing Club (1909) and the Brattleboro Outing Club (1921), Harris was the designer of the Harris Hill Ski Jump and organizer of the Harris Hill Jumping Tournament in 1922. Harris built the ski jumping hill and the wooden trestle tower with $2,200 out of his own pocket.
The event has become a Brattleboro winter tradition, with thousands of spectators cheering ski jumpers from around the world. The national championships were held at the jump in 1951, the same day the hill was rededicated in honor of Harris, with 168 jumpers competing.
A co-founder of the United States Eastern Amateur Ski Association, Harris has been called “The Man Who Put America on Skis.” A member of the Vermont and National Ski and Snowboard Halls of Fame, the Brattleboro native also served as an official at the 1932 Lake Placid and 1960 Squaw Valley Winter Olympics. He is also considered one of the first “extreme skiers,” hiking to the top of and skiing down Whiteface in New York and Mount Washington in New Hampshire.
For information on the VSHOF and its induction dinner, go to www.vermontsportshall.com.