The learning curve has been steep for the Brattleboro Colonels football team this season, especially with a schedule that started out with three tough opponents — Hartford, St. Johnsbury, and Middlebury.
And, as for what we’ve seen so far, we saw a Colonels team that played a strong first half at home against Hartford, but couldn’t keep up in the second half. We saw them play a wild overtime game at St. Johnsbury where the last team that touched the ball — Brattleboro— won.
But the 1-1 Colonels had their toughest test last Friday night at Natowich Field against Middlebury, the two-time defending state champs in Division I. The Tigers entered the game riding a 24-game unbeaten streak, and they made it 25 wins in a row with a 27-13 victory over Brattleboro.
Brattleboro, which had a couple promising drives stall inside the Middlebury 20, had a great chance taken away when Gordon intercepted Colonels quarterback Tony Martinez near the goal line.
“We shot ourselves in the foot over and over,” said Pacheco.
Brattleboro still had plenty of fight left, however. Taylor King opened the second half with a 47-yard kickoff return, and then scored on a 16-yard sweep. He also kicked the extra point to make it 14-7 with just under 10 minutes to go in the third quarter.
The Colonels then came oh-so-close to seizing the momentum. Defensive tackle Ty Grannum made a tackle for loss and then recovered a fumble on Middlebury’s next possession.
But Gordon then rose to the occasion as he picked off another Martinez pass and later scored his third rushing touchdown as Middlebury led 20-7 late in the third quarter.
The fourth quarter was about ball control. Brattleboro cut the lead to 20-13 with an 85-yard scoring drive on 13 plays, capped by Cheick Diakite’s four-yard touchdown run with 11:35 left in regulation. Middlebury countered with a 65 yard scoring on eight plays. Trey Kaufmann’s five-yard run pushed the Tigers’ lead to 27-13 with 8:35 left.
Brattleboro needed to get two touchdowns quickly, but the Middlebury defense made sure that would not happen.
The Colonels got plenty of yardage on the ground, with 224 yards. With 155 yards on 31 carries, Diakite was the primary beneficiary of the run-blocking of offensive linemen Eli Kapral, Korie Cliche, Jordan Wright, Brandon Niemczyk, and Kyle Banford.
“Our running game is phenomenal,” said Pacheco. “I think people are noticing that Cheick is our workhorse.”
Martinez also did a lot of running, and took some hard hits as a result. While the two interceptions were costly, he made two good throws to receiver Evan Perkins for gains of 12 and 13 yards, and hit Austin Gilbeau for an 18-yard gain.
Now 1-2, the Colonels will play at South Burlington on Friday night at 7.
Terriers ground Falcons
• The Bellows Falls football team stayed undefeated as they traveled to Newport last Friday night to face the North Country Falcons, and cruised to a 44-14 win.
BF jumped out a 24-0 halftime lead on touchdown runs by quarterback Zac Streeter and running backs Chris McKeen and Jahyde Bullard. McKeen scored another touchdown, and Jake Lober and Liam Hackett also found the end zone.
Bullard, who was sidelined with a knee injury against Mt. Abraham, returned to the lineup and had 13 carries for a team-high 113 yards and caught two passes for 17 yards. Streeter (81 rushing yards), McKeen (68), Shane Clark (49), Lober (44), and Hackett (17) rounded out the Terriers’ ground attack.
Streeter was 3-for-6 through the air for 39 yards. Chris Doucet kicked five extra points and a field goal.
On defense, Lober had five tackles and two interceptions to lead the Terriers. DJ Snide (four tackles and a blocked punt), Dakota Derby (four tackles and a sack) and Bullard (4 tackles) also pitched in. For the second straight week, BF’s starting defense again held an opponent scoreless, as both the North Country touchdowns came against the BF reserves.
The 3-0 Terriers will play at Mount Mansfield on Saturday at 3 p.m.
• You never like to see 38 minutes of soccer wiped away, but for Brattleboro, the thunderstorms that prevented the completion of their home game against Woodstock on Sept. 9 was a good outcome. Because the game was stopped with 1:48 left in the first half, it will have to be replayed in its entirety on Sept. 16.
That was good news for Brattleboro, who was trailing 2-1 at that juncture. Annabelle Lessard got Woodstock’s first goal just 7:50 into the game. Brattleboro tied the game in the 14th minute on an own goal by a Woodstock defender, but gave the lead right back in the 19th minute when a ball went off a Brattleboro defender into the net.
The Colonels fared a little better on Sept. 11, with a 4-1 road win over Springfield.
• After losing 2-1 in overtime at Twin Valley the previous week, Leland & Gray got revenge on Sept. 8 with a 1-0 win over the Wildcats in Townshend.
The deciding goal came in the 43rd minute, as Skyler Nupp crossed the ball to Ashley Bates, who tapped it in. Rebels goalkeeper Jordan Gouger made eight saves for the shutout victory, while Twin Valley goalkeeper Brianna Rafus had nine saves.
It was the first win of the young season for the Rebels, who lost to Windsor, 4-1, to finish the week with a 1-4 record.
• Bellows Falls is winless so far this season. The Terriuers had two home losses last week to fall to 0-4 — a 6-2 defeat at the hands of Springfield on Sept. 9 and a 6-1 loss to Twin Valley on Sept. 12.
• Bellows Falls opened the season on Sept. 8 with a 6-0 win over Springfield. Leia Robinson and Molly Kelly each scored two goals, and Sophie Hyslop and Abby Cravinho also scored.
On Sept. 10 against Burr & Burton, BF took 13 shots on goal and had another eight attempts go wide in a 0-0 tie. Freshman goalie Brigid Hodsden made four saves to earn the shutout for the hosts.
• Brattleboro is still searching for its first win, as well as its first goal, of the season. They were shut out, 5-0, at Woodstock on Sept. 9, and 3-0 on Sept. 11 against Mt. Anthony to fall to 0-3 on the season.
• Brattleboro won the opening game of the John James Tournament with a 2-0 victory over Arlington. The Eagles had plenty of scoring chances, but could not finish any of them thanks to a strong Colonel defense.
Conversely, the Colonels had few quality shots, but got both of their goals in the second half. In the 54th minute, Jasper Reed drove through the Arlington defense, then dished the ball off to Jack Maple, whose shot caromed off the right post past Arlington goalkeeper Bailey Cross.
Brattleboro’s insurance goal came in the 70th minute, when Galen Von Wodtke scored.
Braxton Lynn and Brian McCarthy split time in goal to earn the shutout, with Lynn stopping two shots in the first half while McCarthy had six in the second half. The Colonels advanced to their first John James championship game since 2012.
Lynn and McCarthy also combined for a shutout on Sept. 8 as the Colonels blanked Springfield, 6-0, in the season opener at Tenney Field. Maple, Tanner Bell, Owen Toleno, and Ryan King were the Colonel scorers. Springfield added two own goals to the final tally.
The win sent Brattleboro to the championship game on Saturday against Mount Anthony. Facing a MAU team that hadn’t won its own tournament since 2006, the Patriots rolled over the Colonels, 6-1. Toleno got Brattleboro’s only goal of the game, set up by Reed. McCarthy made 15 saves for the Colonels as he was peppered with shots by the Patriots.
• Twin Valley beat Fair Haven, 2-0, on Sept. 9 in a game that was cut short by thunderstorms. Referees stopped the contest at halftime, which gave the Wildcats their 37th consecutive victory.
Skyler Boyd and Nick Nilsen did the scoring for the Wildcats, with assists going to James McGovern and Chad Bernard. Kyle Murdock made two saves for the shutout.
Win No. 38 came last Friday as Chad Bernard scored with two minutes left in regulation to give the Wildcats a 1-0 road victory over Leland & Gray.
Baylee Crawford nearly scored the game-winner, but his shot from 16 yards out hit the crossbar and bounced nearly straight down. Bernard gathered up the loose ball and poked it in to keep the Twin Valley win streak going,
Murdock made eight saves to earn the shutout for 4-0 Twin Valley. Leland & Gray’s Nick Morrow stopped a dozen shots.
• Morrow made three saves in goal on Sept. 9 for Leland & Gray in a 3-1 home win over Windsor. Aaron Claussen, Sergei Brower and Jeremy Bovat all scored for the Rebels. The Rebels finished the week at 2-3.
• The Brattleboro cross-country teams each finished third in a Sept. 8 meet at Bellows Falls Union High School.
Jonah Koch led the BUHS boys, finishing third overall in a time of 18 minutes, 11 seconds. Isaac Freitas-Eagan (fifth in 18:28), Josh Meachen (10th in 18:57), Colin Costa-Walsh (19th in 19:45) and Trevor Kipp (28th in 20:54) rounded out Brattleboro’s top five.
Sarah Gallagher (22:48) and Liz Morse (22:52) finished seventh and eighth, respectively, to lead the Colonel girls. Emilia Dick-Fiora (18th in 23:36), Catey Yost (28th in 26:52) and Molly Patenaude (43rd in 28:46) completed the BUHS top five. BF’s Lia Clark placed 12th in 22:55.
The Terrier boys ended up fifth overall. Cody Tallent (6th in 18:33), Nic Potter (20th in 19:54), Jackson Purdy (24th in 20:31), Ian Wallace (33rd in 21:13), Cam Joy (39th in 22:39), Matt Chapin (58th in 24:35) and Ethan Lauricella (69th in 27:39) all competed for the hosts.
Harlem Wizards coming to Bellows Falls
• The Harlem Wizards are coming to Bellows Falls Union High School on Thursday, Sept. 24th at 6:30 p.m. This event, hosted as a fundraiser by the BFUHS Class of 2018, will feature amazing basketball talent combined with comedy. Throughout the game, fans will experience a magical display of tricks, coordinated ball handling, fancy passing, and aerodynamic athleticism combined with high-energy comedy and audience interaction.
Tickets purchased before the event are $12 for adults and $10 for children. Tickets can be purchased at the BFUHS Main Office, TD Bank in Bellows Falls, and Village Square Booksellers. Tickets will also be available on the day of the game at the high school; $14 for adults and $12 children.
Second annual Paint Run benefits BFUHS Class of 2017
• Get blasted with color and have a great time at the second annual Bellows Falls 5K Paint Run, which takes place Saturday, Sept. 26, at 9:30 a.m. The run will begin and end at the Waypoint Center at 17 Depot St.
Same day registration begins at 8 a.m. at the Waypoint Center. Register early and get a free T-shirt. There will also be a mini “fun run” for little ones who would also like to participate. Proceeds benefit the Bellows Falls Union High School Class of 2017.
For more information on the event, find them on Facebook at 2nd Annual BFUHS Paint Run or email email@example.com.
Kurn Hattin children to sing National Anthem at Red Sox game
• A group of lucky students from Kurn Hattin Homes for Children in Westminster, members of the school’s Select Choir, has been invited to sing the Star Spangled Banner at Fenway Park before the start of the Sept. 24 game between the Boston Red Sox and the Tampa Bay Rays.
The school says that the children received the confirmation earlier this month from Red Sox Entertainment Manager Dan Lyons. The invitation came in the midst of an already packed fall performance schedule, but a chance to sing at Fenway was impossible to pass up.
The choir performed at a Portland Pirates hockey game in Maine last year, and the success of the experience prompted Kurn Hattin donor John Zimmerman to approach the Red Sox on behalf of the children. Zimmerman sent an email to Lyons, along with a video of the choir singing.
“A lot of our students are big Sox fans, so I knew they’d be totally thrilled if it ever happened,” said Kurn Hattin Music Director Lisa Bianconi in a news release. “But I thought it was a real long shot. It’s going to be a big day.”
The choir performs at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston the afternoon of the 24th, where they will present a donation of funds collected in memory of the late Tom Fahner.
Fahner was Kurn Hattin’s Academic Director, who died in January and had received treatment at Dana Farber.