High school football under way

RUTLAND The High School football season got under way the last weekend in August. All of Rutland Countys teams were in action, though some fared better than others. Below is a recap for all of their opening games. By the time this edition goes to press most of these teams will have already played their second game. On Saturday night, Aug. 29, the Rutland Raiders overcame a 7-0 defecit to gain a road win at South Burlington over the hometown Rebels 12-7. South Burlington struck first with Evan Cassidy capping off the scoring drive with a one-yard end zone push, giving the Rebels a 7-0 advantage at the break. But they didnt hold that lead for long. In the third quarter Rutland drove down inside South Burlingtons 25-yard line through an aerial attack, and from there running back David Boynton took over. With four consecutive runs, including a 14 yard gain, Boynton rammed it into the end zone cutting the Rebels lead to 7-6. The score remained that way until the fourth quarter. In the fourth quarter with under ten minutes left to play, it looked like the Raiders were about to blow a golden opportunity to claim the lead, but they didnt. After driving the length of the field and getting a first-and-goal from the Rebels ten-yard line Rutland stalled and lost a yard on the next two plays. Suddenly they were looking at a third and goal from the 11. Trevor Olson dropped back to pass and lofted one towards the corner of the end zone that Mark Comstock leapt for and hauled in for the game winning touchdown. South Burlington would get one more solid opportunity when Raider running back Jeff Perry fumbled the ball back to them at the Rutland 34 yard line. But the Raider defense came up big, stopping the Rebels from even gaining a first down. Perry, making up for the fumble, would bat away a pass attempted on fourth down, securing the 12-7 win for the Raiders. In his first varsity start as the Raider quarterback Olson completed of his 14 attempts for 74 yards and the lone touchdown. In a game that was dominated by defense James Bonilla and Connor Beerworth led the way for the Raiders with two sacks each. In addition to his touchdown reception, Comstock also contributed to the defense with an interception. Rutlands cross town rival, Mount Saint Joseph, didnt fare as well in their opener. Essex quarterback Max Librizzi completed 14-of-23 pass attempts for 229 yards to lead his Essex Hornets past the hometown Mounties 24-6. Jon Bizon scored the lone Mounty touchdown. He was also the leading rusher for the 0-1 Mounties, carrying the ball 18 times for 68 yards. MSJ wasnt the only local team to struggle that opening Saturday. In Windsor, Cody TanCreti and James Nolan led a barrage of running backs that ran over the Mill River defense enroute to a 55-0 rout of the visiting Minutemen. TanCreti carried the ball nine times for 93 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Nolan, who also scored twice, carried the ball six times for 81 yards. The game was never in doubt. The Hornets led 29-0 by the end of the first quarter and a commanding 47-0 lead by halftime. Things were a little different in Fairfax, where the defense of the defending Division III State Champion Poultney Blue Devils forced five turnovers as Poultney knocked off BFA-Fairfax 18-6 in their season opener. Two of Poultneys three touchdowns were direct results of the turnovers. The first came on a yard run after the defense recovered a fumble deep in BFA territory. They then scored their touchdown by forcing a fumble on a punt return, picking up the ball and running it into the end zone. Two Rutland County teams opened up on Friday, Aug. 29, but neither one did it successfully. The Fair Haven Slaters traveled to Bennington where they were skunked by the Mount Anthony Patriots 39-0. Mount Anthony racked up over 400 total yards, 357 of which came on a devastating ground attack to dispatch the visiting Slaters. Patriot quarterback Emmanuel Whyte rushed for two touchdowns and threw for two to lead Mount Anthonys attack, as the hometown boys demonstrated why many believe they are the top Division I team in the state. The same night in Middlebury running back Sean Harrison ran for three touchdowns to lead his Tigers past the visiting Otter Valley Otters 26-10. Harrison carried the ball 16 times for 118 yards. Middlebury quarterback Dane Liljestrand contributed to the scoring with a two yard run late in the game. Otter Valleys sophomore quarterback Zak Williams completed 24 of his 40 pass attempts for 196 yards. The 0-1 Otters also got a 31-yard field goal from their place kicker Pierce Thurston.

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