By ANTHONY LABOR JR. – MESSENGER SPORTS
St. Albans—With both teams coming into Friday night’s game with a 1-0 record, BFA-St. Albans and Colchester was set up to be a solid ground-and-pound type of game.
Mistakes turned out to be the difference with Colchester capitalizing on a number of BFA turnovers and miscues, as the Lakers came away with the 21-7 victory.
“I thought we were better tonight than we were last week against Mt. Mansfield,” said BFA coach Geoff Murray. “We had our chances out there tonight and traded mistakes with Colchester in the first half, but we just didn’t win the turnover battle. If we are going to win these close games, we can’t make those mistakes.”
The BFA defense did all it could all night to keep Colchester off the board. The Bobwhites only allowed the Lakers to get 155 yards rushing throughout the entire game with 58 of those yards coming on an Alex Rublee touchdown in the fourth quarter to make it 21-7.
“Our defense played well all night once we got adjusted to some formational things they were doing,” said Murray. “I thought our tackling was good for the most part, but just missed a couple of tackles looking for a turnover and they got that long touchdown. I thought our defense did enough to allow us to win the game. Our offense needs to finish.”
Colchester’s defensive line was solid all game long as well, forcing the Bobwhites into a lot of the miscues that swung the momentum over in the Lakers’ favor.
The Lakers forced BFA players to fumble the ball six times and recovered two of them with Russell Chase causing a lot of the havoc.
The biggest play came in the third quarter when a bad BFA pitch attempt was rolling on the ground and ended up in the endzone, which was recovered by Max Grenier to give the Lakers a 14-7 lead.
“BFA is a tough, hard-hitting team, so we just told our guys that they were going to get their yards, make them make plays and the more plays they were going to have to make, the more opportunity for mistakes,” said Colchester coach Tom Perry. “Mistakes are what won this game. I know we don’t score three times if BFA doesn’t make those mistakes.”
BFA moved the ball well on its first drive starting out on its own 38-yard-line and driving all the way down inside Colchester’s 10. The drive stalled from there, as the front line for Colchester stood tall and didn’t let the Bobwhites score.
Colchester (2-0) had a similar first drive after starting deep in its own territory and driving down to midfield where the drive ended.
After the Bobwhites’ next drive didn’t go anywhere, they punted from their own 23, but a low snap allowed the Lakers to get in the backfield and block the punt. Alex Rublee (10 rushes, 60 yards, 2 TD) took the first play from scrimmage in from 8 yards out to put Colchester up 7-0.
After the Bobwhites punted on their next possession, the defense forced a three-and-out forcing Colchester to punt. BFA got into the backfield and blocked a punt of their own, their second blocked punt in as many weeks.
The Bobwhites took the next drive 17 yards capped by a 2-yard touchdown run by Owen Bonnette to tie the game 7-7 at half.
“I thought we did a good job in the first half moving the ball,” said Murray. “Colchester has a very solid defensive line, so our success was running outside today, which I thought we did pretty well in the first half, we just couldn’t finish.”
Both teams fumbled on their first drives of the second half with BFA’s fumble being the most costly, as it led to the defensive touchdown by Colchester to make it 14-7.
After the Bobwhites’ next drive stalled again deep in Lakers’ territory, Rublee gave his team some insurance on a third-and-6 when he broke free from a couple of tackles for a 58-yard touchdown to make it 21-7.
“Rublee is a really good athlete and he recovers very well as a sophomore when things don’t go our way,” said Perry. “He is very athletic and we saw that out there on the third touchdown getting out of trouble and taking it in for the long score.”
The Bobwhites dropped to 1-1 on the season and will travel to Essex on Friday for their next game. Essex will be a different challenge than what the Bobwhites faced against Colchester.
“Essex is a senior-heavy athletic team with a lot of speed, so it’s definitely going to be a different look next week,” said Murray. “Tonight was an old school, grind it out game, but next week there will be more speed to the outside. I think if we continue to improve over the next week like we did coming into tonight’s game, we will be in good shape.”
Photos By: Adam Laroche