BRATTLEBORO -- One week after they each gave up more than 25 points, the Rutland and Brattleboro varsity football teams may have been expecting a shootout on Friday night.
It never happened.
Andrew Cassarino’s 19-yard touchdown reception early in the second quarter was the lone score as the visiting Raiders spoiled Homecoming Day with a 7-0 victory over the Colonels.
"We just needed one big play on offense," said first-year BUHS coach John Callahan.
The best the hosts got were runs of 11 and 13 yards by Adam McPhail, and an 11-yard carry from Michael Rooney.
However, an 18-play drive in the second half that went as far as the Rutland 24 had the band and home crowd into it, and seemingly had the opposing coaching staff confused.
Prior to each play, the defensive coordinator could be heard yelling out "watch the dive" or "watch the counter" or "watch the keeper" or "watch the pass," or more often than not a combination of them.
With Callahan’s triple option now in a rhythm, Rooney moved the chains four times during the series -- on a pair of eight-yard passes from Kyle Patno and also on a couple of nifty runs. Patno later used his legs to convert on a 4th-and-one play, but the Colonels would turn it over on downs after consecutive sacks by Charles Whittemore and Skyler Amerio respectively.
The Raiders would then take all but 1:15 off the clock, by handing the ball to Wyatt Socinski and Caleb White and letting them hit holes created by linemen Adam Gecha, Robert Bergen, Evan O’Rourke, Joshua White and Amerio.
When the purple and white finally got the ball back, at their own 15, Andrew Kenosh intercepted a wobbler from Patno to end it.
"In a couple of situations, movement penalties really hurt us," noted Callahan. "I thought we gave a great effort. And I felt like we improved, especially on special teams."
The Colonels got a 30-yard kick return from Kassidi Ramirez early in the second quarter. And with punter Kevin Tao kicking from deep in the end zone, gunner Kyle Shippee tackled the returner as soon as he caught the ball at the 35.
That’s where the lone scoring drive would begin. After three consecutive runs, Rutland quarterback Nick Boles connected with Andrew Cassarino on a slant pattern, and the senior receiver broke a tackle before taking it to the house. Kenosh added the extra point to put the Raiders ahead, 7-0.
The hosts struggled on offense throughout the first half. They moved the chains just twice -- once on a Rutland penalty and another time on a McPhail run. Tao punted four times, and another series ended with a pick by Jordan Godfrey.
Momentum may have shifted midway through the third quarter. Colby McGinn and Shippee each made a tackle for loss as the BUHS band began chanting, "Colonels!" And after the Rutland punt, the hosts marched 52 yards on 18 plays before turning it over on downs.
The Raiders improved to 3-3 overall. The 1-5 Colonels will play at Colchester on Friday at 7 p.m.
Alex Rosewarne, Tao, Shippee and McGinn all had a tackle for loss, while Shippee and McGinn also put heat on Boles throughout. Defensive back Tyler McKenney contributed by breaking up a TD pass.
"I thought our defense did a great job," stated Callahan. "We knew they ran a few different offensive formations, and that’s what they did. We were well prepared."
McPhail had 13 carries for 58 yards to lead the Brattleboro offense. Rooney finished with 42 total yards, including 26 on the ground and two catches for 16 more.
Socinski had 26 touches for 128 rushing yards to lead the winners. Boles was 4-of-10 passing for 45 yards and a score.
Shane Covey can be reached at email@example.com or by calling 802-254-2311, ext. 163.