BRATTLEBORO -- The chant of "M-A-U, M-A-U" by the visiting players could be heard throughout the fourth quarter of Friday’s varsity football game on Natowich Field.
But a sack by Brattleboro’s Ian Cebek would silence it.
After the defensive lineman wrestled quarterback Damon Young to the ground near midfield, the last 10 seconds ticked away and the Colonels began celebrating a 7-6 victory over the rival Patriots.
"We were due for a win," said BUHS coach John Callahan, whose team captured the Elwell Trophy for the third straight year. "The kids played very hard. It’s great to win these kinds of games, especially for the rivalry."
The Brattleboro defense, which allowed just 162 total yards from scrimmage and forced four turnovers, was hoping to make one more stop in the fourth quarter.
Trailing 7-6, Mount Anthony started from its own 22 with 8:31 remaining. The 15-play, 57-yard drive included three fourth-down attempts. On 4th-and-1 from their own 32, Jacob Normyle moved the chains with a four-yard carry and Tyler Mattison later picked up nine yards on a fake punt during a 4th-and-5 situation. But on 4th-and-8, at the Brattleboro 21, Young’s swing pass to Pat Powers went for no gain and the hosts got the ball back on downs.
The Colonels tried to run out the last 1:07, but their running game was shut down and so the Patriots would get it back at their own 49 with 45 seconds left. And that chant of "M-A-U, M-A-U" started up again.
But Young’s nine-yard pass to Griffin Mattison chewed up 30 seconds and then Cebek would sack the quarterback on the next play to end it.
Adam McPhail ran the ball 15 times for 76 yards to lead the Brattleboro offense. Aside from Cebek’s huge sack, the BUHS defensive highlights were an interception by Michael Rooney and a tackle for no gain by the 345-pound Cheickna Doucoure, who slammed down Powers early in the fourth quarter.
"We didn’t always take advantage of the turnovers," said Callahan. Senior linebacker Kyle Shippee, who blocked a punt, also broke up a pass and recovered a fumble on the night.
It was MAU that took a 6-0 lead with 2:15 to play in the first quarter. Starting from midfield, the Patriots pounded it 11 times and scored on an eight-yard sweep by Tyler Mattison. Noah Williams would then miss the extra point -- a kick that would prove costly.
The Patriots would turn it over for the first time late in the first quarter, with a fumble giving Brattleboro the ball at the MAU 16. McPhail ran for two yards, Kyle Patno threw incomplete, and then Kassidi Ramirez sprinted 14 yards to paydirt to tie the score. Ryan Fontaine’s PAT gave the purple and white the lead with 11:48 remaining in the first half.
MAU threatened late in the third quarter, as the visitors moved the chains twice to get to the Brattleboro 25. But defensive captain Colby McGinn then told his teammates, "we gotta’ bring it," and they did. On the very next play, the Colonels forced a fumble and recovered.
The Patriots would put the pressure on once more -- the 15-play drive in the fourth quarter -- but failed to score against a defense that had also yielded just a touchdown to Burlington and Rutland.
MAU dropped to 0-8. The 2-6 Colonels earned one more game with the victory.
Note: On Senior Night, Brattleboro 12th graders Kyle Shippee, Max Bostwick, Michael Rooney, Kyle Patno, Gene Buckley, Adam McPhail, Jake Gaboriault, Daniel Revis, Chris McAuliffe, Ryan McAuliffe, Drew Wood, Zach Bokum, Mark Dixon, Matt Forrett, Ryan Duford and Kevin Tao were all honored.
Shane Covey can be reached at email@example.com or by calling 802-254-2311, ext. 163.