BRATTLEBORO -- Nolan Viens earned silver in the 2011 Vermont State wrestling meet, but he had no intention of finishing second on Friday night.
The outside linebacker was in on several first-half takedowns and helped the Hartford football team body slam Brattleboro, 45-7.
The undefeated Hurricanes reached the house on their first five series to take a 34-0 lead to the break. Quarterback Greg Shinn fired three touchdown passes and also had a rushing TD, while tailback Josh Claflin added a 10-yard run to paydirt. And Dylan Rice was 4-for-5 on extra point tries.
Behind the offensive line of Mike Dulac, Chris Koloski, Kevin Ladka, Josh Avery and Willy Todt, the Hurricanes racked up 350 yards of offense over the first 24 minutes. Claflin carried the ball 10 times for 123 yards in that time, including video game like runs of 24, 27 and 40 yards.
The Colonels defended the run just fine in the early going, but Shinn and receiver Kyle Ruffing would connect for TD strikes of 23 and 44 yards on a 4th-and-8 and then a 3rd-and-9. Hartford’s junior signal caller would eventually lead tight end Nolan Frechette down the middle of the end zone for a 31-yard score.
Claflin added a 10-yard scamper to paydirt and Shinn scored from 21 yards out before the Hurricanes took their 34-0 lead to the intermission.
Viens tackled Elliot Gragen for no gain on a 4th-and-1 play and Jonathan Carlson later sacked quarterback Tyler
The Colonels did put together a 39-yard drive in the opening quarter, following a nice kickoff return from burner Noah Simeon. But Claflin would recover a fumble at his own 11 to ruin it.
Viens seemed to be in on every Brattleboro running play, holding them to short gains or no gains. And the visitors also got sacks from Dulac and Carlson.
The Colonels held Hartford to just a 17-yard field goal by Rice in the third, while Higley had his best quarter of the game. He went 6-of-11 for 80 yards, including a 46-yard bomb to Simeon that set up Brattleboro’s only score. Gragen would walk in from one yard out as the fourth quarter began and he also drilled the PAT.
But the visitors answered immediately, as Taylor Potter took the ensuing kickoff 75 yards for a quick six. A two-point conversion run by Tyler Diaz made it 45-7.
And then the new running clock rule, which comes into play whenever a team’s ahead by 35 points or more, made the remainder of the game fly by.
Linebacker Kyle Shippee was a playmaker defensively for the hosts, and Phil Perkins paced the special teams with a fine punt in the second quarter that pinned Hartford at its own 5. Higley went 13-of-24 overall for 157 yards, while Gragen converted on a third-down screen pass and also ran over a defender to excite the home crowd.
Shinn completed five of six passes for 98 yards and three scores, to go along with his rushing touchdown. Claflin and fullback Joe Wood combined for 193 yards on the ground.
In other Division 1 and Division 2 contests on Friday night: BFA-St. Albans clocked Colchester 41-21, Rutland edged Middlebury 15-13, South Burlington blitzed Burlington 35-0, Mount Mansfield surprised Essex 26-21, MAU took care of Spaulding 26-20, Rice rolled past North Country 51-0, Milton outscored Otter Valley 38-20 and Lyndon pounded U-32 53-16.
Brattleboro (0-4) will host St. Johnsbury on Friday at 7.
Shane Covey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 802-254-2311, ext. 163.