WESTMINSTER >> If you had to rate Jahyde Bullard's performance on Friday night at Hadley Field, you'd probably choose the number that's on the front and back of his jersey.
It was a perfect 10.
The junior carried the ball 24 times for 190 yards and a touchdown to power the No. 2 Bellows Falls varsity football team to a 34-21 victory over No. 3 Burlington in a Division 2 semifinal.
"Jahyde was a workhorse," said Bellows Falls coach Bob Lockerby after the thriller.
Bullard, who is a tailback and linebacker for the Terriers, also returned an interception for a touchdown. Defensive lineman DJ Snide scooped up an errant snap by the Burlington center and ran the ball to paydirt for BF's other defensive score.
Aside from those two plays, the offenses did as they pleased in the opening half. Burlington quarterback Pete Labracio operated out of the shotgun and completed passes all over the field while Lockerby's lads chewed up clock by pounding the ball between the tackles.
When the hosts took a 27-21 lead to the break, it seemed like whichever team had the ball last would probably win. However, the defenses would rule the rest of the way — aside from a one-yard TD run by BF quarterback Zac Streeter and a Chris Doucet PAT with 1.6 seconds left in the game.
Streeter and Bullard each had a one-yard TD run, there were the defensive scores by Bullard and Snide, and Doucet drilled three extra points as the Purple Gang built a 27-21 lead in the opening half.
Burlington, which fell behind 14-0, got an 18-yard scoring strike from Labracio to Josh Hale and then a dive to the house from Kevin Garrison to get within one point. Labracio later connected with Zach Mazuzan on a 14-yard TD pass just before the intermission.
Burlington's best chance to take the lead in the second half came when Hale intercepted a pass and returned it to the BF 17. But on 2nd-and-5, Garrison coughed it up and Snide pounced on the loose ball.
The run defense for the Purple Gang was solid. Linebackers Jacob Lober and Bullard filled holes and made vicious hits all night, Liam Hackett had a tackle for loss, Shane Clark pitched in with a sack, Snide applied plenty of QB pressure, and defensive back Nathan Fairbrother had a crucial pass breakup on a fourth down play.
Labracio was 17-of-38 passing for 220 yards, with two touchdowns and one pick. Hale finished with six catches for 95 yards.
The 9-1 Terriers will face top-seeded Burr and Burton in Saturday's state final in Rutland at 11 a,m. That game will be followed by the Division 3 title tilt (Otter Valley vs. U-32) at 2 p,m. and the Division 1 finale (Rutland vs. Middlebury) at 5 p.m.