BRATTLEBORO >> During the majority of Friday night's varsity football game at Natowich Field, Rich Alercio was complaining to the refs — about the clock running when it shouldn't have been, flags being thrown for no reason, his opponents being able to call a timeout after breaking the huddle...etc.
In fact, the only times that Saint Johnsbury's head coach seemed happy were when he took quick glances up at the scoreboard.
The Hilltoppers never trailed, taking advantage of poor tackling and nine penalties for 50 yards, during their 28-12 victory over host Brattleboro.
"We had plenty of chances," said BUHS coach Chad Pacheco. "We shot ourselves in the foot all night long."
The Colonels only ran five plays in the first quarter. The visitors, meanwhile, marched 80 yards and then 59 yards on their first two series.
A two-yard run to paydirt by Ethan Roberts, a three-yard TD sneak from quarterback Collin Urie, and a 21-yard scoring strike from Urie to Brodie Talbot gave the visitors a 22-0 lead with 7:32 left in the third quarter.
The Colonels would battle back with a pair of touchdowns by Cheick Diakite — on runs of one and 26 yards — to get within 22-12 with 7:30 remaining. The offensive line of Kyle Banford, Conor Hiner, Jordan Wright, Korie Cliche and the 315-pound Manny "the Mansion" Vargas blew open several holes during the rally.
The first scoring drive covered 66 yards, including an eight-yard pass from signal-caller Tony Martinez to tight end Will LaPorte and an 11-yard gallop by Diakite. Martinez sparked the next trip to paydirt, starting the series with a six-yard keeper and then a five-yard completion to tailback Jack Gagnon.
"Here we go Colonels, here we go!" chanted members of the BUHS band from the bleachers.
But Urie would break tackles and score from 10 yards out, completing a 60-yard possession, to silence the crowd with 4:52 to go and make the final score 28-12.
"We hoped to be more physical and finish tackles," noted coach Pacheco. "We don't have that leader on defense right now. We don't have that linebacker or safety to lead us, and we need that."
An interception by Gagnon, a fourth-down tackle by Conor Hiner, and pressure from Jordan Wright on a third-down pass were the best defensive plays for the Colonels.
Urie was 10-of-18 through the air for 134 yards and also ran the ball 22 times for 168 more as the Hilltoppers improved to 2-0. Diakite carried the ball 18 times for 113 yards to lead the Brattleboro offense, while Martinez completed 4 out of 10 passes for 21 yards and ran it 14 times for 40 yards.
"I thought that our offense played well. We just need to get back to the basics. As you can see, once we get Diakite rolling, he gets rolling."
Brattleboro (0-2) will play at Middlebury on Friday night at 7.