On a night when Colchester quarterback Bobby Brigante threw for two touchdowns and rushed for a third, it was the defensive play he made that put the game away for the Lakers as they defeated host Burlington 28-15 under the lights at Buck Hard Field for Friday night high school football.
With a little over six minutes remaining in the game and Burlington (1-2) driving downfield to narrow a 13-point gap, Brigante intercepted an Adam Poquette pass on the goal line. The defensive play took the wind out of the Seahorses’ sails and helped Colchester close out the tight game.
“He’s outstanding. This is every day, he’s unbelievable,” Colchester head coach Tom Perry said. “He is just such a hardcore competitor, you are not going to beat him easily. He’s a great leader for us.”
With the Lakers trailing 15-14 at the start of the fourth quarter, Brigante led the Lakers to two fourth-quarter touchdowns and a 28-15 lead they would not relinquish.
“I would like to see us play a little more physical in the first half, a little harder,” Perry said. “But I feel good about it. We had the chance to survive and beat a good football team.”
The first score came 43 second after the start of the quarter, when Brigante punched it in the end zone on a 2 yard run to grab a 21-15 lead for Colchester (2-1).
“It was the difference of them making a big play and us not,” Burlington head coach Brennan Carney said. “It’s nothing against our effort, our execution, they made a bigger play at a better time.”
On the next offensive possession, the Lakers used a strong running game to push down the field, getting strong runs from Brigante and David Lacroix to push into Burlington territory. Once there, the senior quarterback hit Lacroix with a 39-yard pass that put the Lakers on the 5-yard line. On second-and-goal, Brigante found Shaun Keogh for the touchdown pass and the 28-15 lead.
“The wide receivers were running great routes. They were open throughout the game,” Brigante said.
The night did not belong just to Brigante, as Burlington quarterback Poquette threw for 252 yards and two touchdowns of his own.
“Burlington did everything we were afraid they were going to do,” Perry said. “Luckily, we were able to get out of it.”
It was Poquette who forced the Colchester fourth-quarter heroics, after he led the Seahorses on a drive at the end of the third quarter.
Poquette hit Hunter Knight with a 32-yard pass, then completed three consecutive passes to drive his team to the Lakers’ 27-yard line. Poquette found Knight again, this time for a 27-yard touchdown pass. Poquette hit Josh Hale on the two-point conversion that gave the Seahorses a brief 15-14 lead.
“There were a lot of positives in this game,” Carney said. “We didn’t quit, the kids finished and they understood what it takes to win a football game, we just didn’t do it today. They outplayed us in certain facets of the game.”
Poquette drove his team down the field twice in the fourth quarter, but both possessions ended on interceptions on the goal line, as Burlington could not find the big play to close the gap on Colchester.
“The end of the game is the end of the game, those are forced plays, we expect those kind of plays,” Carney said. “Early in the game we’ve got to make more plays and that is where we need to execute.”
Brigante’s night started off well, as he led Colchester down the field for a touchdown on the first possession for the Lakers. Colchester chipped away with small yardage runs before Dylan Meekins broke out for a 42-yard run that set up first and goal. David Lacroix then punched it into the end zone for 3 yards out to give the Lakers a 6-0 lead.
“The holes were huge; our lineman did a great job,” Brigante said. “We’ve been playing together for years and we have the team chemistry down.”
Burlington answered before the end of the first quarter, with Poquette hitting Knight with a 91-yard touchdown pass. Poquette hit Knight in stride at the 50-yard line and the wide receiver ran untouched into the end zone. A converted extra point gave the Seahorses the 7-6 lead.
Colchester responded early in the second quarter, with Brigante hitting Anthony Scorsome with a 29-yard touchdown pass that gave the Lakers a 14-7 lead.
Poquette threw for a game-high 252 yard and two touchdowns, but was intercepted three times. Brigante finished the game with 93 yards passing, 33 yards rushing and three touchdowns. Lacroix had 96 rushing yards, 58 yards in the air and a rushing TD.