It took a half Friday night, said Champlain Valley football coach Jim Provost, for his Redhawks to get acquainted under game conditions.
Once they did, they turned Colchester’s field into their own little playground, opening the Vermont high school football season with a 35-9 victory over the Lakers.
For two quarters, neither team displayed much offensive prowess, leading to a 7-7 standoff.
Once the third period began, a Redhawks’ no-huddle offense geared to exploit the talents of senior back Steele DuBrul ripped off touchdowns on its first three possessions.
“We were really shaking off the rust a little bit,” said DuBrul of the first half. “We really came out with a good game plan second half. We changed the personnel around a little bit where we thought it would be the best and it turned out pretty well.
“I did all right. Our offensive line is awesome,” said DuBrul, who had touchdown runs of 15 yards in the second quarter and 52 and 31 yards in the third quarter in addition to throwing a 68-yard scoring pass to Lucas Aube. “The first game, we did great. 35 points? I’ll take that.”
“I think the first half we were just getting to know each other. I don’t mean Colchester; I mean us,” Provost said. “Our starting Bennett (Cazayoux) was out. We brought up a couple of kids from JVs and we were trying to find the right combination.
“That coupled with a couple of adjustments we made at halftime, … the second half is I think the team we’re capable of being,” Provost said. “In the second half, our offensive line just haven’t play together a lot and you could see them kind of gain confidence as the game went on.”
Turnovers were costly for Colchester. Lost fumbles set up CVU’s first and third touchdowns and three more fumbles plus an interception kept the Lakers from generating offensive consistency.
“We’re young and our inexperience caught up a little bit,” Colchester coach Tom Perry said. “They made a couple of adjustments that are things we talked about over and over again in practice.
“Mistakes killed us the whole game. I thought we could have had a couple more scores in the first half if we don’t fumble the football,” Perry said. “We pushed them around pretty good in the first half and they came out and did that to us in the second half.”
After the scoreless first period, DuBrul put CVU in front with Max Whitcomb making the first of his five straight extra point kicks. Colchester responded two minutes later as Jared Antoniak broke off a 45-yard scoring dash.
The Redhawks received the second-half kickoff and DuBrul’s 52-yarder quickly established a tone that never changed. CVU built its lead to 35-7, Lucian Bedard accounting for the final TD from 5 yards out. A high snap on a CVU punt attempt gave Colchester a safety and the game’s final points.