BBA, Bellows Falls set for D-II dogfight

BBA, Bellows Falls set for D-II dogfight


BBA, Bellows Falls set for D-II dogfight


Burr and Burton quarterback Griff Stalcup rolls out of the pocket during a Week 3 football game against Milton.

Burr and Burton quarterback Griff Stalcup rolls out of the pocket during a Week 3 football game against Milton.

Burr and Burton Academy’s prize for a semifinal victory is another hard-hitting team eager to throw a wrench in the Bulldogs’ high-octane offense.

The reward for Bellows Falls’ win a week ago? Another spread offense to chase across the gridiron.

Two polar football philosophies and only one trophy to hand out. The only mystery left is the outcome.

“I think they’re going to do what they do and we’re going to do what we do. I don’t think there’s going to be a lot of changes,” said Bellows Falls coach Bob Lockerby. “We want to run the ball, he wants to throw the ball.”

Such is the either-or scenario on tap for the Division II football state final, with top-seeded BBA squaring off against the No. 2 Terriers at 11 a.m. on Saturday at Rutland High School, the first act of the day’s championship tripleheader.

Burr and Burton (10-0) is gunning for its first football crown while Bellows Falls (9-1) has a shot at its 11th.

“It’s going to be big boy football and we’ve got to line up against them,” BBA coach Jason Thomas said.

“Honestly, every game I’ve had against Bellows Falls — and we’ve had a few of them — have been exciting, down to the wire,” Thomas said. “I’ve got a lot of respect for coach Lockerby and his program. They’re tough kids, they play sound football. They’re fun to play, you know you’re going to get a game.”

And it will be the teams’ second meeting in a month. The Bulldogs claimed the first 19-14 on Oct. 17, with Bellows Falls holding them to a season-low output.

“Last time we played them we had nine possessions and we usually get 12 or 13 a game,” Thomas said.

“The smartest thing to do is keep the ball out of our hands,” Thomas said. “Our defense has been great all year getting the ball back and we’re hoping they play one hell of a game on Saturday.”

The Terriers’ ball-control offense, influential in that showdown with its ability to crunch the clock and the margin for error, should be central once more against BBA’s prolific, up-tempo attack (48.6 ppg) and dual-threat quarterback Griff Stalcup

A junior in his third year at the controls for the Bulldogs, Stalcup is having a career year, throwing for 2,343 yards with 34 touchdowns against just seven interceptions while running for a team-high 429 yards and 11 scores.

Bellows Falls fullback Jacob Lober, center, runs for a touchdown against Burlington earlier this season.

Bellows Falls fullback Jacob Lober, center, runs for a touchdown against Burlington earlier this season.

In BBA’s 54-14 semifinal rout of Milton, Stalcup went 20-of-32 in the air for 370 yards and four TDs, and darted for two more scores among his seven carries. He hooked up with wide receiver Carter Vickers seven times for 180 yards and three touchdowns.

“You’re not going to keep Burr and Burton from completing passes. They’re going to get their yards and they’re going to get their points,” Lockerby said.

Bellows Falls advanced via a 34-21 win over Burlington last week. Between the Terriers’ prior meeting with BBA, the regular season finale against Fair Haven and the semifinals, they’ve logged plenty of time defending a spread offense.

“It’s tough with the spread teams because they want to score quick. We want to be more methodical and drive the ball up the field,” Lockerby said. “It’s a different type of game altogether.”

Tailback Jahyde Bullard spearheaded the Terriers’ playoff triumph with 24 carries for 190 yards and a score. The junior has racked up team-highs of 1,094 yards and 15 touchdowns on 144 carries this year.

“The Bullard kid, he can go inside or outside on you,” Thomas said. “He can press the edge or he can cut it up and he’s not much fun to tackle.”

But Bullard is far from the only option out of the backfield. Bruising fullback Jake Lober (seven TDs) has more than 500 yards, quarterback Zack Streeter (seven TDs) has 450 yards on the ground and Chris McKeen has more than 400 yards of offense to go along with 10 touchdowns.

“They pose a lot of problems in the running game, it’s not just iso-right, iso-left,” Thomas said.

If the BBA defense can limit Bellows Falls to short drives and get its own offense back on the field, the Bulldogs could tilt the contest in their favor like the first meeting. Even though it took four drives for Burr and Burton to get on the board, it took the Terriers nine possessions to do so, by which point BBA owned a 12-0 lead.

“We weren’t happy about how we moved the ball offensively and that’s what we’re focusing on,” Lockerby said. “We felt like we should’ve done a better job moving the chains.”

“The great part about our kids is they’re resilient and they welcome the challenge. They’re looking forward to it.”

Contact Austin Danforth at 651-4851 or Follow him on Twitter at

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