SOUTH BURLINGTON – From bad snaps and lost fumbles to miscommunication and untimely penalties, South Burlington continued to give Champlain Valley promising field position.
And the Redhawks made sure to pounce.
CVU converted a pair of third-quarter turnovers into touchdowns — without South Burlington gaining back offensive possession — and the Redhawks pulled away for a 40-14 victory in Division I high school football action Friday night.
A week after its own mistakes partly led to a defeat at Rutland, the Redhawks, in a triple-option offense, churned out 344 yards on the ground behind a bevy of running backs to snatch their first win in coach Mike Williams’ era.
“We are just happy to capitalize on their errors. Last week, we did the same thing to ourselves,” Williams said. “I’m really happy with the kids, I think they finally understand what we are trying to do … it’s been a transition.”
Rich Lowrey totaled a team-best 124 yards on 24 carries, while Braven Bose (13 carries for 113 yards, two TDs) and Jacob Griggs (48 yards, two total TDs) supplied additional backfield support for balanced CVU.
“We really came together as a team after that loss and it was a hard-fought win,” Lowrey said. “We cut our teeth in losing to Rutland and it’s a really great bounce-back game — can’t wait for next week.”
Down 20-6 at halftime, the Rebels (0-2) put together an early second-half drive that went deep into Redhawks territory. But after Rick Gouveia’s leaping, 29-yard reception for a big first down at the CVU 17, the Rebels coughed up a hook-and-ladder attempt in the flat. CVU gobbled up the fumbled exchange.
On the ensuing drive, CVU went 11 plays for the touchdown, quarterback Andrew Bortnick opting to keep for himself, tucking the ball and scampering from 8 yards out on fourth down.
South Burlington then fumbled the kickoff return, and CVU covered the 27-yard scoring drive in seven plays, Tanner Smith bouncing outside from 8 yards out.
The TDs ballooned CVU’s 20-6 lead to 33-6 with 1:40 left in the third quarter.
“I don’t think we could have played worse,” South Burlington coach Joe McDonald said. “That was not a very good showing by our guys — I’m not very happy.”
The Rebels struck first, Colby Barrett hauling in a Thomas Demag third-down pass and taking it 45 yards for a first-quarter score.
But South Burlington also had sideline miscommunication on a punt later in the quarter — which turned into a failed fake attempt — and gave the Redhawks the ball near midfield. Bose capped a five-play drive with a 7-yard TD run, erasing an early deficit and giving CVU a 7-6 lead with 3:16 left in the first quarter.
“We are young. It’s a challenge and we have a lot of work to do,” McDonald said. “We have glimpses and I’m optimistic, I always am.”
Griggs scored his touchdowns in the second quarter — taking in a 7-yard pass on a Bortnick rollout and then rushing from 1 yard out, the latter with 25 seconds remaining in the half.
“After last season, we had a down year and everybody wants to go out there and prove ourselves that we are really a force to be reckoned with in the league,” Lowrey said. “But honestly, we have to keep working at it.”
Nick Liscinsky caught a short TD from Demag for South Burlington’s final points. Bose completed the scoring for the evening on a 7-yard sweep midway through the fourth quarter.