Bellows Falls offense, Milton penalties knock out Yellowjackets

Milton’s Jonah Blatt (9) picks up three yards on a second-quarter carry for the Yellowjackets during Saturday’s Division II semifinal in Bellows Falls. (Photo by Doug MacPhee)

Milton did not get a friendly greeting in only its second visit to Bellows Falls. The Bellows Falls Terriers scored two first half touchdowns en route to a 35-0 win in a Division II semifinal Saturday.

Bellows Falls won the toss and deferred to the second half. Milton started at the 28 and crossed midfield but turned the ball over on downs on a fourth-and-six at the 49. It took the Terriers only 1:56 to score when Carson Fullam swept to the left for a 32-yard touchdown run and with a 2-point conversion pass from Zack Rawling to David Dunbar took a 8-0 lead.

Milton started its second series at its 21 and gained only four yards before punting. The Terriers moved all the way down to the Yellowjackets’ 9, coming up short on a fourth-and-four. Milton was unable to move the ball, and after a short punt and a late-hit penalty, turned the ball over to the Terriers at its own 32. It took the Terriers just four plays to score, on a 1-yard keeper by Ethan Illingworth. The 2-point conversion failed, but with 11:16 left in the second quarter, Bellows Falls led 14-0.

Milton’s best opportunity to score in the first half came with more than eight minutes left after a poor punt gave it the ball at the Terrier 35. But the Yellowjackets turned the ball over on downs after four plays, including a false start penalty at the 26-yard line. Neither team could move the ball out of its own territory for the remainder of the second quarter.

The second half began with a Milton onside kick that only went nine yards, giving the ball to the Terriers at the 49-yard line. The Terriers took advantage of the short field, and in just four plays — on a third and five — Illingworth completed a pass to Fullam, who ran into the end zone. A conversion pass from Rawling to Michael LaBeau extended the lead to 22-0 with 10 minutes left in the third quarter.

It did not get any better for the Yellowjackets, who went three and out. A high snap eluded the punter, turning the ball over to the Terriers at the 12-yard line. It took the Terriers only two plays for Rawling to score, and the extra point kick by Brendan Kelly extended their lead to a commanding 29-0 with 7:57 left in the third.

A 15-yard personal foul penalty by Milton on the touchdown allowed Bellows Falls to kick to the 1-yard line, where junior Chis McClellan ran it back 47 yards — the longest gain of the day for the Yellowjackets. Milton moved the ball down to the 2-yard line, but a first-and-goal pass was intercepted in the end zone by Tyler Holmes. The Terriers moved 80 yards on eight plays, aided by two more personal fouls, scoring the final touchdown with under a minute left in the third quarter on a 2-yard run by Ed Rodriquez, making it 35-0.

With running time for the fourth period, Milton moved to the Terrier 25 when a fumble was recovered by Bellows Falls, which ran out the final six minutes for the victory.

The Terriers had more than 350 yards from scrimmage, with 10 players totaling 256 yards running and 107 yards passing. Sophomore Fullam, who scored twice, ran for 55 yards on nine carriers plus two receptions for 44 yards.  Senior Rawling had 15 carriers for 96 yards. Senior fullback Rodriquez carried eight times up the middle for 45 yards. The Terriers’ sophomore quarterback, Illingworth, was 5-for-8 passing for 101 yards and a touchdown, plus 5 yards and a touchdown on two carries.

The Yellowjackets had 120 yards on the ground from scrimmage plus 22 yards passing. Senior Jonah Blatt ran seven times for 35 yards before he was injured in the third quarter. His replacement, freshman Bradley Bombard, picked up 47 yards on 14 carries, and senior Geoff Gadbois had 13 carriers for 30 yards. Sophomore quarterback Cole Reilly completed one of two passes for 22 yards.

Both coaches were upset by the conduct of several players. Milton was hurt by seven penalties totaling 95 yards, including five personal-foul calls and a player ejection. Coach Chris Hughes was apologetic for the conduct of two of his younger players, and wanted to assure Bellows Falls fans that was not Milton football. He felt his team’s effort was fine, but its execution was not.

Hughes complimented the play of Terrier linemen on offense and defense and thought that was the difference in the game.

He was pleased that his young team made the playoffs and said that with maturity, players could look forward to a successful 2013 season.

Bellows Falls coach Robert Lockerby also complemented his veteran line play. He felt that his young quarterback Illingworth, running backs Fullam and Rodriquez, and the defensive play of junior Tyler Holmes were outstanding.

Bellows Falls improved to 9-1 and will seek its 10th state championship in 14 appearances when it faces undefeated Rice in the Division II state championship game Saturday morning at 11 at So. Burlington High School.

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