Patriots roll past Otter Valley on Homecoming

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BENNINGTON — The Mount Anthony football team bounced back in a big way on Friday night, routing Otter Valley 40-7 at Spinelli Field on Homecoming.

MAU quarterback Will Fischer ran for more than 150 yards and two touchdowns and also caught one from freshman backup quarterback Caleb Hay with 7:16 left in the fourth quarter.

The Patriots started slowly with a fumble on its first possession, but the defense forced a three-and-out.

MAU had three fumbles in a quarter and a half, but the Otters couldn't capitalize on the mistakes.

"I don't know if it was the hype of Senior Night or Homecoming, but we had mistakes early that hurt us," said MAU coach Chad Gordon. "We couldn't do what we wanted."

On Otter Valley's next drive, a good return got them near the red zone, but Otters quarterback Tyler Rowe threw an interception to Cole Bushee, who zigged and zagged through to return it for a 91-yard pick-six and give MAU a 7-0 lead.

"Cole's a great player and he turned that play around," Gordon said. "He had a wall of blue shirts in front of him, so let's take it to the house if we can. It really gave us a spark. The offense was reeling, so the defense scoring there was big."

It took the MAU offense until there was six minutes left in the half to extend the lead when Fischer ran up the middle untouched 35 yards to paydirt to make it 14-0.

Otter Valley cut the lead in half on the first drive of the second half, with Rowe rushing for a 42-yard score, but immediately, MAU got it back when Shane Wood ran for a 22-yard touchdown to make it 20-7.

On the drive, freshman Gavin Johnson caught a pass for 18 yards on third-and-5 for a first down, but on the play, fighting for extra yards, he hit the ground hard on the tackle and had to come out of the game.

"It was a huge play by Gavin," Gordon said. "We wanted to come to the wide receiver screen early in the half. That play got us motivated and we finished the drive."

MAU added scores later with Fischer going in from 11 yards out, Fischer's touchdown reception in the fourth and Mickey Bernard's four-yard run capped it in the final minutes.

"With Caleb, it's nice to have a coach's son playing quarterback, and we have two," said Gordon, whose offensive coordinator, Jim Fischer, is Will's father. "Caleb is a very smart kid and handles pressure well, I didn't have a problem putting him out there. I knew he has a good arm, so I wanted to give him a shot and it's something else teams have to watch for."

Mount Anthony is 3-3 with a pair of games left, both on the road: at Brattleboro for the Elwell Trophy game and then in two weeks at Burr and Burton.

"I told the guys after the game, this one is over, it's on to Brattleboro," said Gordon, echoing New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick. "We can't make the mistakes we did tonight and come home with the trophy. No matter what the records, the Brattleboro-Mount Anthony game is always a tough matchup."


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