Bulldogs aim for third straight D-II title berth

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MANCHESTER — The Burr and Burton football team and coach Jason Thomas have had to fill big shoes under center this season. From 2009-12, Jake Stalcup was the steady hand at quarterback and from 2013-16, Jake's younger brother, Griff, took nearly all the snaps for the Bulldogs.

So for the first time in a while, someone other than a Stalcup will be there.

Lucky for BBA, the choice to come in is a good one.

Senior Jay McCoy will move from his receiver spot, where he caught 12 touchdowns, into the hot seat. He's been there before as a backup in blowout situations, but this will be the first time as the main guy.

"Jay has a good command of the offense, he's still working on getting the timing down with his receivers," Thomas said. "The first game is always tough, even though you see tape from [the scrimmages]. We have to execute and minimize mistakes."

One of the strengths for the Bulldogs will be the offensive line, which is led by junior Will Frank, junior Olivier Cazaudumec, senior Mark Wade, junior Owen King and sophomore Ethan Simonds.

"There's been a handful of guys in and out on the line because of some injuries, so they are still getting the cohesiveness together," Thomas said. "Ethan is having a real good camp and he and Owen will play both ways."

Junior Jake Baker and sophomore Logan Morgan should be getting the bulk of the work in the backfield, while two converted soccer players — Cam Hedberg and Chevaughn Brownie — will get time at running back as well. On the outside, Bryce Little will be the main focus.

Many of Thomas' starters will play both ways. McCoy and Morgan will start at linebacker, while Joey McCoy and Baker look to be in the defensive backfield. DJ Mulroy and Little are in the mix as well on defense.

Burr & Burton has gone 29-2 over the last three seasons under Thomas, who has guided the team to a 59-26 record since 2009.

Last year, the Bulldogs went 9-1 before losing in the Division II championship game to Bellows Falls.

To start 2017, BBA travels north to face Burlington, who just moved back up to Division I in a non-league matchup. Last year, BBA shut out the Seahorses, 28-0.

After the opener, BBA hosts U-32 and then faces the other two top picks in D-II in Bellows Falls and Fair Haven.

"We're running the gauntlet early on, it's a tough schedule," Thomas said.

After the Fair Haven game, BBA plays Spaulding before another non-league matchup against Division I Middlebury, a team who has been near the top of Vermont's highest division for a decade. Then they travel to Milton and then rekindle the rivalry with Mount Anthony in the regular season finale.


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