Bulldogs reload for deep playoff run
MANCHESTER — Over the past three seasons, the Burr and Burton football team is 28-3.
But two of those losses, including last year in the Division II semifinal, have come against Bellows Falls.
As the 2018 season begins, the Bulldogs are refocused and ready to get back to the top of the division.
This year is one of the first times that the Bulldogs have a question at quarterback after having Jake Stalcup, Griff Stalcup and Jay McCoy over the past decade.
McCoy graduated after a phenomenal season in which he threw for 1,794 yards and 20 touchdowns, while also rushing for 1,179 yards and 14 touchdowns.
That leaves a spot for Joey McCoy and Jake Baker to work out as the season begins on Saturday against North Country at Taylor Field.
McCoy will start Week 1, but after that, Baker and even John Morgantini could take snaps under center this year.
"We have good athletes so it's a good problem to have," said BBA coach Jason Thomas, who enters his 11th season as head coach. "Joey will be our Week 1 starter, he's proved he can do a little bit of everything for us. The other guys, John throws the best and Jake is dynamic with the ball in his hands. I could play any of the three and not be worried about who's back there."
Two of the top running backs return in Chevaughn Brownie and Logan Morgan. The pair combined to rush for nearly 700 yards and 11 touchdowns and both look to up those numbers in Thomas' high-powered offense.
"We have our starting backfield back and it's good to have them back," Thomas said. It's a two-headed monster, both are speedy, Chevy is more powerful, but Logan's running phenomenally. We're not real deep, but the kids we have are pretty talented."
The receiving corps had the most losses, with Cam Hedberg, who caught six touchdowns, and Connor Simonds, who had 35 catches, graduating.
"Baker may move to receiver but can also go in the backfield for us," Thomas said.
On the offensive line, Olivier Cazaudumec is the leading returner, along with Will Frank and Ethan Simonds. A new starter on the line is David Keyes, a 6-foot-2, 250-pound freshman.
"He has a little bit of a mean streak, and having that mentality as a ninth grader is rare," Thomas said. "Shepard Siegel is a junior that had limited time last year and he's done a nice job so far this year."
Defensively, the top two tacklers have graduated in Jay McCoy and DJ Mulroy. Cazaudumec, the third-highest tackler with 67 stops and three sacks, will be on both sides of the bal. Joey McCoy was a major part of the defense last season, making 47 tackles, grabbing four interceptions and have 11 passes defenses (knocked down).
"We'll have a lot of the same guys on offense and defense and games are won by the upperclassman," said Thomas, who has 15 juniors and seniors as part of his 33-player roster. "We have to be in great shape, but we won't know exactly how it is until Saturday."
The Division II state title is the final goal, but Thomas said he's only worried about each day as it comes.
"We feel good about where we are and how we're executing," Thomas said. "If we take care of today, game day will take care of itself. With only 33 guys, we have to stay healthy. If we focus on us and do what we do, we should be able to compete against anyone."
Roster: Jake Baker, Joey McCoy, Logan Morgan, Will Addington, Liam Bradley, Gabriel Brenner, Griff Briggs, Chevaughn Brownie, Mark Carthy, Olivier Cazaudumec, Kevin Coronel, Patrick Forstmann, Will Frank, Aldenio Garwood, Joseph Harrington V, Carter Jasinski, Dustin Joseph, David Keyes, Owen King, Griff MacFadyen, Joseph McNealus, John Morgantini, Kevin Morris, Jack Morrison, Jake Nicholson, Alex Northrop, Joey Ouellette, Cam Peters, Shepard Siegel, Ethan Simonds, Mason Snide, Patrick Szkutak, Devon Withington.
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