New division, same result: Burr and Burton soars to Division I crown
RUTLAND — The Burr and Burton football team knew how to stop history from repeating itself.
In BBA's lone loss of the regular season, St. Johnsbury's David Hutchison ran all over the Bulldogs to the tune of six touchdowns.
Saturday night, his name was rarely heard over the public address system, as BBA avenged its early October loss with a 47-20 win to claim the Division I state championship at Alumni Field.
The state championship was the Bulldogs' second in a row, as they became the first team in state history to win a Division II title then win a Division I title the next season.
"I'm really proud of the kids. They worked hard all season long," said first-year BBA coach Tom McCoy. "It was a tough road. We had to play Hartford twice, we had to play undefeated Middlebury on their field and then you have to play a team that already beat you once for the state championship. [The team] believed in each other."
No team has slowed down the Hilltoppers' offense like the Bulldogs did Saturday night. St. Johnsbury averaged more than 40 points per game coming into the contest and it used its power advantage to drive through opponents with a dominant run game.
BBA took the Hilltoppers completely out of their game and it showed on the scoreboard.
"The defensive line did an amazing job putting pressure on the quarterback and stopping their run game," McCoy said.
Hutchison was limited to just three rushes for 10 yards and one reception for 11 yards in the first quarter.
BBA senior Joey McCoy drew the defensive matchup of the 6-foot-3 Hutchison and gave him little room to breathe.
"[David] Hutchison is a great player. We prepared all week to change up the schemes a bit," Joey McCoy said. "It was all about matchups and to come here and shut them down is truly special."
"Football is a little bit of grind and we didn't have Joey play linebacker the whole season, even though he's the leading tackler on our team," Tom McCoy said. "We brought him in at linebacker this week and his job was to play linebacker when [Hutchison] was in the backfield and cover when [Hutchison] was the tight end and when he was split out wide."
Between multi-sack efforts by David Keyes and Mark Carthy, multiple fourth-down stops and a critical interception by Logan Morgan in the second half, the Bulldogs were locked in all day long to stifle a potent Hilltoppers attack.
While BBA's defense stepped up in critical spots, the Bulldogs' offense was as quick to pounce as they've been all season long.
Following a first drive punt by St. Johnsbury, Joey McCoy connected with Morgan for an 86-yard touchdown on BBA's first offensive snap.
"It was the first play of the drive and of the game for us, so it felt special to me," Morgan said.
The Hilltoppers continued to struggle moving the ball in the first half, as on their first four drives, they had to punt three times and turned the ball over on downs once.
Another short drive led to BBA points with 9 minutes, 28 seconds left in the first half. Joey McCoy scrambled for a 45-yard run from his own 15 to get the ball into St. Johnsbury territory and then connected with John Morgantini for a 45-yard pass and touchdown.
The Hilltoppers answered back with a two-play drive of their own, finished off by quarterback Trey Alercio and Hunter Palmieri connecting for a 28-yard score.
With the game going into halftime at 13-7, the Bulldogs were set to receive in the third quarter and they looked to get the momentum immediately.
BBA started its second half by extending the lead to 20-7 when Joey McCoy found Jack Morrison for 24-yard touchdown pass, and on St. Johnsbury's first play from scrimmage in the third, Alercio was picked off by Morgan.
The Bulldogs took advantage of short field position, starting on the Hilltoppers' 39.
Joey McCoy threw incompletions on his next three passes, setting up a punting situation, but BBA fooled St. Johnsbury on a fake punt. McCoy found Morgan to his right and the senior picked up the first down for 15 yards.
With a fresh set of downs, Joey McCoy found paydirt on the next play on a 34-yard run, extending the lead to 20 points.
"That was a momentum change right there," Morgan said. "If that didn't happen, it would have been a lot closer than it was. Everyone stepped up, playing together and we played more as team tonight than any other night."
Morgan was busy the rest of the way, catching two touchdown passes and running in one of his own. His second touchdown of the day came on another 86-yard connection, where he broke a myriad of tackles across the run to find the endzone.
"You can see how much of an unbelievable runner he is as well as a pass catcher," Tom McCoy said. "He missed four or five games this year, but he was as healthy as he's been all year for this game. He's a tremendous football player, a captain and a big part of this football team on both sides of the ball."
"[Logan] was on fire. To have him step up like this is truly special," Joey McCoy said.
Morgan had eight catches for 343 yards and three touchdown grabs on the night.
Joey McCoy was dominant through the air, throwing for 517 yards and five touchdowns, while rushing for a score as well.
BBA finishes its championship season with a 10-1 record, while St. Johnsbury sees a lone blemish in a 10-1 season.
Adam Aucoin can be reached at email@example.com and followed at @AAucoin_Banner on Twitter.
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