NEWPORTâ€“ The North Country Falcons opened the playbook up to a few more new chapters as the hometown boys knocked off Burr and Burtonâ€™s Bulldogs 36-24 on senior night at Veterans Field.
The Falcons got a pair of scoring runs from their outstanding tailback Nick LeClair. The speedy number twenty-four went in from seven yards out as he veered right at the four, shrugging off the last linebacker in the first quarter. In the second quarter, with NC facing a fourth and four from the six, LeClair popped outside and ran over a safety at the goal line on his way to his second scoring play.
Jason Hatin did it all on Friday night, as the versitile senior threw a 31 yard touchdown pass to Jacob Buckles, then found him again later with a 62 yard bomb off the option that lead Buckles down to the Bulldog 12. He would add his own running score when he powered in from the one putting the Falcons up 22-2 late in the second period.
The Bulldogs, who came in with a 5-2 record, kicked off, but tried to get cute with an on-side kick that was recovered by North Country and driven down to the B&B one yard line. They would fail to score after getting piled up by the Bulldogâ€™s interior line.
One play later, Burr and Burton quarterback Jason Stalcup threw a bullet out of his end zone that deflected off of Jake Oliver and was picked off by Logan Spates.
This time the Falcons wouldn't be denied. Senior signal caller Tre Sanville did an expert job of ball faking and kept the ball himself, running down to the seven. LeClair, behind crushing blocks from Bubba Collins and Ben Bonneau, skirted into the end zone with the games first score.
The Bulldogs had done a good job with the inside attack of the Falcons, shutting off that aspect of the NCU offense. But, this yearsâ€™ Falcon team can adjust and attack you so many different ways.
Sanville was given the keys to the passing offense and he responded, completing 7 of 9 attempts for over 100 yards in the air. This included several strikes to his favorite target, sticky fingered receiver Jacob Buckles. He also found rugged tight-end Riley Simmoneau, who at 6â€™2â€ť, 210 lbs., is a hard man to knock down.
The Falcon Coaching Staff went wide with their runners, working the Bulldogs from all directions. By going wide, the interior game opened up, and Sanville took full advantage when he ballfaked LeClair, kept the pigskin, and raced 34 yards to the promised land early in the third quarter.
That scoring run was a big play to start the third quarter after the Bulldogs had struck with a hook and ladder for 60 yards at the end of the first half, closing the gap to 22-12 in favor of NCU.
North Country broke open the contest early in the fourth quarter. Hatinâ€™s 31 yard spiral to Buckles made it 36-12 Falcons. The officials called pass interference on Burr and Burton before seeing that Buckles, despite the interference, had held onto the ball with his acrobatic catch .
Now that is what I call focus and determination.
The Bulldogs did not give up the ship. They responded with Grady Murtaugh on the end of a short drive with a one yard run. For the third time in the contest B&B tried the on-side kick. They converted another, and their fine 6â€™4â€ť QB Stalcup hit Eamon Walsh from twenty yards out. The try for two succeeded, making it 36-24.
North Country recovered the last of four onside attempts and after running off two first downs by Adam Pothier, Sanville took a knee at the ten and the Falcons clinched their eighth victory of the season on senior night in front of over 1,000 cheering fans.
The numbers told the story of the game. NCUHS had over 250 yards rushing to go along with 180 yards in the air. That kind of balance is hard to come by.
Burr and Burton was very effective with their passing game, going for over 300 yards, but managed to only pick up 88 on the ground.
The regular season will come to a close next week, when North Country travels to Milton to take on the 7-1 Yellowjackets, who come in to their home finale fresh off a 18-12 loss to Colchester. The winner of next Friday nightâ€™s contest will lock up the number one seed in Division two. Either way, the Falcons have already earned a home play-off game that will be played on November 4th.