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MIDDLEBURYâ€“An outpouring of offense in the second half propelled the South over the North 35-8 in the 11th Annual North-South All-Star Football Game.
While it was not the way Coach Davis would have liked to see his coaching career end, he definitely could be proud of the effort that his players brought to the 2011 Senior Bowl on Saturday.
"It was a great experience. These games are what they are; an exhibition to get the kids out there for scouts to see. But most importantly it is about having fun and the kids did."
After years of high scoring and relentless offense, the first half of Saturday's game was an anomaly in Senior Bowl history as neither team scored during the first thirty minutes of play.
In the early going the Northern team looked dominant on the defensive side of the ball. Led by Milton's Jamie Holbrook and North Country's Bubba Collins, the defense was tested time and time again, and did not budge an inch. They were relentless on the pass rush, coming hard at Southern quarterbacks Tucker Stone and Robert Coloutti and forcing a significant amount of yardage loss throughout the half. They even blocked a field goal attempt with 1:60 remaining in the first quarter to keep the game knotted at 0's early.
On offense, it was not necessarily the Southern defenders that were in the way of the two units from the North as it was some miscues along the way that kept them off of the board. Fumbles and interceptions were the biggest obstacle for the offense, and it was these momentum killers that really did them in during the first half.
"We couldn't get into a rhythm on offense. It is tough when you have different defenders coming in for each series matched up with a different offense. It is not like the regular season," said Davis.
In the second half the South came out flying and took the lead on a half yard run by Mill River's Adam Mackey.
They would extend the lead to 14-0 on a twenty yard run by Troy Bell of Hartford and a two point conversion. The South would score two more times, including a 70 yard running TD by Bell before the North would crack the score sheet.
Led by the ground and pound Falcon offensive players, the North marched up the field on the backs of Tre Sanville and Nick LeClair deep into the red zone where Sanville would call his own number and break the plane with the quarterback sneak.
Said Davis of the North's only trip into the end zone, "It was nice to see Tre and Nick work the option."
The North would convert the two, but that is all the scoring they would get as the South would tack on one more score to take the win 35-8.
Assistant Coach Lonnie Wade, who was one of several NCU coaches on the sidelines, was pleased with how the week turned out despite the loss.
"It was a great experience and it was fun to be with the six guys from North Country."
The week will also hold an important place in Wade's heart for another reason.
"It was very special to coach with Bob," he said, "He was my coach when I was playing and he has done a lot for me coaching and life wise."
And what will Davis do now that the season is over?
"The reality of it (retiring from coaching) is going to be setting in. I have been running on adrenaline since August, so now for the remainder of the year I will help the seniors as far as college and football go."
Congratulations to all of the North Country players and coaching to staff who, in the face of defeat, represented the Kingdom with class and honor.