Spaulding football is no match for Eagles

BRISTOL — Football teams who face the Mount Abraham/Vergennes Union High School teams this year know they are going to be fed dangerous doses of the team’s powerful running back tandem of Tommy Lee Hodsden and Austin Lafayette.
Visiting Spaulding was no different on Saturday, though they also got a glimpse of the Eagles’ developing passing attack, which produced two scores en route to the Eagles’  38-6 victory.
The Eagles got off to a quick start. They won the toss and promptly scored on the first play from scrimmage when Hodsden took a hand-off from quarterback Joey Payea and ran 64 yards for a touchdown. The mercurial back was handed a game ball just before half-time for breaking the 1,000-yard rushing mark after only three-and-a-half games this season.
Hodsden’s lightning was followed by Lafayette’s thunder, as the Eagle fullback rumbled in for the two-point conversion, making it 8-0, Mount Abe.
The Eagles’ stingy defense did its part, consistently stopping the Crimson Tide — which did not punt once during the game — on fourth down.
Division II Spaulding’s constant need to focus on Hodsden and Lafayette helped open up the Eagles’ passing attack. Payea hit tight end Tyrus Keith with a 10-yard touchdown pass, followed by a Hodsden two-point run, to give the Eagles a 16-0 lead late in the first period.
Lafayette rushed in from four yards out for the only score in the second stanza, giving Mount Abe a 22-0 halftime lead.
Spaulding mounted a nice drive to open the second half, one that culminated in an 8-yard TD pass from Josh Gosselin to Kevin Collins.
Mount Abe responded with a 63-yard touchdown play. Payea’s tight spiral creased a heavy wind and dropped into the arms of speedy receiver Michael White, who outran his pursuers along the Spaulding sideline. A Lafayette conversion made it 30-6.
The Eagles subbed in a lot of players in the fourth quarter, and they joined in the fun. The Eagles capped the scoring on a 6-yard touchdown run by Nate Rowell, followed by an Ethan Gendreau two-point run to make it 38-6.
Hodsden finished with 13 carries for 137 yards, while Lafayette had 12 carries for 60 as the D-III Eagles move to 3-1 Eagles.
Eagle Coach Ernie Senecal was pleased with his team’s performance on both sides of the ball.
“Our defense came to play today,” he said. “We played well. It was a physical game. Our defense has really staggered the last couple of games, but we finally found ourselves, I think.”
Senecal was also excited about the team’s budding passing game, and gave kudos to his running backs. Senecal called Lafayette one of the best fullbacks in D-III and called  Hodsden’s 1,000-yard feat “amazing,” especially in light of the major knee injury he sustained last year.
“It’s like he hasn’t lost a thing,” Senecal said.
The Eagles will play at Windsor on Saturday at 2 p.m.
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected].

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