Eagle football walloped by Windsor, 35-6

BRISTOL — Visiting Windsor High School shut down the Mount Abraham/Vergennes football team’s offense and used a big-play rushing attack to earn a pivotal Division III victory, 35-6, on Saturday.
The result left both teams at 3-2 with three regular-season games left. Both the Eagles and Jacks are in position to make the D-III postseason, but Mount Abe Coach Ernie Senecal said his team has no margin for error if the Eagles are to meet their preseason goal of earning a top-four seed for a second straight time.
“It will be tough for us to host a playoff game if we don’t win out, for sure,” Senecal said.
Certainly, the Eagle attack will have to fare better down the stretch: Mount Abe managed just 149 yards overall, 35 yards in the first half while failing to score and earning just two first downs.
Senecal credited Windsor for a well-executed defensive game plan to take away the Eagles’ bread-and-butter rushing attack.
“Their linebackers did a real nice job coming up aggressively and attacking the run. They took away our inside stuff,” Senecal said. “They do a real nice job the way they scheme their defense. It makes it harder to sweep, and their inside guys just did a nice job.”
Offensively, Windsor relied on running backs Trevor Worrall (18 carries, 200 yards, one score) and Hunter Patenaude (nine attempts, 90 yards, two TDs) for most of their 312 yards.
The Eagles tackled Windsor backs for losses a dozen times, with Ryan Paquin, Ty Combs, Matt Mullin, Tyrus Keith and both Jack and Erik Eisenhower doing damage. But the slick ballhandling of quarterback Nick Kapuscinski on misdirection plays, many of them sweeps and reverses, led to key gains.  
 “They have a solid line and skilled position players, and their quarterback does a nice job,” Senecal said. “And their line just outplayed our line.”
Windsor scored on its second and third possessions of the first half. Russell Simonds closed the first quarter by running in a reverse from six yards out, and Patenaude scored on a 20-yard reverse at 7:02 of the second to make it 13-0.
An Anthony Warner interception helped keep the Eagles within striking distance entering the second half; Warner also made a couple of touchdown-saving tackles on long Windsor runs.
The Jacks made it 20-0 to open the second half, marching 50 yards after a failed Eagle onside kick. Worrall scored on a 25-yard sweep on fourth-and-one.
A bad snap on an Eagle punt then set up Windsor on the Eagle 31, but Mount Abe held, thanks to tackling Kapuscinski for a loss, two Windsor penalties, and a pass break-up by Trevon Smith.
The Eagles then marched 90 yards to get back into the game. Key plays were runs by Paquin and Jeb Hodsden, a completion by QB Joey Payea to Paquin, a 22-yard Warner run to the Jack 22, and a 12-yard Paquin run to the 2. From there, Warner punched it in. Warner apparently also dove into the end zone for the conversion, but the officials waved it off, and it was 20-6 at 10:11 of the fourth.
The Jacks recovered an Eagle onsides kick at their 41, and on their first play Wyatt Gracie tackled Worrall for a 5-yard loss. But on the next play Worrall ran for 52 yards to the Eagle 10, and from there Patenaude scored on the following play. At 28-6 with 8:42 to go, time had run out on Mount Abe. Simonds added a 6-yard run with 1:48 to play for the final score.
Paquin (seven carries, 34 yards) and Warner (nine carries, 36 yards) led the Eagle offense. Payea finished 4 for 13 passing for 27 yards.
The Eagles visit an Oxbow team that Senecal believes is improved this coming weekend, and then they host Mill River and visit Poultney.
“We’ve got some tough games. We can’t think about, ‘We’ve got to win the last three.’ We’ve got to think about, ‘We’ve got to win the next one.’” Senecal said. “We’ve got to come to play.”
Andy Kirkaldy may be reached at [email protected].

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