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SOUTH BURLINGTON-While the North Country Falcon offense has made the big headlines this fall, the rock ribbed defensive unit of NCU showed its teeth Saturday afternoon. The Falcons raised their record to 4-0 as they steadily wore down the home team and defending state champion Rice Green Knights on their turf.
It didnâ€™t take long as the Falcons moved the ball early. Senior tailback Nick LeClair spearheaded that attack as he broke two good runs on the drive. LeClair picked his way to a 12 yard gain and a first down at the Rice 35. Falcon quarterback Tre Sanville broke off a punishing nine yard run and then hit Riley Simoneau with an eight yard pass in the flat.
LeClair finished off the series with an eleven yard scamper at 7:11 of the first quarter. Sanville hit Jason Hatin with a quick slate for the two point conversion making it 8-0 Falcons. That 60 yard drive took eight plays to complete. The Falcon offensive line manhandled the Rice interior.
North Country stopped Rice on the next series and a gave a steady dose of fullback Adam Pouthier and continued Sanville runs. Pouthier banged through several Green Knight defenders that thought they had the 220 pounder, but instead were trampled. A quick pass to Jacob Buckles showed the NC versatility. That drive ended with an interception by Riceâ€™s Tommy Fitzgerald.
The NC defense dug in and got a big sack out of Bubba Collins. The Falcons front line chased Rice QB Charlie Boardman out of the pocket several times forcing errant throws.
North Country hit paydirt again in the second period as Sanville smashed his way in from five yards out. The senior signal caller turned right and finished the run hard as he would not be denied. Pouthier rumbled in for the two pointer and NCU had a 16-0 lead.
Rice showed a lot of fight with their next possession as they went 65 yards on 13 plays all the way to the NC 1 yard line. Rice had four chances from the four but two incomplete throws and big penetration by Adam Fortin and company up front smothered Riceâ€™s chance to climb back into the game.
The Green Knights had another golden opportunity as they came out throwing in the third quarter. They drove to the Falcon 11 but would get no further as NCUâ€™s defense slammed the door. Rice would not get another chance the rest of the day.
The Falcons added a third TD as Jason Hatin picked off a Boardman aerial and took it back 34 yards for the touchdown late in the third quarter.
The sturdy broad shoulders of the Falcons defense did the rest as they continued to outhit Rice as the contest wore on. The last scoring play came with 2:10 to go as Hatin broke a 33yard run down the sideline to finish off the Green Knights convincingly 30-0. That series was set up by a punt block by junior Colton White. White ran over his man and knocked the punt down with his right hand.
NCUHS enjoyed a 296 to 136 total yardage advantage. They had balance as LeClair finished with 85 yards on 18 carries and his seventh TD of the season. Hatin collected 58 yards on six attempts while Sanville racked up 88 yards on 12 carries and a bruising scoring run. He also hit 4 of 6 passes for another 40 yards as well.
The Falcons return home this Friday as they host a 3-1 Lyndon Institute Viking team.