BARRE-There’s been a lot of off season talk around the Newport area about where the 2011 North Country Falcons football team would be this fall. The first test went according to plan. NCU broke out of the blocks in a convincing way as they dominated Spaulding’s Crimson Tide scoring early and often en-route to a 50-0 victory.
The Falcons out-gained their opponents 354 to 63 in total yards in the contest. Senior tailback Nick LeClair was the beneficiary of gapping holes in the Tide defense that were opened by NC’s offensive line. When Leclair got a seam and burst into the open field it was all over. He totaled 191 yards and scored five touchdowns while sitting out the games last 16 minutes.
The line of scrimmage was controlled by the Falcon’s earth movers in the trenches. 240 pound Jason Webster, 230 pound Adam Fortin, 220 pound Lance Buffi, and company opened holes and delivered punishing hits.
Coach Bob Davis would later say, ”Those kids were not only getting their first blocks down, they did a great job getting the second level blocks downfield as well.”
With game time kickoff temperature at 86 degrees the Falcons were ready to roll. An early TD was canceled due to a penalty, but it didn’t take long to make amends. LeClair broke a ten yard sweep around the left end behind crushing interior blocks by Bubba Collins and Jason Webster and NC had scored early. The drive came after the Falcons defense had turned the ball back over to the offense on downs. Eight plays later LeClair pranced into the end zone. He was just warming up.
LeClair later got loose on a miss direction play and turned back inside sidestepping two defenders on his was to a 26 yard score.
With the contest at 16-0 and just over two minutes to play in the half, Spaulding was stopped again by the Falcons defense with senior Bubba Collins making consistent penetration into the Tide backfield. LeClair finished like a pro again going 22 yards up the middle for the score.
After Collins came back with his second of three fumbles recoveries on the afternoon, it was LeClair time once more. The fleet footed back broke a tackle just past the line of scrimmage and shifted gears to beat every red jersey to the rectangle for his fourth scoring play of the half and all in a 13 minute span. A contest that had been close had just been blown wide open. NC up 28-0 at intermission.
The Falcons, beside scoring seven touchdowns during the romp, made some great finishes on two point conversion sequences. Jason Hatin reached the end zone for two on a perfect pass from senior quarterback Tre Sanville. The 195 pound Hatin blasted in via the ground and later added another passing conversion from Sanville giving Hatin three two point conversions on the afternoon.
North Country produced several more efficient drives when Sanville carried the ball in from the 15, diving in for the last two yards. LeClair routinely attacked on a fifteen yarder and 220 pound fullback Adam Pothier banged his way in from the seven running over a Tide safety man in the process. When Connor Graham caught a soft toss from Jacob Buckles the scoring was complete.
There were many outstanding efforts from NCU on this day including Jacob Buckles hitting everything that moved from his linebacker post.
Coach Davis and staff were pleased, “The offensive line was terrific. We had some efficient drives. Those drives were quick scoring plays and there will be games where we will want to grind it out and keep the opponent’s offense off the field. We will look at the film and take a look at what we have to work on. We did some good things and we have some things to correct. We are focused on taking this season one game at a time. That was a good effort but only one game. We now go to work on U-32, our next opponent.”
The Falcons will play their home opener this Friday with kickoff at 7 pm.