Photos and Story by Ben Kaufmann
FAIRFAX – One game’s experience proved to be extremely valuable on Wednesday as BFA-Fairfax/Lamoille got to .500 on the year with 29-0 win over BFA-St. Albans in the Bobwhites’ first game.
Fairfax/Lamoille (1-1) exploded for 23 points in the second half, riding a huge day from quarterback Will Mlcuch (24/47, 384 yards, 4 touchdowns) to a big win over St. Albans in the 7-on-7 touch football* contest.
Bookended by big individual receiving quarters, Fairfax/Lamoille improved significantly on Saturday’s 29-25 loss to Burlington/South Burlington. Kenny Salls caught four passes for 60 yards and a touchdown in the first quarter and Teddy Munson grabbed four for 53 yards and a touchdown in the fourth to cap off the day. Salls led the Bullets for the second straight game, pulling in seven total catches for 126 yards and the touchdown. Munson finished with five catches, 59 yards, and a touchdown.
It was an all-around good day for the Bullets, with eight players hauling in receptions and the defense holding St. Albans (0-1) scoreless.
“You can see the difference from last week to this week,” said Fairfax/Lamoille coach Craig Sleeman. “The kids really look at their film and they take it seriously. We’re going to continue to grow. And we’ll just build on this one too. I’m very happy with where we’re at right now but not satisfied. There’s a lot of things we can always do better, but we’ll get there.”
For St. Albans, it was a long afternoon of learning a new game on the fly against a Fairfax/Lamoille team which had already seen game action.
“There are some things they had a little more experience than us on, but that’s just how it worked out. We’ve got one day and then it’s ready for Colchester on Friday night,” said Bobwhite coach Geoff Murray.
“It’s just a learning experience. We had some miscues defensively like we didn’t get to our coverages. Give Fairfax credit, every time we did that they seemed to capitalize on it. And in the first half we had a couple of chances to score and we just didn’t punch it in so to speak and they did.”
St. Albans wasn’t far off, especially in the first half on Wednesday. After throwing an interception to Fairfax junior Ashton Longe, who caught an additional five passes for 36 yards and a touchdown on the offensive side, the Bobwhites settled in nicely and were truly more competitive than the final score indicated.
The third Bobwhite drive of the day traversed 60 yards down to the Fairfax 10 before four straight incompletions prevented a score. St. Albans made it back to the Bullet 13 just before halftime, but again failed to convert four straight times and went into halftime down 6-0 on the Salls touchdown.
“They were ready to get out and play against an opponent,” Murray said of his squad. “We’ve been scrimmaging each other and it’s still different when you’re scrimmaging each other versus coming out here when there’s a game. I think we’re still adjusting a little bit to the rules, not quite sure exactly how things are going to get called, but it is what it is.”
Sleeman understands his team had an advantage and warns others that the Bobwhites will improve rapidly.
“Going into a regular season you’d have one or two scrimmages but we didn’t have that this year. So really, last week was like a scrimmage for us and this week is similar for St. Albans. I expect that next game they’ll be much better.”
Fairfax came out of halftime in strong form. The first Bullet drive of the third made it down to the Bobwhite 10 before Mlcuch kicked a field goal, his only attempt of the day (he was 2-3 on PAT kicks), to make it a 9-0 Fairfax/Lamoille lead. An astounding one-handed catch from freshman Eric Wimble on the next Bullet drive brought Fairfax/Lamoille 27 yards ahead to the Bobwhite 3. Longe caught a touchdown three snaps later and Mlcuch kicked the PAT to put his team up 16-0 through three quarters.
To open the fourth quarter, Mlcuch needed just two throws to extend the Fairfax/Lamoille lead. a 30-yard completion to Riley Greene and a 45-yard touchdown pass to Cooper Harvey followed by another Mlcuch kick quickly put the hosts up 23-0. Munson was the only receiver to pull in a catch on the final Bullet drive, catching four in a sensational finish to set the final score at 29-0.
Mlcuch offered just a lone interception in the first quarter, improving on the four Burlington/South Burlington picked off on Saturday. Final receiving totals for the Bullets: Salls (7 rec, 126 yards, 1 touchdown), Greene (3 receptions, 71 yards), Munson (5 receptions, 59 yards, 1 touchdown), Harvey (1 reception, 45 yards, 1 touchdown), Longe (5 receptions, 36 yards, 1 touchdown), Wimble (1 reception, 27 yards), Aiden Fisher (1 reception, 11 yards), Shaun Gibson (1 reception, 9 yards).
St. Albans utilized four quarterbacks on Wednesday. Thomas Remillard, Isaac Parah, Jake Reynolds, and Cole Langlois combined to complete 14/43 for 206 yards. The quartet didn’t have a turnover after the first-drive interception. No Bobwhite receiver grabbed more than two passes, but 11 different St. Albans players tallied receptions: Caleb Lulek, Case Ballard, Kolby Williams, William Sawyer, Gavin Fraties, Reynolds, Cole Woodland, Remillard, Colin Jolley, and Ryan Caldwell. Remillard was responsible Mlcuch’s lone interception on Wednesday.
St. Albans hosts Colchester on Friday night and Fairfax travels to CVU on Saturday. Passes will be required for admission at both sites.
*This week’s print edition of the County Courier contains an article on BFA-Fairfax/Lamoille’s first game in which the changes and rules around 7-on-7 are discussed in detail.