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Tuesday September 16, 2014 Edition
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Tigers Shut Out Colchester 34-0

#37 Cullen Hathaway on one of his 3 touchdown runs
photo by Pam Quinn
#37 Cullen Hathaway on one of his 3 touchdown runs
#55 Ploof, #56 Wright and #54 Laberge lineman for Midd Tigers
photo by Pam Quinn
#55 Ploof, #56 Wright and #54 Laberge lineman for Midd Tigers

Tuesday September 16, 2014

By Bill Hinman

Home at last-After a two week road trip the Tigers returned to the Doc Collins field Friday night in hopes of continuing their winning streak.  As has become a custom when winning the coin toss, the Tigers elected to defer to the second half and give Colchester a shot at first blood.  Nathan Lolonde kicked and the Lakers, with a solid return, had the ball first and ten at the 27 yard line.  A repeat of last week would not transpire.  Middlebury held the Lakers to just two yards on a three and out.  Colchester was forced to punt the ball and on the return Ritter almost coughed up the ball on an errant bounce.  The first play from scrimmage quieted the Laker fans with Bobby Ritter running a counter left of center for a 57 yard touchdown run.  A solid point after kick by Lalonde and Middlebury took the early lead 7-0 with 9:44 left in the first quarter.  
Colchester would again find running the ball difficult having a three and out from their own 37.  A good kick and stifling coverage found the Tigers deep in their own territory with a first and ten from the 30.  The next series Colchester was able to stop the option and Middlebury was forced to punt after only netting  two yards.  Middlebury’s punt including a penalty on the Lakers gave Colchester poor field position on their 24.  On second down Middlebury saw their first break of the game with a recovered fumble on the Colchester 30.  Once again Colchester was able to keep the game close with a three and out.  Middlebury’s stifling defense continued to stop the Lakers until Grant Cummings finally found a hole and got into the secondary.  Ritter was able to chase Cummings down after a 30 yard gain.  Cochester had finally gotten  some offense and appeared poised to push deeper into Middlebury territory.  The Tiger defense immediately regrouped and Colchester was forced to punt.  Robinson received the punt on the 15 when out of nowhere Justin Stone delivered a punishing blow to Alex Corrigan. The hit provided  Robinson a seam, running the ball to the Colchester 35.  A good battle for the first twelve minutes ended the quarter with Colchester keeping it close 7-0.  
The second quarter began with a Colchester facemask penalty giving Middlebury a 1st and 10 from the fifteen.  On the next play the option finaly started clicking and Cortland Fisher was able to punch the ball in.  Lalonde was good on the kick sending Middlebury into familer territory with a 14-0 lead  mid way through the second quarter.  On the next series Colchester was able to find some footing but mistakes cost the Lakers and they were forced to punt from the Middlebury 38 resulting in touchback.  The Tigers next offensive series took the wind out of the Lakers sails with an eight play push into the end zone ending with Robinson connecting on a rare pass to Cullen Hathaway for a 20-0 lead.  Lalonde missed the point after leaving the score 20-0 at the half.
The second half started where the first half left off.  Middlebury received the ball and started at the 20. Robinson fed Fisher the ball off the option for two long carries setting up a play action pass to Cullen Hathaway and open field for a 50 yard touchdown run down the right side.  A successful point after and Middlebury had a comfortable 27-0 lead.   The next kickoff gave Colchester its first smell of the goal line.  A long return by the Lakers Dakota Navari gave Colchester a chance with a first and goal on the seven.  Once again it would be Stone to make the big play stripping the ball and taking it back to the 48 before finally being caught by the Lakers.  With an insurmountable lead it was time to practice some passing and Robinson connected with Quinn for 40 yards only to have it called back for offensive interference. Facing a 3rd and 28 Robinson again aired the ball out but Quinn was unable to pull it in.  For the second time of the night Middlebury punted. Colchester again could not solve the offensive problems and was forced to punt with a three and out.  The forth quarter included time for the second team and a recovery of a high punt snap to give the Tigers excellent field position on the seven yard line.  A defeated Laker team then watched as Hathaway scampered off tackle for the final points of the night.  Middlebury now stands as the team to beat being the only undefeated team in Division one.  Next Friday the Rutland Raiders will travel to Middlebury for a seven o’clock game.

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