caption, page 2:

Moving Away
Woodstock Academy’s Nick Bedard (5) tries to get away from Windham’s Enrique Garcia as a flag is thrown in the Centaurs’ 19-8 win over the Whippets Sept. 21. Photo by Jeremy Useted/Woodstock Academy.

and the heat,
to go to 2-0
 Digging down deep.
It’s what both the Woodstock Academy Centaurs and Windham Whippets football teams had to do Sept. 21.
Temperatures in the mid-80s greeted players from both teams.
Add to it the heat generated by the turf itself, which most believe is about another 20 degrees thanks to a cloudless sky and the players were, literally, feeling the heat.
“(Luis Miranda) must have got 15 massages (Saturday on the sidelines),” said Woodstock Academy coach Sean Saucier. “His calves were rock hard, he can barely walk.”
Give up? Never. “He’s a warrior to the end,” Saucier said.
The senior was on the field to make one of the biggest plays of the game for the Centaurs, knocking down a possible go-ahead touchdown for Windham midway through the fourth quarter and preserving a 19-8 win over the Whippets.
The win raised the Centaurs record to 2-0.
It’s the best start for the Centaurs since Woodstock Academy started playing varsity football in 2006.
It doubled the win output of the season a year ago and pulled the Centaurs within two wins of the all-time best mark of four wins in a season.
That said, it wasn’t the best performance that Saucier had seen. The defense was solid. The offense produced just enough for the win.
Woodstock Academy put points on the board first.
The Centaurs forced the Whippets to punt on their first possession and the problems began early.
Windham’s quarterback and punter Jovan Almodovarr had to deal with a low snap and was forced to run the football.
He was knocked out of bounds before midfield but a late hit moved the ball down to the 37-yard line of the Centaurs.
Fortunately for Woodstock Academy, it was still shy of a first down.
The Centaurs mixed the run and pass effectively and got down to Windham’s 4-yard line.
But a holding call pushed the ball back and Woodstock Academy stalled on the 8-yard line.
The Centaurs called on kicker Aidan Morin who, for the second week in a row delivered a field goal, this one from 25 yards out with 4:51 left in the opening quarter.
The 3-0 lead held until the beginning of the second quarter.
Windham started a drive on its own 41-yard line late in the first quarter.
It took 13 plays and over five minutes before Juan Flores danced in from 2 yards out. A two-point conversion by Jacob Santiago gave the Whippets (0-2) an 8-3 lead.
The Centaurs were forced to punt on their possession but didn’t give up the ball for long.
A Windham fumble was recovered by Morin at the 44-yard line of the Whippets.
A series of stops-and-starts by the Centaurs offense - gain 9 yards on a run, lose 8 yards on a sack - finally led to a 4th-and-goal at the Windham 2-yard line.
The Centaurs went for it, but senior Travis White was barred from the end zone by the Windham defense.
The Whippets got the ball back but never left the shadow of their own goalposts, if there had been a shadow.
With 32 seconds left, the Centaurs defense accounted for two points when Seth Libby tackled Santiago (17 carries, 70 yards) for a safety.
The play meant the first half ended with a score more suited for baseball, 8-5, in favor of the Whippets.
Against Ledyard, Woodstock Academy was down by seven at the half but responded quickly by scoring on the first possession of the second half.
The Centaurs had to wait a little longer against Windham.
The first possession resulted in a punt but Windham again obliged and coughed up the football with Gavin Savoie falling on the football at the Whippets’ 48.
Up to that point, senior receiver Nick Bedard, bothered by a bad back and being double-covered by Windham, had been silent.
Quarterback Ethan Davis ended that drought. His first pass to Bedard was broken up by Windham’s Jayden Villafane.
Facing a third down and 11 yards, Davis looked for Bedard again and found him with yardage good enough for the first down.
A 3-yard run by Savoie and a 16-yard keeper by Davis (7 carries, 70 yards) moved the ball to the 19-yard line. But an illegal block on the play pushed it back to the 29.
Davis found Bedard again and the receiver reeled in the touchdown pass to put the Centaurs up for good, 12-8.
“It was a pretty good feeling,” Bedard said. “It’s my last season playing football, scoring that touchdown and having everyone run over to me felt pretty awesome.”
It, unfortunately, wasn’t over. Miranda still had a big role to play.
After Windham punted and Woodstock Academy turned the ball over on downs at the Windham 36-yard line, the Whippets had one last gasp.
Almodovarr, who completed only two passes in five attempts, found Enrique Garcia for an 18-yard pass to the 41 of Woodstock Academy and a roughing call moved the Whippets to the 26. But Windham went backwards from there and found itself with a fourth down play back at the 41.
Almodovarr stepped back and launched downfield for Garcia. Bedard fell down on the play and, for a moment, Garcia had a chance.
But Miranda came flying in, blocked Garcia’s vision and the ball hit off the receiver and fell to the ground.
Davis was up-and-down all game. He completed 12-of-21 passes for 131 yards.
“He made some mistakes (Saturday) as a sophomore quarterback that he will learn from, more than he did last week. But that’s what I love about him. I can coach him, I can rip him if I need to and he just continues to play ball,” Saucier said.
Davis made the play that sealed the win. On second and long with 2 ½ minutes to play, it looked like Davis would go down in the backfield.
He scrambled out of it, ran to his left, and somehow found Bedard at the Windham 10. On the next play, Savoie (16 carries, 39 yards) got the insurance touchdown. Woodstock Academy’s only win last season was a 41-6 victory over Amistad Academy.
Marc Allard
Director of Sports Information
The Woodstock Academy



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