Perhaps a tad jittery for the season-opening game in their Division I debut, quarterback Joey McCoy and Burr and Burton misfired on their first series and went three-and-out.
"We kind of came in a little nervous, a little uneasy and we didn’t know how we are going to fit in," McCoy said.
The reigning D-II champions, however, didn't take long to find their groove.
Behind McCoy's 244-yard passing effort and four total touchdowns, Burr and Burton struck for a trio of scores over a four-possession span in the first half in their 35-7 victory over Burlington-South Burlington on Friday night at Buck Hard Field.
New division, same result — a comfortable triumph — for the newly minted D-I Bulldogs.
"Any time you can beat any team by a decent margin, I think that you feel very fortunate," said BBA coach Tom McCoy, the father of Joey. "But I think it all comes down to preparation and the work you do in the offseason and getting the kids ready and dialed in."
McCoy who finished 13 of 23 passing, rushed on QB sneaks for the game's first two TDs and also dialed up TD strikes to favorite target John Morgantini (7 catches, 131 yards) and William Moore (4-89).
The SeaWolves avoided the shutout during running time in the fourth quarter, quarterback Bassiru Diawara tossing a 20-yard score to Javen Sears in the closing minutes. It was the SeaWolves' third longest play from scrimmage on the night.
"He’s pretty good and definitely a legit player and he’s got some players around him," SeaWolves coach Joe McDonald said of Joey McCoy. "They are a good team. They are one of the better teams, as far as I’m concerned, in the state."
My three thoughts from Friday night:McCoy-Morgantini duo light it up
Driving for their second score but saddled with a third-and-15 from the BHS-SB's 29-yard line, McCoy and Morgantini hooked up for 27 yards on a long-developing route to move the chains.
McCoy then plunged ahead for his second TD rush and 14-0 lead less than 3 minutes into the second quarter.
The senior duo set up another BBA score, its third of the half — Logan Morgan from 2 yards out — when McCoy dropped back to survey the field before uncorking a rainbow to Morgantini, who rose for the leaping grab inside the SeaWolves' 5.
Morgantini also found the end zone halfway through the fourth quarter, on a 17-yard crossing pattern, to balloon the margin to 35-0.
"We have that connection already," McCoy said of a long-standing rapport with Morgantini. "I know where he’s going to be and I just have to place it there."
Morgan added a team-high 57 rushing yards. Moore hauled in a 7-yard screen pass in the flat for his TD in the third frame.BBA defense corrals BHS-SB attack
Stuffing the interior with linemen and racing to the edges and perimeter with fast linebackers, BBA shut off most of the rushing lanes for the SeaWolves. Diawara, in his first year under center, ran for 23 yards on seven carries while Kai Schmidt went for 35 yards on 14 rushes.
It wasn't until late in the fourth quarter when the SeaWolves broke a run of more than 11 yards — Benoit Camden dashed 56 yards to set up his team's lone TD.
The SeaWolves finished with 180 yards from scrimmage, 52 coming through the air.
"We don’t do anything fancy. We teach the kids to do their jobs and be role players," coach McCoy said. "We try and keep it simple and the kids gave an outstanding performance on defense."
Mistakes hurt SeaWolves' chances
Unable to sustain drives wasn't the SeaWolves' No. 1 issue Friday night.
From a short punt on its first possession that led to BBA striking quickly to a rash of pre-snap penalties and missed assignments, BHS-SB showed its inexperience.
"We had some mental mistakes and had a bunch of young guys playing on the field," McDonald said. "Compared to last year, it’s just a totally different feel because we have a lot of young guys playing. We have a lot of holes to fill and we need to figure them out. We’ll get better."
Even the rare BBA mistake didn't work in the SeaWolves' favor.
McCoy fumbled the snap on an extra point after BBA's fourth down, but scrambled to find Morgan for the two-point conversion. Then after a high snap on a punt, McCoy's kick was mishandled the SeaWolves, BBA then recovered and continued its march down the field for another TD.
"That’s just kids being athletes and sometimes it’s just luck and the ball rolls your way or sometimes it doesn’t," coach McCoy said. "And the few times tonight, they rolled our way for us."
Become a member of the Vermont Varsity Insider Facebook group at https://bit.ly/2MGSfvX.
Contact Alex Abrami at 660-1848 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @aabrami5.