Bulldogs fall short in shootout with Hilltoppers

Dan Mulroy
David Hutchison supplied St. Johnsbury's first six touchdowns in a star-making performance as the Hilltoppers rebounded from a nine-point deficit to pull out a 50-38 win over host Burr and Burton in Division I high school football on Friday night.
As expected, the clash of unbeaten powers with dynamic offenses delivered points aplenty with St. Johnsbury going to 6-0 with the inside path to the No. 1 seed in the postseason. 
BBA, which led 25-16 midway through the second quarter, falls to 5-1.
Hutchison, the bruising tight end/fullback, ran for three scores (20-, 45-, 33-) in a 21-carry, 175-yard performance. He also took three of his four catches to the end zone (27-, 32-, 9-) as well, finishing with 113 receiving yards.
St. Johnsbury quarterback Trey Alercio went 9-of-20 passing for 215 yards and three scores. Hunter Palmieri had five catches for 102 yards.
 
BBA star QB Joey McCoy finished the night 32-of-57 passing for 376 yards and three TDs. He also carried the ball 16 times for 89 yards and three scores. 
John Morgantini was again McCoy's top target, taking his nine catches 178 yards, including a pretty 60-yard score in the first quarter. Jack Morrison also had nine catches for 79 yards and two TDs.
My quick takeaways from the moments following the game on NSNsports.net: 
► David Hutchison's game-changing performance
It looked like the Hilltoppers figured out pretty early that the Bulldogs had a hard time handling the 6-foot-3, 265-pound Hutchison wherever he was — running the ball or catching it. He became the focal point for the offense after that and to devastating effect. His 45-yard catch-and-run on 2nd and 20 with less than five minutes to go, after scoring the six TDs, all but sealed the game.
► BBA's unrivaled downfield passing 
Both teams came in with vaunted offenses. But where the Hilltoppers appeared to adapt on the fly, going more run-heavy, the Bulldogs stuck to their bread-and-butter passing game. And, whoa, is it special. McCoy's ability to get the ball down the field accurately and the rapport he has with his receivers is as good as it gets.
► Slowwwwwww going
The first quarter took 48 minutes and saw a dozen possessions, setting the stage for an unusually slow high school football game. The first half lasted nearly 100 minutes total and the game didn't finish until nearly 10 p.m. (brisk games finish around 9).
► Miscues in dangerous locations sting BBA 
Let's get a fact out of the way: Burr and Burton left points on the board. Their final drive of the first half went deep into the red zone but ended with an interception near the goal line; in the fourth quarter they turned over on downs inside the St. Johnsbury 10. Most devastating, though: After St. Johnsbury grabbed the lead, 29-25, midway through the third quarter, BBA fumbled an awkward kickoff and Hutchison scored two plays later to create a 36-25 deficit.
►Hilltoppers dominate the second half
St. Johnsbury put up the first 20 points of the second half, part of a 27-7 run over a quarter and a half that gave them control for good. Whatever halftime tweaks they made to disrupt the Bulldogs' offense clearly paid off.
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