Centaurs fall in finale
Like the majority of fall sports teams this time of year, The Woodstock Academy football team saw its season come to a close last Wednesday.
The Centaurs traveled to Madison and suffered a 35-10 loss to the Old Saybrook/Westbrook cooperative.
Woodstock Academy finished 1-9.
“It wasn’t all doom-and-gloom,” coach Sean Saucier said. “There were some positives.”
The biggest of those being what happened on the sub-varsity level.
The Centaurs froshmore team finished with a 6-2 mark.
“We have a lot of talent at that level and I’m excited about seei ng them develop,” Saucier said. “The numbers were good and the majority of those who came to work out in the summer were the younger players. I just hope they understand the commitment that is needed for us to have success in the future.”
The Centaurs did have some fun in the third quarter against the Rams.
Old Saybrook fumbled on its own 5-yard line following a nice punt by Damian Bonneau-Nichols which traveled 64 yards.
One play later, Nick Bedard (5 carries, 47 yards) took it into the end zone for the Centaurs first touchdown since Oct. 26.
After Old Saybrook was forced to punt, the Centaurs took over on their own 44 and drove to the Old Saybrook seven.
The drive stalled, but Bonneau-Nichols delivered again, coming through with a 25-yard field goal.
“You don’t talk about your kicker often, but he was tremendous on a very cold day. He worked all summer on his own, about an hour or two a day, and it’s been paying off,” Saucier said.
The 10 points came a little too late.
They dug themselves a hole early.
The Centaurs fumbled at their own 41-yard line on the first series and the Rams drove to the Centaurs 2-yard line.
But it looked like Woodstock Academy missed a bullet when Old Saybrook fumbled.
Unfortunately, a fumbled snap gave the ball back to the Rams two plays later at the Woodstock Academy 6-yard line and Old Saybrook scored on the next play.
The Centaurs gave up six more on a pick-6 and Old Saybrook added an 18-yard touchdown pass to end the first quarter with a 21-0 lead.
Another 24-yard touchdown toss just before the half put the Rams up, 28-0.
Jaden Dennett added five carries for 15 yards.
Sophomore Gavin Savoie led the team in rushing this season with 348 yards, two more than Bedard who needed only 38 attempts to finish with 346.
Quarterback Derek Thompson was 3-for-7 passing for 73 yards.
Thompson completed 54 percent on his passes this season, 88-for-162, for 971 yards and seven touchdowns.
Early turnovers spell doom
The Centaurs turned over the ball on their first two possessions against Cromwell-Portland Saturday.
The Panthers turned those into 14 quick points and rolled to a 41-0 win over the Centaurs.
The loss dropped the Centaurs to 1-8.
Woodstock Academy finishes its season with a game against the Old Saybrook-Westbrook cooperative program at 3 p.m. Wednesday in Madison.
Gavin Savoie paced the Centaurs 10 carries for 70 yards.
Jaden Dennett added 35 yards in ruishing while Nick Bedard compiled 30.
Derek Thompson was 6-for-12 passing for 45 yards.
Barbosa Torres too much for Centaurs
Natanael Barbosa Torres is the all-time leading rusher at Windham High School.
He has gained over 4,000 yards in his high school career.
The Woodstock Academy Centaurs found out how he has accomplished that on Thursday.
Barbosa Torres ran over the Centaurs, gaining 245 yards in 13 carries and scoring five times to lead the Whippets to a 47-0 victory.
“He is a talented runner,” Woodstock Academy coach Sean Saucier said of the Windham senior. “We knew he was big and strong and we saw how fast he was too. He created some problems for us.”
The Centaurs (1-7) didn’t need any more problems.
They went into the contest shorthanded, missing two starting offensive linemen and two defensive backs for various reasons.
“We put some kids in there that had to step up and they did what they could,” Saucier said.
The Whippets scored on all but one of their possessions in the first half.
Barbosa showed off his strength when he scored on short runs of 3 and 2 yards in the first quarter to give the Whippets a 12-0 lead.
His speed was on display in the second quarter when he added touchdowns of 24, 76, and 32 yards. On the 76-yard rumble, Barbosa Torres outran Woodstock Academy’s Nick Bedard, one of the fastest Centaurs on the field.
Issiah English (6 carries, 101 yards) had the other first half touchdown on a 62-yard gallop late in the second quarter.
Barbosa finished up the scoring for Windham (5-2) with a 20-yard touchdown in the third quarter.
It was the third win in a row for the Whippets.
The Centaurs didn’t get out of their end of the field in the first half and had only 38 yards rushing.
That changed a little in the second half when the Centaurs did get into Windham territory on a 25-yard pass from Derek Thompson (6-for-14 passing, 43 yards) to Caleb Feen that accounted for 43 yards.
The Centaurs were forced to punt but pinned the Whippets inside their own 10.
Windham couldn’t escape and a shanked punt gave the Centaurs the ball on the Windham 10.
Woodstock Academy got down to the 1-yard line, but on 4th-and-goal, Thompson was stopped by the Windham defense on the quarterback sneak.
“I thought Derek was going to get it in there, he was close,” Saucier said. “There were a couple of sparks in the second half that I appreciated, but overall, we didn’t have it.”
The Centaurs play their final home game of the season at 1 p.m. Saturday against the Cromwell-Portland cooperative at the Bentley Athletic Complex.
Cromwell-Portland comes in with a 7-1 record.
“They’re having a great season. We’re studying their film, take a look at it, come up with a game plan and you never know. It’s Senior Day so we’re trying to make this the best week possible for the seniors,” Saucier said.
Centaurs nipped by Warriors
Twice the Woodstock Academy football team was within the 5-yard line of the Canton Warriors on Friday night.
Twice it was denied.
“We were able to move the ball up-and-down the field, but our execution in the red zone hurt us,” Centaurs coach Sean Saucier said.
The first of those possessions ended in a fumble, the second with a penalty that resulted in a missed field goal and the Centaurs lost to Canton, 18-16.
The weather played a role in the game.
A major rain and wind event was accurately predicted for Saturday which was when the game was originally scheduled for at the Bentley Athletic Complex in Woodstock.
Neither team want to play in the foul conditions that had been predicted, but Canton said it was unwilling to make a trip to Woodstock for a Sunday game.
Since Canton has a lighted field, it offered to host on Friday night.
“We were 90 percent prepped, maybe not 100, but it really wasn’t that drastic a move. It was a beautiful playing surface, the conditions were great. It was just a long bus ride after a school day,” Saucier said.
Still, the Centaurs (1-6) got on the board on the sixth play of the game.
Junior Ian Welz intercepted a Dugan Lloyd pass on the Canton 32-yard line and had no one between him and the Canton end zone. The pick-6 became eight points when Nick Bedard took the snap on a fake extra-point kick and passed to Travis White for the 8-0 lead.
Woodstock Academy had chances to make it a two-touchdown lead on its first two offensive possessions.
It took over on the Canton 28-yard line after the Warriors failed to move the ball, but a holding call quickly moved the Centaurs back and they turned the ball over on downs at the Canton 36.
The Warriors (1-6) gave the ball back, on downs, when their drive stalled at the Woodstock Academy 46.
The Centaurs got inside the red zone on a 13-yard Derek Thompson (6-for-9, 132 yards) to Luis Miranda pass, a Gavin Savoie (9 carries, 58 yards) 11-yard run and a Jaden Dennett 8-yard carry to the Canton 2-yard line. A fumble, recovered by Canton, ended the threat.
The Warriors put together another 15-play drive, but remained eight points behind when they turned the ball over on downs at the Centaurs 14.
Savoie had two straight carries that gave Woodstock Academy a little breathing room at its own 33. That allowed Thompson to drop back and throw and he found White on a short 5-yard completion that was turned into a 68-yard touchdown by White who broke a tackle and outran Canton’s Max Klinkert to the end zone for a 16-0 lead.
The Warriors took a little momentum back when Lloyd (15 carries, 111 yards) dropped back to pass but saw a lane to the left. He ran instead and no one touched him before he reached the end zone to cut Woodstock Academy’s lead to 10, 16-6, at the half.
The Centaurs may have had the lead, but they were also hurting.
Defensive end and offensive tackle Nate Price was lost in the first half to a sprained ankle. Savoie carried twice early in the second half, but had to leave the game when he aggravated a shin injury and Welz was also banged up and limited.
That left the task of running the football to quarterback Nick Bedard.
Bedard took over for Thompson and on the first play from scrimmage, tucked and ran for 44 yards to the Canton 35-yard line.
Six plays later, Bedard looked like he had punched it in from eight yards out, but a holding penalty backed the Centaurs up and Damian Bonneau-Nichols later missed wide left on a 29-yard field goal attempt.
Canton quickly moved the ball down the field, getting to the 39-yard line on a 24-yard rush by Nate Biega (10 carries, 85 yards). Two plays later, Biega busted one for a 33-yard score to reduce the Centaurs’ lead to four.
Canton got the game winner early in the fourth quarter when Lloyd (9-for-24, 169 yards) found Colin Mackin open on a crossing route, the Centaur defender fell and Mackin went 69 yards for the score.
It doesn’t get any easier for the Centaurs at 6:30 p.m. on Friday.
They travel to Willimantic to play their only Eastern Connecticut Conference opponent this season, Windham.
“It’s a difficult task,” Saucier agreed. “It’s a short week. We’re going to do our best to prep and get as healthy as possible.”