Lakers hit .500, secure playoff spot

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Colchester players head upfield during the Lakers game against BFA-St. Albans. Colcheseter beat the visiting Comets 35-14, securing a spot in the D-I playoffs which begin on Friday.

Colchester players head upfield during the Lakers game against BFA-St. Albans. Colcheseter beat the visiting Comets 35-14, securing a spot in the D-I playoffs which begin on Friday.

With a playoff spot on the line in the rain Friday night, Colchester controlled both sides of the line of scrimmage and stormed past Bellows Free Academy 35-14.

Matt Hesford ran 28 times for 184 yards and two touchdowns, leading the Lakers as they compiled 321 total yards while holding BFA to just 169 and more than doubled the Bobwhites in every offensive category.

After the Bobwhites fumbled the ball away at their own 23-yard line on the second play of the game, the Lakers needed only two plays to grab an early lead. Hesford broke a run around left end to the BFA 10-yard before Alex O’Connell (5-for-11 passing, 63 yards, 2 touchdowns) found Bryaden Duggan all alone in the right corner of the end zone for a 7-0 lead just under two minutes into the game.

After a Bobwhite punt, the Lakers extended the lead to 13-0 on a fourth-down play from the BFA four-yard line when O’Connell squirted around right end for the touchdown with 5:37 left in the first quarter.

BFA showed some life late in the first quarter as Hunter Laroe (6-of-8, 68 yards) found Griffin Knapp with a nice shovel pass for a 1-yard touchdown with 1:13 left in the quarter to cut the lead to 13-7. Laroe, who also ran for 53 yards, set up the score when he kept the ball on fourth down and raced 34 yards down the left sideline to the Colchester one.

But six points was as close as Hesford and the Lakers would let BFA get. Hesford answered right back, finding a seam on the right side, breaking two tackles, and racing 47 yards to extend the lead to 21-7 just 12 second into the second quarter.

O’Connell finished off the Bobwhites when he found Robbie Davis all alone in the back corner of the end zone for a 12-yard touchdown pass to make it 28-7 seconds before halftime.

Hesford added 1-yard touchdown run for the Lakers, while BFA’s Nate Parady (9-30) finished the scoring on a 2-yard run.

Colchester (4-4) will play at No. 1 seed Hartford (7-1) in the Division I quarterfinals Friday night. BFA (2-6) will travel to Brattleboro (3-5) for a consolation game.