By ANTHONY LABOR JR.
Messenger Sports

Bellows Free Academy put together one of its best complete games when it needed to Friday night, hosting Colchester at the Collins-Perley Sports Center. Needing wins in their final two games and help with other results to make the playoffs, the Bobwhites offense moved the ball and defense played well in a 20-13 win over the Lakers.

Costly mistakes hurt the Bobwhites early, with penalties and a fumble stalling three first-half drives. Instead of having a two- or three-score lead at halftime, it was tied at seven after penalties stalled two drives inside Colchester’s 25-yard line.

BFA handled the pressure from the Lakers well, racking up 276 yards of offense while limiting Colchester to 166. The offensive totals were trimmed by the strong defensive effort, which led to six of the BFA eight drives starting at or inside midfield.

“Colchester put some pressure on us, but I was impressed how we came out and drove down the field after they tied it up in the fourth quarter. We did a lot of good things on offense, moving the ball well. And I thought our defense was very good. Colchester has some very good athletes over there and we were able to bottle them up.”

The Lakers didn’t make things easy throughout the second half. After falling behind 13-7, CHS put together its best drive — a 15-play march that went 86 yards for a touchdown by Max Anderson (45 yards rushing) to make it 13-13 with nine minutes remaining.

The Bobwhites answered quickly. Starting in their territory, they put together a 10-play drive that went 65 yards. Needing inches to move the chains on fourth down at the Laker 13, Cooper Cioffi (18 carries, 105 yards) powered up the middle for the go-ahead touchdown with just five minutes to play. The defense held to get the ball back on downs, and BFA’s offense ran out the clock to keep the playoffs within reach.

The Bobwhites had scored on its second drive of the game on a 9-yard scamper from Nate Loughlin (48 yards rushing) to make it 7-0 early in the second quarter.

After BFA couldn’t extend the lead due to penalties and the fumble, Colchester finally found its groove on the last drive of the half. The Lakers charged 51 yards, scoring on an 8-yard pass from Llewey Powell to Bailey Olson to make it 7-7 into halftime.

“We just told the kids when they see the film we will all wonder how we weren’t down 21-0 early on,” said Colchester coach Tom Perry. “The resiliency of the defense was great out there and the offense made some plays when we needed them to make it a competitive game. This is a team that has a lot of character and they showed it out there today by not giving up when things weren’t going their way, and made it a pretty good game.”

BFA (3-4) retook the lead on Adam Forbes’ 24-yard touchdown run for a 13-7 score before the teams traded scores in the fourth quarter.

The Bobwhites had a big contribution on defense from Haven Zada, who was tasked with shutting down Olson. Colchester’s big-play threat accounted for 24 total yards in the game.

“We really challenged Haven this week, telling him he was going to be shadowing No. 11,” said Murray. “He did a nice job tonight limiting him out on the field tonight.”

Sitting in seventh place in the standings with a 4-3 record, the Lakers are still in playoff contention, and they hope to finish off their season with a win against a tough squad from Rice this weekend.

Photos by Josh Kaufmann, CVNG