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    Sunday, May 19, 2024

    1-0 a thing of beauty for Bacon Academy football team

    Colchester — In some programs, establishing a 1-0 record is sort of like a Holiday Inn on the path to the next objective, a brief pause to refresh before the work begins anew.

    But when you have not been 1-0 since 2015 — and haven’t won a game on your home field in four years — a 1-0 record, is well … the words of some Bacon Academy kids:

    “I’ve never known what this feels like,” junior lineman A.J. O’Neill said.

    “One of the great experiences ever,” senior Brady Gould said. “A lot of down days here. But to be 1-0 with these guys … we’ve worked so damn hard for this. It started just after the new year.”

    Bacon’s 1-0 record came courtesy of a 21-0 win over Bethel on Saturday, the Bobcats not only enduring the searing heat, but pitching a shutout as well in the Connecticut Football Alliance matchup between Eastern Connecticut Conference and South-West Conference programs.

    Bacon’s defense forced three turnovers and stopped Bethel on fourth down three times.

    The first turnover — Julian Rodegher’s forced fumble that Gould recovered — led to Gould’s 9-yard touchdown run that gave the Bobcats a 7-0 lead. The Bobcats, 1-9 a season ago, didn’t play with the lead often.

    “The first day of practice, I showed the kids the Nebraska-Oklahoma game from 1971,” Bacon coach Bill Chaffin said. “I told them to watch the offensive line and the way they fired off the ball. I said, ‘I want you to look like that.’”

    Bacon amassed more than 200 rushing yards, led by 78 from Brett Guntulis, 70 from Rodegher and 65 from Gould.

    “The left side of our line with P.J. Walsh and Kevin Claffey,” Gould said, “you could have driven a bus through there.”

    The Bobcats led 7-0 until late in the first half when they held Bethel on downs at the Bacon 29 with 1:08 remaining. It was here Bacon delivered the news that things would be different this season: 71 yards in two plays.

    Guntulis gained 11 before Bacon got 15 more from a personal foul. And then Guntulis went 44 yards for a score, making it 14-0.

    Gould scored on Bacon’s first possession of the second half to make it 21-0.

    Dan Zurita’s interception stymied a Bethel drive deep inside Bacon territory and the Bobcats eventually ran out the clock.

    “This began in the weight room,” Chaffin said. “Most of our 35 guys were in the weight room since January.”

    m.dimauro@theday.com

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