Club football’s final stretch

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Catamount club football made a strong statement in their welcoming of North Connecticut State to Vermont on Oct. 20, beating the small roster team 42-6. 

Four Catamounts contributed touchdowns to the win, with sophomore Jake Bielecki and junior Evan Amery each reaching the end zone twice. 

The game began with a 4-yard touchdown by Amery near the end of the first quarter, but was quickly answered by a North Connecticut touchdown. Connecticut failed to convert a 2-point play after the score, marking what would prove to be the start of their collapse. 

Bielecki found himself in the end zone twice in the second quarter, reeling in a 20-yard pass for one touchdown and taking a direct snap at the 10-yard line past the goal line for another six points. Sophomore Paolo Rossi didn’t miss an extra point on the day, kicking it through the posts on all six tries. 

The Cats’ defense, led by senior Mike McCormick, collected two interceptions on the day and returned a forced fumble on a sack for a touchdown in the second half, as the Cats were on their opposing quarterback. 

The game ended on a 2-yard touchdown run by Amery.

Amery said the team has struggled this season, but he has seen improvements and a hope for the playoffs to come.

“Our weakness this year has been our inability to put up some points when needed,” Amery said. “However, that has been a point of emphasis lately and we feel like our offense is starting to come around.”

Vermont sits at 3-2 on the season, suffering losses to rivals Southwestern Connecticut and Boston University earlier in the season. They will play one last regular season game at home against New Jersey, Oct. 28 at 1 p.m., before entering the playoffs.

The Catamounts lost in the Yankee Bowl Championship Game last season to Southwestern Connecticut, who defended their title from the previous year. While Vermont ranked in the top spot nationally at the end of last season, they currently sit in 11th on the Intercollegiate Club Football Federation’s top 35 national rankings.

If the Cats want to find themselves at the playoff finale this year, Amery said he knows what it will take.

“We will have to play well in all aspects of the game; we will need to improve and add in some new twists as well,” Amery said. “Every team is gunning for us because they know how good we can be, so we will need to play our best game from here on out.”

Amery said he thinks the Catamounts could find themselves in a similarly close game against Southwestern Connecticut as their 6-2 loss to the Grizzlies in last season’s championship game, but thatt hopefully they will come out on the other end.

“That championship will be one hard-fought game, and one big play will probably decide the champion,” he said.