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Burgard at height of its game in taking down Riverside

There was a small contingent of fans at All High Stadium that couldn't resist the urge to scream "Chauncey" whenever Burgard senior linebacker Chauncey Tall made a big play.

They chanted his name a lot Saturday, but their loudest screams came when Tall made the momentum-swinging plays that put the Bulldogs in position to beat the defending Harvard Cup champions.

Tall recovered a fumble he caused to spark a 13-point second quarter, and then put Riverside in further trouble with a huge run off a razzle-dazzle play in the fourth quarter during Burgard's 13-12 triumph before an estimated 700.

As huge as Tall's 22-yard run off a reverse with 6:24 left proved to be since it milked the clock after the Frontiers had pulled within a point, his alert reaction to a backward screen pass attempt with 7:19 left in the second quarter gave the Bulldogs reason to believe they could end Riverside's 10-game league winning streak.

At the time of the turnover, the Frontiers led, 6-0, and had just gotten the ball back by forcing a three-and-out after Burgard had a drive start at the Riverside 37 courtesy of Shamari Cheney's 57-yard kick return. The Bulldogs' lost opportunity had the potential to be even more demoralizing following a 5-yard punt.

Tall squashed any doom-and-gloom feelings by stepping in between quarterback David Drayton and his intended receiver after rushing in off right end. The pass bounced off Tall, who recovered the ball at Riverside's 19. Five plays later, Darren Sanders scored on a 1-yard quarterback keeper after keeping the drive alive with a 17-yard third-down completion to Lyndon White. Amir Shanks drilled the extra point to give the Bulldogs the lead for good.

"We practiced for the screen all week so I just stayed in my position, didn't rush in and knocked the ball down," said Tall, who finished with a team-high eight tackles and two sacks. "We just really needed some type of hope. We needed something that could make us get that boost to go do what we had to do, and we came out winners."

"The little things, like knocking that ball down, those are game-changers," winning coach Jason Kolb said. "Those are what we call sudden changes. We practice those during the year to make sure we come out and get a first down after a sudden change or turnover. We get a big play here and there, it can really be devastating to a team and really keep the edge up where we can stay on top."

That it did as the Bulldogs scored on their next possession when Sanders threw a 10-yard TD to Assante Huggins (two catches, 34 yards) with 34 seconds left in the half.

Riverside pulled within a point on Terrell Bolden's 20-yard run with 6:34 left, but the Frontiers' quest to take the lead on the conversion run came up empty when Eddie Sanders (eight tackles) and a host of Bulldogs stopped Dan Dotty for no gain.

That was just one of many fine defensive plays made by each team. Burgard held Riverside to 140 yards in offense. The Frontiers limited their foes to just 90, with Jordan Morris leading the way with nine tackles and 1 1/2 sacks.

The difference -- Burgard made game-changing plays when it mattered, while Riverside hurt itself with six drive-killing offensive penalties.

"Everybody messes up their first game but we're going to come back and move on from everything," Frontiers running back Tremaine Alls said.

e-mail: mrodriguez@buffnews.com

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