Bacon Academy Rallies to Defeat RHAM in Thanksgiving Game

HEBRON-It was a tale of two half’s for RHAM in their annual Thanksgiving matchup with Bacon Academy-Colchester. In the first half, RHAM slowed down Bacon’s vaunted passing attack and ran the ball very well, jumping out to a 14-0 lead. In the second half, the Bobcats offense came alive, while the Sachems offense could not generate any big plays.
Bacon scored three touchdowns in the second half while holding RHAM scoreless to earn a 20-14 road victory.

Peter Kazibwe helped the Bobcats cut the Sachems lead to 14-12 at the end of the third quarter with two rushing touchdowns. Bacon completed its comeback when quarterback Sean Kelly threw a touchdown to Brandon Anderson early in the fourth. The Bobcats sealed the victory by intercepting Ben Hass on RHAM’s final drive.

“That first touchdown gave them momentum,” Sachems coach Tom Hammon said. “If we had stopped them there, the game might have ended differently. From there, they showed it down our throats.”

RHAM finished 3-8, while Bacon finished 6-5.

The Sachems played well in the first half. Senior Jared Eaton was the key to the offense’s success. With the help of the offensive line, he ran for a number of big plays, including both touchdowns.

On RHAM’s third drive of the game, the offensive line sprung Eaton free for a 42-yard run to the outside. Eaton scored two plays later when he pounded it in from 4 yards out, giving the Sachems a 6-0 lead with 2:52 remaining in the first.

The Sachems added to their lead just over a minute into the second when Eaton scored his second touchdown. Eaton’s run was set up by a bomb from quarterback Jake Filthaut to Adam Arnold. The pass caught Bacon off guard and sent the ball from midfield to the 8-yard line.

Throughout the first half, RHAM’s defense shut down the Bobcats when it mattered most, stopping Bacon three times inside the Sachems 30. It was especially good against the pass. Its tight coverage forced Kelly into difficult passes that were either broken up or dropped. On the Bobcats opening drive of the game, Ryan Howard broke up a Kelly pass on fourth down inside the 20, and on Bacon’s following drive, RHAM forced a drop by Paul Chasse. It stopped one more long second quarter drive inside the 10, highlighted by Tristan Allen breaking up a pass at the goal line.

After so many highlights, the first half ended on a low note when Eaton was injured on his final run. His removal from the game was a huge turning point on offense and defense, where Eaton plays safety.

“Jared was a big loss,” Hammon said. “He had no mobility after injuring his ankle. We weren’t able to throw the football once he left, and they took advantage of him not being at safety.”
In the second half, Bacon’s offense looked much more dynamic. The Bobcats scored on their opening drive when Peter Kazibwe ran it in from five yards out. Kazibwe rushed for a second TD with 3:20 remaining in the third, this for seven yards. RHAM was able to maintain a two point advantage entering the fourth due to Bacon failing on its conversion attempts.

Throughout the second half, the Bobcats relied a highly efficient mix of downfield passing and power running. RHAM was unable to contain the Bacon receivers, who did a better job of getting off the line, and struggled to contain the athletic Kazibwe. Hammon praised Kazibwe’s play.

“He was a difference maker. He was a big concern and we could not contain him, probably due to some mental letdowns.”

The Bobcats took the lead for good just into the fourth when Anderson caught a 3-yard touchdown.

“The problem on defense wasn’t our tactics or scheme,” Hammon said. “We just didn’t do what we were instructed.”

While Bacon was building its 20-14 lead, RHAM’s run game was silenced and Filthaut struggled with his accuracy. The Sachems were unable to generate any long drives in the second half. They failed to take advantage of the defense’s improved fourth quarter play, including a Bacon fumble with 1:20 remaining.

Hammon said that he was pleased with the season overall.

“I’m proud of these kids,” he said. “We probably play the toughest schedule and have a small roster, and they fought very hard. I’m especially proud of the win against E.O. Smith. They were probably athletically superior, but we had a better scheme. That was a great game for our players.”

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