FAIR HAVEN — It’s been a long time since Poultney beat Fair Haven in football but all those years didn’t matter a whit Friday night.
The Blue Devils never trailed and were not seriously threatened by a Fair Haven team that never seemed to catch its stride. Poultney celebrated wildly a 20-7 victory on the Slaters’ Thomas E. LaPlaca Field.
Senior quarterback Caden Capman led the Division III Blue Devils, roaring to a game-high 189 yards on 30 carries, with a 6-yard touchdown as the icing on the cake.
Poultney’s ground game was punishing and productive, rolling up 285 yards with Capman the trigger man. Running backs Lucas DePell (17 carries, 73 yards) and Grant Schreiber (7 carries, 23 yards) supported him, each scoring a touchdown.
But the game plan crafted by Poultney head coach Dave Capman, Caden’s grandfather, was brilliant. The Devils ate huge chunks of clock mounting their scoring drives.
Meanwhile, the Poultney defense harried, stonewalled and frustrated the Slater offense, limiting Fair Haven to just one score and barely over 200 yards of offense from scrimmage. The Poultney defense was relentless in the pursuit of Slater QB Evan Reed, chasing him, sacking him and forcing him into bad throws. Reed was 12-for-24 for 101 yards, including a 2-yard TD toss to Aubrey Ramey and an interception by Capman in the end zone. Poultney’s Ryan Alt also forced a fumble and recovered it, stuffing another Slater drive.
Poultney converted its second possession into points when Capman crafted a 12-play, 70-yard drive that took 5:30 off the clock. DePell bulled over from the 4-yard line at 4:06 of the first quarter and with Alt’s PAT, the Blue Devils grabbed a 7-0 lead.
On the other sideline, Fair Haven coach Jim Hill exhorted his team to hang in and execute but Fair Haven was ineffective with the ball. The Slaters had only two first downs in their first four offensive series.
Penalties factored in with the hard charging Blue Devil defense as the Slaters were tagged with six infractions for 65 yards in the first half alone.
Conversely, the Blue Devils’ rushing attack moved steadily behind a hulking offensive line that opened holes and when things got jammed up pushed the pile forward for positive yardage. Capman was a magician with the ball, with deft handoffs and quick rollouts, he eluded tacklers with dancing feet and spin moves always moving forward.
Midway through the second period, the Blue Devils struck again, mounting a 54-yard drive that resulted in a Schreiber touchdown from 6 yards out. With the point after, Poultney increased its lead to 14-0 at 4:45 of the second.
Fair Haven finally answered putting together a 10-play series that covered 74 yards. Reed connected on five passes including a 2-yard scoring strike to Ramey with 1:01 remaining in the first half, slicing the lead to 14-7.
That’s as close as the Slaters came when more frustration reigned down on the Fair Haven offense. The Slaters managed just 67 yards of offense in the second half. Penalties again factored in (5 for 30 yards), a fumble deep in Poultney territory and of course the Poultney defense played a huge role in Fair Haven’s offensive demise.
The Blue Devils put the win away with a 94-yard march late in the fourth quarter. It took 12 plays and nearly six minutes off the clock. Capman’s 42-yard scamper on a QB keeper was the big play and Capman finished off the drive with a 6-yard dance into the end zone to finish off Fair Haven and prompt cheers and delirium from the big Poultney crowd.
The Blue Devils improve to 5-1, while the Slaters drop to 3-3.