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Cosmos crunch Oxbow

  • Cooper Simmons

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 9/7/2019 10:12:40 PM
Modified: 9/7/2019 10:12:38 PM

BRADFORD, Vt. — Cooper Simmons slammed his hand down on the metal bench, and the ting echoed down the sidelines.

Oxbow High football had a promising start on Saturday afternoon; the Olympians dominated the first quarter, highlighted by Simmons’ 40-yard touchdown pass on his first attempt of the game. But a first quarter of excitement turned into three quarters of struggle against visiting Springfield.

Simmons finished 9-of-26 for 263 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions in Oxbow’s 60-26 loss to the Cosmos at Oxbow High School.

“He’s a leader out there. He knows the playbook inside and out,” said Oxbow coach Chad Wescott. “He probably knows the playbook better than some of the coaches do. He knows where his receivers are supposed to be, everybody’s job. He’s a very smart quarterback.”

Springfield rushed for 256 yards, but it was the ability of sophomore quarterback Sam Presch to make plays in late-down situations that caused back-breaking problems for the O’s.

On fourth-and-11 at the Oxbow 21-yard line with four minutes to go in the second quarter, Springfield opted not to kick. Presch hit running back Brady Clark on a crossing pattern to make it 20-14, and the Cosmos never lost the lead.

But the biggest hurt Presch put on the O’s came with 4:12 to play in the third quarter. On third-and-10 from Springfield’s 14, Presch found an open Jake Stepler streaking down the sidelines and hit him for an 86-yard touchdown pass to give the Cosmos a 42-20 lead.

Presch finished 9-of-15 with three touchdowns for 197 yards and consistently caused havoc on Oxbow.

“We definitely didn’t tackle the way we practiced this week,” Wescott said of his secondary. “We knew we were going to have to get physical and try to get these guys down around the waist and low to keep them off from getting down the field. They threw a couple things at us that were a little bit different than what we had seen on film. The communication was a little bit lacking.”

In 2017, the O’s had to forfeit their varsity schedule mid-season due to injuries and a shortage of able players. Last season they finished 2-7, were forced to forfeit a late-season game to Poultney and lost coach Jason Marsh abruptly when he took a job in Alabama. In mid-July, Wescott was appointed as Oxbow’s coach.

Since then, he’s worked hard to get the program on some solid footing. Step one was accomplished last week when the O’s defeated Mt. Abraham, 40-14, for a season-opening win.

He knows there will always be the worry about player availability, such as Saturday when Oxbow dressed just 20 athletes with many playing both ways.

Still, Wescott believes Saturday wasn’t a setback. If anything, it was another step forward that the O’s can build upon next week at Woodstock.

“We plan on competing every game,” he said. “I mean, this is a loss. But we’re going to move forward, we’re going to continue to grow.”

Pete Nakos can be reached at or 603-722-8774.

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