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South Burlington shows off big-play ability

1:00 AM, Sep. 12, 2013 EDT

South Burlington quarterback Hunter Riehle (left), running back star Tanner Cantois and the rest of the Rebels have averaged 41.5 points through two games -- both wins. / GLENN RUSSELL/FREE PRESS


When asked if the team's offensive system is complex, senior lineman Paul Valgoi shook his head no and said it was rather simple.

"But I've also been doing it for three years," said Valgoi, a starting left tackle.

The same could be said for the majority of the South Burlington High School football team.

The senior-laden Rebels have marched out to a 2-0 record -- half their win total of a year ago -- behind a dangerous, hurry-up spread offense that is averaging 41.5 points per game.

An attack predicated on zone blocking and maximizing space for its skilled-position players, South Burlington's nucleus has returned with another year of seasoning in this high-octane attack.

"We didn't have to reboot. We've just continued where we left off," quarterback Hunter Riehle said. "We've been pretty explosive, which is pretty good to see."

At the center of the Rebels' flying start is Tanner Contois, a former wide receiver who took over as the starting running back at this time last year. After 218 total yards and three touchdowns in the season-opening win against Burlington, Contois ran wild against Colchester, racking up 343 rushing yards on 19 carries.

And the bulk of Contois' yardage has come on big plays -- touchdowns runs of 45, 64 and 50 lit up the Lakers; a 56-yarder on a bubble-screen catch served as a game-changer in Week 1.

"A lot of has to do with (Contois) reading us. We are taught to keep our shoulders square and he makes the cuts," Valgoi said. "We stay on our blocks and he does the rest -- zigs and zags into the end zone."

The Rebels' weapons extend to a receiving group that includes Max Smith, Cam Nolting and Jeremy Clements. Riehle also threw for 264 yards in the opener and has tossed five touchdowns to four receivers through two games.

"We just take what the defense gives us," Riehle said. "We have a lot of guys with a lot of speed. Find the grass, get it there and let them go to work."

On the ground or through the air, it doesn't matter to Valgoi.

"We stick with what works. If (Contois) is running for 343 yards, we'll put the ball in his hands," Valgoi said. "Whatever marches us down the field. I don't care how we do it as long as we are in the end zone."

The fast start has pleased coach Joe McDonald. But it's only Week 3, the longtime coach warned.

"Our line has been doing a good job with the schemes we are running and I'm happy with what they have accomplished so far," McDonald said. "We can be better that's for sure ... but being 2-0 is fine. We'll take it."

South Burlington heads to Brattleboro (1-1) on Saturday for a 7 p.m. start.



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