09142021 Mill River's Connor Lopiccolo Springfield Quarterback Sam Presch

Mill River’s Connor Lopiccolo chases after Springfield Quarterback Sam Presch during Friday night’s match up between the Cosmos and the Minutemen.

SPRINGFIELD, Vt. — After a tough opening week defeat at Woodstock, it took a little while for the Springfield football team to settle in Friday night against visiting Mill River.

But once they did, the Cosmos were completely dominant in a 26-0 victory at Brown Field.

How dominant? Midway through the first quarter, Mill River quarterback Owen Traynor found tight end Connor Lopiccolo on a 27-yard pass to convert a third-and-17 and appear to put the Minutemen in position for a long drive. Mill River would finish with zero total yards of offense the rest of the evening.

Traynor spent most of the game running in vain from the Springfield defense, finishing 6-of-10 passing for 35 yards and getting sacked four times. Mill River (0-2) had a woeful minus-8 rushing yards for the evening.

“That’s what we focused on this week was defense,” Springfield coach Todd Aiken said. “Our guys stepped up and played. We had to fight through some injuries and have some guys in different positions. They played hard, and we finally played our game. We like to hit and that’s what we tried to do.”

On the other side of the ball, the Cosmos (1-1) were stopped on their first offensive drive, but exploded for 20 points in the second quarter, sparked by a pair of touchdown runs from senior quarterback Sam Presch and a 46-yard touchdown run from Riley Ward. Mill River had just 4 yards of offense in the entire first half, minus-21 in the second quarter, which included two of those sacks.

“We knew last week we got punched in the mouth,” Presch said. “This week our big emphasis was we have to come out with energy and we have to strike first. Once we did that, it seemed like all the momentum went our way.”

Mill River’s defense was stingy in the second half, particularly against the pass, but it could manage just one first down after halftime (it had just two for the contest), and that was on the first play of the third quarter. Presch finally broke through with a 7-yard touchdown run with 5:49 remaining to cap a 10-play drive and finish the scoring.

In all, Springfield outgained Mill River 356-27, with 256 of those yards coming on the ground. Ward led the somewhat balanced rushing attack with 98 yards on 12 carries. Presch added 48 yards on nine attempts and was 8-of-18 passing for an even 100 yards.

“We knew they liked to throw the ball,” Aiken said. “We spent a lot of time prepping for that. We felt we had to get into the win column after a tough loss last week, and that’s what we did.”

With some momentum on their side, the Cosmos will take on rival Windsor next Friday at Brown Field.

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