BETHEL — The last game Telstar senior Devin Cole-Mason won in a Rebels football uniform was his freshman year, in 2016.

Telstar scrapped its varsity program that season and played junior varsity before returning to Class D in 2017. Cole-Mason was in the sixth grade in 2013, the last time the Rebels walked off a football field as the victors before Saturday’s dominating 36-0 win over Sacopee Valley in their eight-man football home debut.

“The key was just teamwork,” Cole-Mason said. “We really played together today. That’s what made it so good. We wanted it our first win and we got it.”

“It feels good to win again,” he added. “It really does.”

Telstar’s final records in 2014 and 2017 read 1-7, but both wins were the result of forfeits by Traip Academy. The 2013 win was also against Sacopee Valley, 12-6.

The Rebels (1-1) left little doubt Saturday, out-gaining the Hawks (0-2), 335 yards to 42. Led by Cole-Mason (two fumble recoveries), Telstar overwhelmed the Hawks with its size up front and swarmed to the ball, which was most often being carried by Sacopee senior QB Teagan Meggison (13 carries, minus-12 yards).

“The defense was staunch,” Telstar coach Tim O’Connor said. “It feels awesome. We’re definitely going to improve upon this going forward.”

Telstar physically overpowered Sacopee at the line of scrimmage on offense, too, running junior quarterback Davin Mason (15 carries, 59 yards, two TDs) and sophomore running back Brayden Stevens (16 carries, 125 yards, one TD running and receiving) behind their big line trio of Cole-Mason, fellow senior Jack Mallory and junior Matt Rice.

“A lot of the time we look for mismatches, so we try to keep it to the strong side of the field,” Mason said. “We’ve got big Matty over there, (number) 76, and we try to run behind him and Dev.”

Sacopee’s defense appeared up to the task in the early going, stopping the Rebels at its own 32 and 21 on their first two possessions. But the offense couldn’t shift field position out of Telstar’s favor, and Stevens finally found a lane around the right end for a 29-yard touchdown with 6:41 left in the first quarter. Mason’s two-point run made it 8-0.

“Starting out, the defense looked sharp. They started to get the edge on us and then they just started to play a little bit more physical than us,” Sacopee coach Steve Bridges said. “It’s tough when you don’t have an answer to physicality. We’ve just got to keep trying to get better.”

Fumbled snaps pestered the Hawks in the second quarter and cost them after Cole-Mason made his second fumble recovery at Sacopee’s 33. Two plays later, Mason found a mismatch he liked when Stevens lined up out wide right, beat single coverage down the sideline and completed a 30-yard touchdown pass. Another two-point run by Mason made it 16-0 with 1:15 to go in the half.

“We look for mismatches on the outside when we’re throwing, so we try to attack the shorter cornerbacks (or) slower ones and try to air it out,” Mason said.

The Rebels showed they could muster a long scoring drive on their initial possession of the second half. Ten of the 11 plays on the 63-yard march came on the ground, including a fourth-and-3 conversion by Stevens. Mason took it in from the 8-yard line for his first rushing touchdown and a 20-0 lead.

“We shoot ourselves in the foot a lot on offense and it’s tough on your defense when it’s grinding it out for those long, physical drives,” Bridges said. “It’s tough when you’re on the defensive side of the ball for most of the game.”

Mason added touchdown runs of 4 yards and 1 yard in the second half.

Sacopee crossed into Rebels territory (40-yard line) only once in the second half, and that was after recovering an onside kick by Telstar to start the half. Telstar allowed only four first downs in the game.

“We had trouble with our corners at Old Orchard (in a 44-28 Week 1 loss), so we made adjustments this week, a couple of personnel changes on defense,” O’Connor said.


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