Assistant Sports Editor
BENNINGTON -- If 20 points could not keep the Vermont Ravens afloat, six points were nowhere near enough for the Monadnock Marauders.
The Southern Vermont Storm are on that kind of a tear.
Picking up where they left off a week earlier, the Storm erased an early deficit with 23 unanswered points to topple the Marauders, 23-6, in New England Football League play at Spinelli Field on Saturday night.
In picking up a third consecutive win, Southern Vermont (4-2) shut out Monadnock's misdirection-based, Wing-T attack in the second half and delivered timely, momentum-saving plays on offense, defense and special teams.
Since mustering a 21-0 fourth quarter run to beat the Ravens, 35-34, on Aug. 18, the Storm have outscored opponents 44-6.
"We're really starting to click on offense, figure out what we can and can't do," Storm coach Tighe Stratton said.
Running back Mike Woodson powered the charge with 171 yards on 16 carries that included an 80-yard touchdown romp in the third quarter that swung the game for the hosts. Southern Vermont finished with 220 yards on the ground.
"We took advantage of Mike Woodson, obviously that big, long run and just pounding with him," Stratton said. "He's just a big, tough kid that wants the ball every play and when he gets the ball he makes the most of it."
Monadnock jumped in front, 6-0, early in the second quarter as quarterback Teddy Knutsen hit 6-foot-5 wide receiver Josh Stagner on a cross route for a 26-yard TD. Knutsen found Stagner five times in the half for all of his 128 yards passing.
However the lead lasted all of 20 seconds.
On the next play from scrimmage, Storm quarterback Dennis Mailhot hit Mike Waters with a deep heave down the left sideline. Waters pivoted and cut back through three defenders to cap a 46-yard touchdown strike.
"They only had one safety and we have, I think, the best group of receivers in the league. [Against] one safety, we have to exploit that," Mailhot said.
"We were just picking on the one safety and making him choose. It makes it easier for me because I throw away from where he is."
The Storm snagged the lead, 13-6, on their next possession, with Mailhot tossing a 7-yard score to Danny Main.
Mailhot finished 6-of-17 passing for 95 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. He added 31 yards rushing on five carries.
"We're throwing it to the right spots," Mailhot said. "For the first time in a couple years the Storm are playing smart football. We're putting guys in the positions to succeed."
Snaring two of the Storm's three second-half interceptions, safety Geoff Silver keyed an effective, opportunistic defense. Southern Vermont clamped down on Monadnock after halftime, holding the visitors to 62 total yards of offense compared to 207 yards in the first two quarters.
And with 3:06 left in the third quarter, Woodson turned the corner and shot down the left sideline for his score and a 20-6 Southern Vermont lead.
Mike Dunham's 33-yard field goal with five minutes left in the fourth quarter was the ice, capping a clock-killing drive of nearly nine minutes for the final margin and plenty of momentum into the only off-week of the regular season.
"We've got a bye next week, which will help everyone get healthy going into the big game Sept. 8 [against the Middlesex Warlords] up in Manchester," Stratton said.