BENNINGTON >> With a young, inexperienced group like the Mount Anthony football team is, there's sure to be some growing pains early in the season.
They experienced that against Middlebury in the season opener at Spinelli Field on Friday night as the Tigers took a lead into halftime and pulled out a 49-23 win.
The Patriots came out fired up after holding Middlebury to a 3-and-out on the first possession. Getting the ball back, Mount Anthony and quarterback Ryan O'Neill went on a 7-play, 46-yard drive with O'Neill going 4-of-5 passing and then scoring on a run from two yards out for a 7-0 lead.
O'Neill ran for 98 yards overall on 18 carries, while throwing for 231 yards on 15-of-34 passing, including two touchdowns and an interception.
Middlebury scored on the next possession, Spencer Carpenter running it in from eight yards out to make it 7-6. Middlebury scored the next two times they had the ball as well, the first a 15-yard touchdown passes from quarterback Andrew Gleason to Doug Delorenzo and the second a 10-yard TD run from Carpenter to make it 20-7 two plays into the second quarter.
O'Neill found Will Fischer on the next drive for a 31-yard touchdown pass to cut the lead to 20-13. Fischer had six catches for 117 yards and the score.
Trey Kaufmann made the Middlebury lead back up to 27-13 after a 2-yard TD run and O'Neill kicked a 37-yard field goal to go into the half at 27-16.
Middlebury started to impose its will in the third, with a touchdown on the first drive by Gleason and a safety and a punt return touchdown back-to-back to make it 42-16.
O'Neill finished the scoring for the Patriots with 3:55 left in the fourth on a 10-yard touchdown pass to Mickey Bernard.
The Patriots look for their first win next Friday when they travel to Essex, who were winners themselves on Friday over Colchester.
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