Once Hampshire got out of its own way, the Whip-Purs looked pretty good.
Nick Mohlman completed 13 straight passes at one point, including a touchdown to Xavier Bennett, and Jake Manning ran for 2 scores as the Whip-Purs downed rival Burlington Central, 28-18, in Hampshire Saturday morning.
Hampshire got off to a shaky start, having 2 touchdowns called back by holding penalties and giving up a couple of big plays to the Rockets in a game that was suspended by lightning Friday and completed Saturday. But the Whips bounced back, scoring 3 times in the second half to get the Mike Brasile era off to a good start.
Brasile took over as the Hampshire coach, replacing Dan Cavanaugh, who retired after 25 years at the helm.
"When we're up against a tough situation, I've got faith that our kids are responding and pull together to get the job done," said Brasile.
Central struck quickly on Friday. On the Rockets' second play, tailback Trevor Davison completed a 72-yard pass to Ryan Anderson down to the Hampshire 2. On the next play, Jason Berango took it over.
Hampshire appeared to tie it up, but Mohlman's touchdown was called back and, after a bizarre sequence, Hampshire ended up turning it over on downs from the 46-yard line.
Shortly thereafter, lightning held up the game and the call was made to suspend it until Saturday.
When things resumed it was more of the same: another big play for the Rockets -- this time a 48-yard run by Davison -- -and another TD called back for Hampshire.
The Whips finally turned things around with a big play of their own. Facing second-and-33, Mohlman completed a short sideline route to Bennett, who slipped a tackle and turned it into a 50-yard scoring play.
Central regained the lead before halftime on Berango's second TD, but Hampshire went ahead for good with a pair of third-quarter scores.
Manning opened the second half by returning the kickoff 31 yards, setting up the Whips in good field position. Three plays later he raced around right end for a 30-yard score. Late in the period, Mohlman took it in himself to make it 21-12.
Mohlman thought the delay might actually have helped Hampshire.
"We didn't have the same jitters that we had going into (Friday) night," he said. "We still had a couple of kinks to work out because no matter how much you practice, a game situation's always a little bit different. We're happy with how we responded and definitely happy with the final result."
Central kept things close with a 12-yard pass from Rob Doubek to Brenden Bushy in the fourth quarter, but Manning's second TD, from 24 yards out, kept the Whips safely in front.
Mohlman missed his first 3 passes, then completed 13 in a row before missing his final attempt. He finished 13 of 17 for 195 yards. Mason Fleury added 106 yards on the ground in 20 carries and Manning finished with 72 rushing yards. Bennett caught 6 passes for 93 yards.
For the Rockets, Doubek completed 11 of 24 for 146 yards, but was picked off twice by Bennett. Davison added 53 yards on the ground before leaving with an injury in the second quarter.
"It came down to the basics of blocking and tackling," said Central coach Rich Crabel. "We'd play hard on a couple of downs, then give up a big play in a crucial situation."