The Division III football championship game to be played this Saturday morning at Castleton State College will definitely have a Connecticut Valley flavor to it.
The Bellows Falls Terriers and the Windsor Yellowjackets, two rivals with a long history between them, will face off in the title game at 11 a.m.
Top-seeded Bellows Falls punched its ticket to the championship with a dominating 33-8 win over the Oxbow Olympians at Hadley Field on Saturday, while No. 2 Windsor advanced with a 55-28 demolition of BFA-Fairfax at McLeay-Royce Field.
Defense carried the day for the Terriers, as the first-string held Oxbow scoreless while allowing just 65 yards rushing on 37 carries. Oxbow got its only touchdown late in the game against the BF reserves. BF racked up 357 yards of total offense as senior running back Ryan Hayward ran for 118 yards on 13 carries.
Hayward made his presence known on the game’s first play from scrimmage, as he slipped a tackle at the line and rumbled 58 yards for a BF touchdown. That was the only points for the Terriers until early in the third quarter, when quarterback Jeremy Kilburn faked a handoff to Hayward, then fired a 66-yard touchdown pass to a wide open Brendan Hackett.
The defense then got into the act as lineman Tyler Francoeur stripped an Oxbow ball carrier and returned the fumble 45 yards for a touchdown. Kilburn threw another touchdown pass, a 38-yarder to Cam Howe, and Cooper Long finished the BF scoring with a 45-yard touchdown.
BF won its regular season game against Windsor, 20-0, on Oct. 9 at McLeay-Royce Field. The BF defense will likely be keying on Yellowjackets back Matt Rafus, who racked up 437 total yards and scored six touchdowns against BFA-Fairfax.
Rebels have to wait
The top-seeded Leland & Gray Rebels were to face No. 6 BFA-Fairfax Bullets for the Division III boys soccer championship on Saturday. But bad weather forced the match to be postponed until Tuesday night at 6. It will be played on the artificial turf of Castleton State College.
The Rebels will be counting on their dynamic duo of Noah Chapin and Colin Nystrom. Chapin, a striker, has led the team in scoring with 21 goals, while Nystrom, a midfielder, has 11. Goalkeeper Jared Van Osdol has been solid all season and the defense, led by stopper Josh Fontaine and defensive backs Billy Nupp, Zach Wilkins and Bobby Culver, hope to shut down the Bullets.
If BFA-Fairfax wins this game, history will be made. Katie Mack coaches the team, and according to the Burlington Free Press, if the Bullets win, she would be the first female coach to lead a boys team to a state championship.
Mack is believed to be the first female coach of a boys soccer team in Vermont. She has been a social studies teacher at BFA-Fairfax for five years and has coached the boys soccer team for the last three seasons.
Green Mountain also had to wait too. The Chieftains are scheduled to play Stowe on Wednesday for the Division III girls soccer championship. It’s the first ever trip to the finals for the Green Mountain girls.
Nine other state championship games did get played on Saturday, however.
In the state field hockey finals at the University of Vermont, South Burlington beat Hartford 2-0 to win the Division I title. Harwood beat Otter Valley, 3-1, to take the Division II championship. Rice won 3-1 on penalty strokes to break a 1-1 tie and beat Missisquoi to win the Division III crown.
The two teams that knocked Brattleboro out of the Division I soccer tournaments ended up as state champs. South Burlington beat Colchester, 2-1, to win the girls title, while Essex beat South Burlington, 2-0, for the boys championship.
In Division II, Missisquoi won the boys soccer title with a 3-1 win over U-32, while Harwood beat Milton, 1-0, to take the girls championship.
In Division IV, Rivendell beat Arlington on penalty kicks to take the girls championship, while Danville edged Proctor, 1-0, for the boys title.