The Windsor-Bellows Falls game is one of the highlights of the high school football season for both schools.
The teams play for the Dale Perkins Trophy, named in honor of a former coach at both schools. Last year, these two teams faced each other for the Division III state championship. The game is usually well-attended, which makes a big difference for the athletic budgets for these two small schools.
But the long-running football rivalry was almost scuttled last week because of another reality of high school football in Vermont — declining enrollments leading to fewer players going out for the sport.
The Burlington Free Press reported last Wednesday that Windsor athletic director Bob Hingston wanted to forfeit Saturday’s game because of health and injury concerns in playing a non-league game. He eventually ended up changing his mind, and let the game go forward. This fall, Bellows Falls moved up to Division II, while Windsor is still in Division III. So, this game had no bearing on the respective schools’ playoff chances.
Windsor dresses 31 players, but less than half that have considerable experience, Hingston told the Free Press. However, BF is in the same boat. Coach Bob Lockerby told the Free Press he usually has 27 players dressed for games, and many of the starters play both on offense and defense.
The show went on, and tradition and pressure from alumni almost certainly were a factor in the decision. But the day may be coming soon where tradition may have to yield to practicality.
Football, more than any other sport, requires a big time commitment. It also carries a high risk of injury. More and more students, weighing the risks versus rewards, are choosing other activities instead. Soccer and cross country has drained the pool of potential football players. There are lots more extra curricular activities for students to participate in, and there’s the biggest drain of all, part-time employment after school.
There is no easy answer for this situation for smaller schools such as Bellows Falls or Windsor. We do know it is a lot easier to field a team when you have nearly 1,000 students in your high school, as Brattleboro does, than when you have fewer than 400 students, as Bellows Falls and Windsor do.
As for the game itself, it confirmed all of Hington’s fears. BF crushed Windsor, 46-0, at Hadley Field for the Terriers’ first win of the season. Cooper Long ran for 98 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries, and had a 26-yard touchdown catch. Bruce Wells ran 8 times for 45 yards and a touchdown. Ethan Amidon scored on a 1-yard run and quarterback Jeremy Kilburn threw two touchdown passes, one of them to Trevor Wilson.
The BF defense earned the shutout as Tyler Francoeur recovered a fumble and tackled Windsor quarterback Luke TanCredi in the end zone for a safety. Stewart Shaughnessy, Will Bourne and Ian McKeen each intercepted a pass. Now 1-3, the Terriers travel to East Montpelier to face U-32 on Friday night.
• Brattleboro lost a road game to Hartford, 46-14, on Friday night. The undefeated (4-0) Hurricanes returned a pair of punts for touchdowns as they raced out to a 34-0 halftime lead.
Hartford generally ran the ball at will against the 1-3 Colonels, who got their two touchdowns against the Hurricanes’ reserves in the final quarter. Brattleboro travels to St. Johnsbury this Saturday.
• Proctor shut out Bellows Falls, 2-0, last Tuesday. Goalkeeper Michael Hall kept the Terriers in the game with 8 saves.
The Terriers then traveled to Whitingham on Friday to play Twin Valley. Rain that got heavier as the game went on left the field a soggy mess, and both BF coach Larry Slason and TV coach Buddy Hayford decided to skip overtime after their teams finished in a 2-2 tie at the end of regulation. Keegan Reed and Morrow Bernard scored for the Wildcats, while Matt Marchica scored twice for the Terriers.
The Twin Valley boys have been forced to play their games in Whitingham because Baker Field in Wilmington is still unplayable after flood damage from Tropical Storm Irene.
• Leland & Gray blanked Twin Valley, 6-0, last Tuesday in Whitingham. Freshman Chris Lasch scored 3 goals, while Nick Lawley added 2 more and Tyler Scott contributed a goal. Tanner Karg and Kevin Ameden combined on the shutout in goal, with 4 saves between them. Wildcats goalkeeper Sam Molner made 17 saves to keep the outcome from being worse.
On Friday in Townshend, the Rebels sloshed their way to a 3-0 win over Green Mountain.
• Burr & Burton beat Brattleboro, 2-0, in a home match last Tuesday. Colonels goalkeeper Galen Finnerty made 8 saves. The Colonels suffered another 2-0 loss, this time to Rutland, on Saturday.
After a strong start, the Colonels are now 3-3. They’ll be tested this Saturday, when they travel north to face top-ranked Champlain Valley.
• Leland & Gray has gotten off to a slow start. Last Monday in Townshend, they were shut out by Windsor, 1-0. The Rebels did not manage a shot on goal as Windsor goalkeeper Lindsey Clark had a easy afternoon. Rebels goalkeeper Elizabeth Gallup faced 9 shots and only let one by, a 15-yard drive by Aminah Orogi in the 40th minute.
• Maddie Rollins was the heroine for Brattleboro last Monday night. She scored the game-winning goal on a direct kick in the 65th minute to give the Colonels a 1-0 road win over Springfield. Unfortunately, the injury list continued to grow for the Colonels as goalkeeper Tori Svec got hurt making a save. Svec and her understudy, Marissa Smith, combined to make 10 saves.
Smith got the start in goal against Burr & Burton on Friday, as the Colonels lost in Manchester, 1-0. Smith made eight saves, but gave up the game’s only goal in the 19th minute.
• Sara Dumont scored twice as Bellows Falls started its week with a 2-0 win over Long Trail last Monday. Dumont scored in the 44th minute off a rebound, then got an insurance goal 10 minutes later, assisted by Emma Shaw. Goalkeeper Enny Mustapha needed to make only 2 saves to earn the shutout.
On Wednesday, a last-minute goal by Fair Haven resulted in a 1-0 loss for the Terriers.
• Twin Valley lost a rain-shortened match to Arlington, 6-1, on Friday. Savannah Nesbitt scored the Wildcats’ only goal.
• Brattleboro held its first home meet last Tuesday on its 5-kilometer Orchard Street course, but the Colonels came in second to Mount Anthony in both the boys’ and girls’ events.
Jacob Ellis again led all the boys with a time of 17 minutes, 44 seconds, but only one of his Brattleboro teammates, Spencer Olson, finished in the top 10. Olson was 10th in 19:39, followed by Allen Unaitis (14th), Austin Nichols (20th), Connor Chisolm (22nd), Anthony Burdo (28th), Sam Colleran (30th), Noah Borochoff-Porte (32nd), Graham Glennon (34th), Oliver Pomazzi (35th), Josh Parro (38th), Jon Burdo (39th) and Gabe Britton (44th).
Rutland’s Grace Wright won the girls’ event in 21:52. The top Colonels finisher was Hannah Reichel, who came in fourth in 23:21. Other Brattleboro finishers included Leah Silverman (9th), Helen Manning (11th), Solene Chatelet (18th), Kasey Kidder (19th), Kayla Bailey (23rd) and Janne Yang (24th).
At the Manchester (N.H.) Invitational on Saturday, Ellis was eighth in the Large School Division race, with a time of 16:46, while Olson covered the course in 18:44 for 125th. In the girls’ race, Reichel came in 121st in 23:06. Manning was 177th in 24:47, Emma Straus was 186th in 26:34.
This race attacts schools from all over New England, and since it comes at the mid-point of the season, it is usually a good barometer for how Brattleboro will do in the state meet. According to coach John Dimick, many of his runners achieved personal bests on Saturday, and that’s a good sign.
•The Bellows Falls boys took second in a five-team meet at Hartford High School last Tuesday. BF’s Jamie Moore won the race, while teammate Tim Jones and Willie Moore took 8th and 9th, respectively. Collin Johnson placed 11th and William Scarlett was 49th.
• Brattleboro held Hartford scoreless in the first half of their game last Monday. But the Hurricanes came back in the second half with 3 goals to beat the Colonels, 3-0.
The Colonels’ luck was no better on Friday, as Windsor took a 2-0 lead at the half before the game was stopped by officials. Heavy rain turned Tenney Field into a bog, and neither side disagreed with the ruling. Unfortunately, even though only one half was played, the game counts as a loss for the Colonels.
• Bellows Falls lost to Mount Anthony, 4-1, on Friday. Mariah Barnett scored BF’s only goal.
Men’s League to hold organizational meeting
• The Brattleboro Recreation & Parks Department has announced that the fall organizational meeting for the men’s basketball league will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 5, at 6:30 p.m. in the conference room at the Gibson-Aiken Center, 207 Main St. A representative from each team must attend the meeting.
The season runs from November through March. Pick-up games will be held on Wednesday and Friday evenings from 7-9 p.m., and are for men’s league games only.
Call the Recreation & Parks Office at 802-254-5808, or visit www.brattleboro.org.
BEEC Hike-A-Thon benefits Vermont disaster relief
• The Bonnyvale Environmental Education Center (BEEC) will host its first-ever Fall Hike-A-Thon on Sunday, Oct. 9. A portion of the monies raised for this event will benefit Irene Disaster Relief efforts, along with supporting BEEC’s conservation initiatives.
The hike route is roughly 9 miles in length, and will take hikers across town from the Retreat Meadows near downtown Brattleboro, to BEEC in West Brattleboro. Trail runners are encouraged to register, and there will also be a half-hike version available that will be roughly 4 miles in length.
Registration and more information can be found at www.beec.org or by calling 802-257-5785.
BFUHS student competes in Morgan Grand Nationals
• For Shealyn Wilkinson, a sophomore at Bellows Falls Union High School, the opportunity to participate in the Morgan Grand Nationals and World Championships in Oklahoma City, is a goal she has been working toward since she was a young girl.
Wilkinson has been riding Morgan horses for seven years, and she has been showing horses for the last four years. Last year, she qualified for the Morgan Grand Nationals in both the Granite State Morgan Horse Show and the Maine Morgan Show. She was not able to attend the Nationals due to the costs involved.
This year, however, she qualified again and is doing fundraising to accomplish this life-long dream. The Grand Nationals will be held on Oct. 8-15, and Wilkinson’s trainer, Andrea Chickering, will also make the trip. Wilkinson trains at the Meadow Air Farm in Walpole, N.H., where she works. In addition to her equine activities, she plays field hockey and basketball for the high school.