It’s been a few years since the Brattleboro Colonels have been in the Division I football playoffs, but after Friday night’s 40-0 win over Spaulding at Natowich Field, there is an outside chance that the Colonels might be one of the eight teams in the tournament.
The winless Crimson Tide were totally overwhelmed by Brattleboro. Quarterback Tyler Higley was 10-for-16 for 208 yards and 3 touchdowns. Tailback Jake Gaboriault ran it 16 times for 108 yards and 3 touchdowns. Receiver Soren Pelz-Walsh caught four passes for 120 yards and a touchdown. Fellow receiver Hassan Cansler had a 25-yard touchdown grab and also caught a two-point conversion pass from Higley.
Brattleboro’s defense played a strong game, holding Spaulding to just 112 yards of total offense.
The key to the Colonels securing a playoff spot will be beating Mount Anthony in Bennington this Friday, and hoping that St. Johnsbury loses to Lyndon this Saturday.
According to the Burlington Free Press Football Power Ratings, heading into the MAU game, the Colonels are ranked No. 9 in Division I with a 3-4 record and 4.250 QPR (Quality Point Rating, which is the formula used to determine playoff seeding in each division). St. Johnsbury is 4-3 and is currently in control of the eighth and final playoff spot with 5.750 QPR.
As for Bellows Falls, they’ve had a tough time of it moving up from Division III to Division II, and they are not control of their playoff destiny. With their 7-0 win on Saturday against Lyndon, the Terriers have a 3-4 record, a 4.111 QPR, and hold the No. 6 seed with two games to play. But there are only four playoff spots in Division II, and Rice is ahead of BF with a 4-3 record and a 4.778 QPR.
Bruce Wells caught a 10-yard touchdown pass from halfback Cooper Long with 1:51 left in the first quarter, and Kyle O’Rourke kicked the extra point to give the Terriers the winning margin over Lyndon. BF hosts Otter Valley this Saturday and plays their season finale under the lights in Springfield on Oct. 29. The Terriers need to win both games, and root for Rice and No. 4 Burr & Burton to lose their next two games.
• Brattleboro received a good measure of where it is at as a team, and what needs to happen to improve, in its 2-1 loss at Champlain Valley last Monday.
The CVU Redhawks are the top ranked team in Division I, but the Colonels did not roll over easily. Shane Healy gave the Redhawks a 1-0 halftime lead, but Brattleboro’s Cesar Moore tied the game in the 57th minute off a direct kick; but eight minutes later, CVU’s Tucker Shelley headed-in the game-winning goal.
Brattleboro goalkeeper Galen Finnerty held his own, making 13 saves against a powerful offense. Finnerty’s teammates offered plenty of help, and kept the Colonels in the game far longer than they expected.
But whatever positive vibes the Colonels gained from that game vanished in a hard luck 1-0 double-overtime loss to Mount Anthony at Tenney Field last Wednesday night. Brattleboro played 99 minutes of scoreless soccer and thought it was about to escape with a tie. Instead, MAU’s Christopher Schramm scored in the final minute of the second overtime to stun the Colonels.
• Dylan Brage scored both goals as Twin Valley beat Windsor 2-1 in overtime last Tuesday. The Wildcats followed that effort up with a 3-1 win over Arlington on Thursday, as Colin Lozito scored all 3 goals and goalkeeper Sam Molner had 12 saves.
The Wildcats finished the week with a 3-2 win over Stratton Mountain School on Saturday. Trailing 2-0, Dylan Barge scored a first-half goal and set up Tony Tarr’s strike in the 51st minute to tie the game. Ricardo Pereira then scored the game-winner in the 66th minute.
• Leland & Gray shut down Bellows Falls, 5-0, last Tuesday. Hunter Buffum scored two goals for the Rebels, and Bobby Culver, Mike Bergeron, and Chris Lasch all scored one goal. Goalkeeper Tanner Karg picked up his fifth shutout.
• Brattleboro played its fourth overtime game of the season last Tuesday. Unlike the other three, which ended in ties, the Colonels lost to Rutland, 2-1. Becca Bird scored for Brattleboro in the first minute of play. Rutland’s Kristen Switzer got the equalizer just eight minutes later, and the two teams battled the rest of the way until Switzer buried the game winner in the second overtime period.
The Colonels then received a big boost with a 2-1 win at Springfield on Saturday. Halie Lange and Maddie Rollins both scored in the first half, and the Colonels’ defense held the Cosmos scoreless in the second half. Goalkeepers Tori Svec and Marrissa Smith combined for 6 saves as the Colonels ended the week at 4-5-3.
• Twin Valley picked up its first win of the season with a 2-0 victory over Leland & Gray last Wednesday. Jordan Niles and Savannah Nesbitt did the scoring for the Wildcats, which started their week with a 2-1 loss to Black River last Monday.
The Wildcats then had a letdown on Saturday with a 4-1 loss to Stratton Mountain School. Twin Valley’s record stands at 1-9-1.
• Green Mountain handed Leland & Gray a 1-0 loss last Monday in Townshend. The Rebels ended their week with a 2-9 record.
• Bellows Falls started its week with a 13-1 rout of Poultney last Monday. Sara Dumont scored 4 goals, Corrina Stack added 3 more and Enny Mustapha took a break from her goalkeeping duties and scored 2 goals. Chelsea Wilder also scored 2 goals.
On Thursday, BF blanked West Rutland, 2-0. Dumont and Wilder were the goal scorers and Mustapha made 9 saves in goal to earn the shutout win.
• Bellows Falls played Burr & Burton to a 1-1 tie in Manchester last Monday. BF’s Sarah Wells scored off a pass from Mariah Barnett with about 4 minutes left in the first half. Burr and Burton’s Kelsey Towslee then tied the game with 20 minutes left in regulation.
The Terriers then beat Brattleboro, 3-1, on Friday in Westminster. Barrett got BF’s first goal with 18 minutes left in the first half. Brattleboro’s Kebrina Howard tied the game just before halftime, but the Terriers took control with second half goals from Sarah Wells and Molly Dufault. BF goalie Quinn Lawrence made 6 saves.
• Anna Clark of Bellows Falls placed second in the girls race during a meet in Brattleboro last Tuesday. Brattleboro’s Hannah Reichel (fourth in 23:36), Helen Manning, (ninth in 25:03) and Leah Silverman (10th in 25:10) all placed in the top 10, but it was not enough to overtake Mount Anthony and Burr & Burton in the team event.
The BF boys placed third in team competition, as the Terriers had four runners in the top 20 — Willie Moore (12th), Collin Johnson (13th), Tim Jones (17th), and Jamie Moore (19th). Brattleboro came in fourth as Allen Unaitis came in 11th in 20:11 to lead the Colonels.
Moore and Clark led the Terriers at the Connecticut Valley Conference Cross Country Championships in Langdon, N.H., on Saturday. Moore finished third in 17:13 as the BF boys came in third overall. John Punger was 10th in 18:13, Johnson came in 21st in 18:50, Jones was 23rd in 19:18, Willie Moore took 24th in 19:23, and William Scarlett came in 49th in 25:32. Clark, BF’s only girl competitor, took fourth in her race with a time of 21:36.
Shrine game returns to Dartmouth
• The 59th annual Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl will be back at Dartmouth’s Memorial Field on Aug. 4, 2012.
Dartmouth and the Shriners of Vermont and New Hampshire made the announcement last week. The college and the Shriners agreed to a three-year deal to play the football game in Hanover, N.H., the site for 48 of the previous 58 games.
For 37 years, between 1969 and 2005, Memorial Field served as the site of the game until the renovation of the east stands in 2006 forced the game to Plymouth, N.H. After two more years in Hanover, construction plans once again necessitated the move to an alternate site, Windsor High School, where it has been played the past three years.
According to a news release from the college, Dartmouth is offering the use of Baker Field at minimal cost with the goal of allowing the Shriners to have more of the game proceeds to support the hospitals in Boston and Springfield, Mass., and Montreal. Since the series was inaugurated in 1954, the annual showdown between the top recently graduated high school seniors from Vermont and New Hampshire has raised more than $4 million for the Shiners hospitals.
With 11 straight wins, New Hampshire leads the series with a 43-13-2 record. More than 4,000 players have participated in the event, of which about two-thirds still live in the region.