The Brattleboro Union High School football team started practicing last week as they prepare for their opening game of the 2013 season against Bellows Falls at Natowich Field on Aug. 30.
The Colonels have a new head coach, John Callahan, who replaces Mike Hatt, who coached the previous three seasons.
Callahan, 61, has plenty of experience, as well as a reputation as a fix-it man with a long track record of rebuilding ailing football programs.
He played high school football in Connecticut, and was an offensive tackle at Northwestern. After graduating from Northwestern, he worked as a graduate assistant coach at Louisiana State University in the mid-1970s before finishing his schooling there in 1978.
His 35-year high school coaching career includes stops in Louisiana, Virginia, Georgia, and Massachusetts.
Callahan has had his share of success in Vermont. He coached for three seasons at Mount St. Joseph in Rutland, where he won a Division I state title in 2005, and at Mount Anthony in Bennington, where the Patriots had winning records in 2008 and 2009. He wasn’t as successful, however, when he coached at Spaulding High School in Barre in 2010 and 2011.
Colonels fans can expect to see a new offense under Callahan: the triple option. Used in the past by Alabama and Oklahoma, and used today by Navy, it is an offense where the quarterback has three choices when the ball is snapped — hand off to the fullback, pitch it to the tailback, or keep it and run it yourself.
Expect to see lots of running plays this season from the Colonels out of this offense, which Callahan employed with success during his years at Mount Anthony and MSJ.
After watching a recent practice, it looks like they have the personnel to make it work, plus a patient and experienced coach who can point the Colonels into the right direction.
Cardinals win CRVBL title
• The Claremont Cardinals won their second straight Connecticut River Valley Baseball League title over the weekend with a 6-5 win over the Walpole Wild Blue on Sunday.
The Cardinals advanced to Sunday’s championship game with a 6-2 upset of the regular season champs, the Chester/Saxtons River Crush, on Saturday.
Claremont got off to a fast start, scoring five runs in the first three innings. Winning pitcher Gary Wells held the Crush scoreless through seven innings; Nik Wirkkala took the loss for the Crush.
In Saturday’s other semifinal, the Walpole Wild Blue beat the Sunapee Old Lakers, 7-2.
Pitcher Chris Ballou went seven innings to get the win for Walpole, and the Wild Blue rapped out 12 hits, all of them singles. Drew Davis, Joey Parrott, Blake Gowen, and Brian Pickering all had two hits each for the Wild Blue.
Softball from the inside
• Our paper got an email on Monday from Cynthia Cain, who plays for the Whetstone Station team in the Brattleboro Area Women’s Softball League. It’s a great “story behind the story” of how Whetstone Station won the A Division championship over the weekend.
“Whetstone started the day with only nine players due to an unfortunate combination of work schedules and injuries among our team members. During the first game, one of our team members fell and broke her hand!
“Fortunately, another team member had just arrived after finishing her morning shift at work and we were able to complete the game with nine players.
“Unfortunately, we were down 9-0 and it was the fifth inning! We made a most amazing come back, winning the game by one run.
“We lost our next game to Cogburn Game Calls, which bumped us into the Losers Bracket. We then had to immediately take the field to defend against a second loss and being eliminated from the tournament, and were grateful that one more player had been able to join us after her work shift. We were now a full team of 10...and we won!
“Which meant we had to immediately play another game, once again Cogburn Game Calls who had not yet taken a loss. We won again!
“However, since this was Cogburn’s first loss of the day, in order to clinch the first place trophy, we had to immediately play them again. And we did and we won…handily.
“The long and short of it is that we played five ball games in six hours, four of them consecutively, with every player on the field in every game. And while we were short on players, we were long on heart…we played with passion and love for the game…we kept our spirits up and rallied during the deepest heat of the day. We earned that first place trophy with a lot of hard work, sweat and team spirit.”
To Whetstone Station, and the other two division winners — B Division champ Mojos and C Division champ Just Jacks — congratulations on a great season.
PVA Hockey is looking for a mascot
• Pleasant Valley Hockey Association (PVA), a volunteer youth ice hockey organization, is looking forward to the upcoming 2013-2014 season, and is running a competition to select a mascot and logo.
PVA members and newcomers will have the opportunity to submit ideas for a mascot, a name of the mascot, and a logo for the association. Submissions should be sent to the PVA Board of Directors prior to Sept. 15 for consideration.
Email your suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org. The top 5 submittals will be presented to members at PVA’s annual picnic and sign-ups on Sunday, Sept. 15, from 4-6 p.m. at the Vermont Academy Ice Rink. Hamburgers and hot dogs will be served, but bring a side dish to share.
PVA is accepting registrations for the 2013-2014 hockey season for kids ages 4-18. For a registration form, visit www.pvahockey.com. New players can try hockey for free and pay by Dec. 1. PVA provides equipment at no cost to players 8 and under.
Hunter safety course offered
• A Vermont Hunter Safety Course offered next month at the Sportsmen’s Inc. facility in Guilford.
Class dates will be: Sept. 3, 5, 6, 9, 11 and 13. Students under the age of 12 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Registration is required. To register or for more information, contact Don Rosinski at 802-257-5442 after 6 p.m.
Time for Walk, Run & Roll
• The 18th annual “Walk, Run & Roll” fundraiser to benefit the Brattleboro Walk-In Clinic will be held on Saturday, Sept. 14. The event includes a 5K run, a 5K walk, a kid’s fun run, and 34-mile cycling event.
The first 50 adult bikers and first 50 adult walkers/runners will receive a free race t-shirt. Top-finishers will be eligible for a variety of prizes from area restaurants, shops and retail outlets. Additional prizes will be awarded in raffles. Prizes will be awarded to the top finishers in several categories, as well as randomly raffled. All kids participating in the fun run will receive a medal. Refreshments will be provided.
Registration takes place behind the Dunham Building in the parking lot of Brattleboro Memorial Hospital. Bikers will register at 7 a.m., with a 7:30 a.m. start time. Run, walk, and fun run registration begins at 7:45 a.m. The fun run event starts at 8:30 a.m., while the 5K walk starts at 8:45 a.m., and the 5K run begins at 9 a.m.
The walk and run events will be professionally timed by 3C Race productions.“Walk, Run & Roll” is sanctioned by the New England Association of USA Track & Field (USATF). There is a non-refundable entry fee of $20 for adults (free for youths under 12.) Pre-register for this event at www.3craceproductions.com. More information and entry forms are available at www.BrattleboroWalkInClinic.com.
All proceeds go to support the Walk-In Clinic, a nonprofit organization providing free medical and dental care to those without health insurance.