In a football game that was a long time in coming, the Brattleboro Colonels eked out a 14-8 win over the Bellows Falls Terriers in the season opener for both teams Friday night at Natowich Field.
When the Colonels and Terriers last squared off on the football field, in 1999 and 2000, Brattleboro beat BF 44-24 and 63-6, respectively.
Considering the long history of football at these two schools, this is a game that should be on the schedule every year. Judging from the packed grandstand and how many people were standing along the fences, the fans of both schools agree.
This could have been a rout, however. The Terriers lost 16 seniors from last year’s team who made it all the way to the Division II finals, and the Division I Colonels had a definite size and experience advantage. But this game was close all the way.
Brattleboro got on the board first with a 21-yard touchdown run by Jake Gaboriault with 8:22 left in the first quarter. Gaboriault also kicked the extra point to make it 7-0.
The Colonels had a chance to widen that lead, but ill-timed penalties and other mistakes prevented that from happening the rest of the first half.
“BF’s a good team, and we’re still in the learning process,” said Brattleboro coach John Callahan. “The defense is definitely ahead of the offense right now in the way we execute.”
The BF offense sputtered in the first half, but the Terriers were tough on defense and kept BF within striking distance right up until the fourth quarter, when Kyle Patno connected with Kassidi Ramirez for a 77-yard touchdown with 6:34 to play.
Bellows Falls looked better on offense in the second half, but quarterback Ethan Illingworth didn’t quite have the touch on many of his passes. He atoned for the erratic throws with a 16-yard touchdown run with 2:48 to play as he whirled, spun, and pinballed into the end zone.
Illingworth’s two-point conversion pass to David Dunbar was on the money, and BF had one last chance to tie the game. Unfortunately, they couldn’t recover an onside kick, and all the Colonels needed to do after that was run out the clock.
“We tried to power the ball against guys we were giving away 75 or 100 pounds too,” said BF coach Bob Lockerby. “But I’m not disappointed. We lost this game because we’re inexperienced and it took the whole first half before they started believing they were good enough to beat these guys.”
Although Lockerby said he really wanted to win this game, he said it really was nothing more than a third scrimmage for his team.
“The only games that count are the ones in your division,” he said. “So even though we didn’t win, we got a lot out of this game. This is a good football team, and I think it will be a good team for the next few years.”
Hadley Field ready for action
• The lighting crisis at BFUHS’s Hadley Field sports complex appears to be over.
The football and baseball fields were closed to public use a couple of weeks ago by school officials when it was discovered the firm that installed the lights last year, Techline Inc. of Austin, Texas, hadn’t tested the soil before installing the light poles and couldn’t guarantee their safety.
Windham Northeast Superintendent Chris Kibbe announced last week that soil samples that were recently collected reveal that the light poles do not pose a hazard. As a result, Kibbe recommended the field be reopened, and the BFUHS board concurred.
In that light, the Terriers will be able to have their home football opener against Milton as scheduled this Saturday at Hadley Field, and the middle school and Pee Wee football teams can practice on the fields again.
Still to be resolved are the lights on the baseball field. The permitting process that hadn’t taken place when the lights were install last year will begin soon. Perhaps next season, if all goes well, the Terriers will be able to play night baseball.
• The Brattleboro Country Club Member/Guest Tournament played out over three days in early August as a five-flight match play event.
Six round-robin nine hole matches were played in each flight, with a point per hole on the table. No one managed to cash in on the $10,000 hole-in-one contest sponsored by G. Housen, or the $5,000 putting contest sponsored by Harpoon Brewery, but three teams in each flight placed.
In the First Flight, Ryan Kohler and Joe Bartlett won with 32.5 points in a second-hole sudden death playoff against Jeff Houle and Jared Barber, who also finished regulation with 32.5 points. Rob Pattison and Bruce Pattison were third with 28.5 points.
Steve Hellus and Mike Caruso finished first in the Second Flight with 34.5 points. Rick Wisell and Greg Tewksbury came in second with 31, and Jason Kelley and Thomas Penna was third with 26.
In the Third Flight, Les Eustace and Kevin Harrington won with 32 points. Mike Worden and Mike Rosner were second with 30, and Gerry Sears and Mike Tardiff were third with 28.
Doug Emery and Chip Huffman won the Fourth Flight with 33.5 points, Dan and Jeremy Zumbruski were second with 29, and Ken and Joe Hill were third with 27.5.
In the Fifth Flight, Andy Wisniewski and Dennis Swain took first with 33 points, followed by Henry Diemer and Howard Lane with 30.5, and Dennis Mayotte and Arnie Williams with 28.5.
• Sixteen teams competed in the Mixed Scotch Championship alternate shot format held July 21 at Brattleboro Country Club. They had 16 teams compete in the alternate-shot format. Both players tee off, hit each other’s shot, then alternate until a ball is holed out. Gross and net prizes were awarded.
Elizabeth Walker and Hugh Barber took first-place gross honors with a 73, followed by Sheryl Libardoni and Jeff Houle (76) and Lois Forester and Dick Virkstis (82).
On the net side, Alicia Field and Chris Worden finished with 66 and won the pencil playoff with Marilyn Cassidy and Larry Cassidy (66), with Kate Clark and Jim Coulombe a stroke behind (67).
Two weeks later Marilyn and Larry Cassidy were playing again when Marilyn scored the third hole-in-one of the season at the club. It was her first, playing the fourth hole from 88 yards with a seven iron.
Making hockey affordable
• Both the Brattleboro Hockey Association and the Pleasant Valley Hockey Association are reaching out this fall to youngsters and their families who may be interested in youth hockey and may be scared off by the cost.
The BHA has its annual hockey equipment sale and swap, which will take place on Saturday, Sept. 7, starting at 10 a.m., at Nelson Whitington Rink at Living Memorial Park. They’ll also be signing up players that day for the 2013-14 season. Visit www.brattleborohockey.org for more information.
Also Sept. 7, the BHA Zamboni will make an appearance at Brattleboro Memorial Hospital’s “Touch-a-Truck” event from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. There will a chance to shoot a puck and win prizes.
PVA has its annual picnic and sign-ups on Sunday, Sept. 15, from 4 to 6 p.m., at Vermont Academy’s Choukas Rink on Shepard Lane in Saxtons River. All players will need to register with USA Hockey before the first session. Registration forms are at www.pvahockey.com. Volunteers and hockey coaches are also encouraged to drop in for the picnic.
Both programs plan free hockey trials in November, with equipment provided at no cost for players 8 and under. Check in at the respective websites later in the fall for details.
Hunter safety course offered in BF
• The Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife will present a fall hunter education and safety program at the Polish American Club on Rockingham Street in Bellows Falls.
Mandatory registration will be held Saturday, Sept. 21, at noon. Students must be present to enroll. Classes will be held on Mondays and Wednesday, as well as a half-day on Saturday for firing range/field days on Oct. 5 and 12.
The classroom has limited seating, so first come, first served. This is a free program and certification is recognized internationally. For more information, call Vinnie Cherico at 802-463-9314.