A week of hot weather and thunderstorms is not unusual in early September. However, last week's heat wave, followed by a series of violent thunderstorms, is highly unusual for this time of year.
As a result of Vermont getting weather that was more like July than September, the high school sports schedule was thrown into chaos.
Football saw the most chaos as nearly every team in Vermont was unable to complete its games due to thunderstorms. The mess was compounded by the ongoing shortage of game officials, which meant some crews had to work multiple games last weekend in a frantic effort to finish what was started.
As for soccer, field hockey, and cross-country, games and meets had to be postponed due to extreme heat and humidity.
• Hartford got a 27-7 win over Bellows Falls on Sept. 7 in White River Junction in a night game cut short by bad weather.
BF quarterback Eli Allbee scored the game's first touchdown on an 11-yard run. After that, it was all Hartford as quarterback Brayden Trombley had a pair of touchdown runs for 41 and 24 yards, and threw a 58-yard TD pass to Austin St. Peter as the Hurricanes took a20-7 lead.
The Terriers were driving toward a potential score as the first half was winding down, but the drive was derailed after Allbee had to leave the game with an injury. Hartford got the ball one last time and Ezra Mock closed out the first half with a 6-yard run.
Thunderstorms moved in at halftime and, with little prospect of safe conditions returning at a reasonable hour, the coaches agreed to end the game and make the result official.
The Terriers held their own against a tough Division I opponent, but between Allbee's injury and Hartford's big lead, the decision to call it a night was the right one for coach Bob Lockerby. The 1-1 Terriers will now have some extra time to prepare for their next opponent, as Bellows Falls plays a rare Sunday game against the Mount Mansfield Cougars in Jericho on Sept. 17.
• The BF coaching staff were in the stands at Natowich Field on Sept. 9 to do some scouting of Mount Mansfield and Brattleboro as they faced off in a non-division game under the lights.
There wasn't much to see, as this game was stopped with 2:09 left in the second quarter for a 30-minute lightning delay. At that point, the Cougars and Bears were tied, 8-8. Once it became apparent that more stormy weather was on the way, the coaches and officials agreed to end the game and put it down in the scorebook as a tie.
It was something of a victory that the game got played. Mount Mansfield made the long journey south to Jericho on Sept. 8, only to be welcomed by a particularly nasty thunderstorm that downed trees and knocked out power to thousands in Windham County. The game never got played and the Cougars had to turn around, go home, and make the same trip again the following day.
Despite the Bears having the advantage of not riding three hours each way on a school bus, Brattleboro looked as out of sync as Mount Mansfield, particularly in the passing game.
In the first quarter, Jackson Emery stopped the Cougars' opening drive with an interception, but Cougars defensive back Luke Subin-Billingley more than returned the favor with a pair of interceptions. His second, with 1:48 left in the quarter, set up the Cougars' only touchdown, a 1-yard run by Philip Gulizo on the first play after the turnover. A two-point conversion try was successful for an 8-0 lead.
The teams traded interceptions to start the second quarter before the Bears finally got it together on offense and put together a scoring drive that ended with a 15-yard touchdown run by Noah Perusse. Quarterback Carson Elliott ran in the two-point conversion to tie the game, 8-8, with 6:55 left in the first half.
Brattleboro had a golden chance to take the lead when Jack Cady returned a punt for an apparent touchdown with 4:09 left, but the play was wiped out by a penalty for an illegal block by the Bears' return team. Brattleboro ultimately had to kick it away and gave the Cougars a chance to break the tie.
Unfortunately, Mount Mansfield couldn't score either and they had the ball when the lightning sighting suspended the game.
Now 0-1-1, the Bears head to Bennington this Friday night for the Elwell Trophy game against their Route 9 rivals, the Mount Anthony Patriots.
• Brattleboro opened its season in Bennington on Sept. 7 with a 4-1 loss to Burr & Burton in the opening round of the Patriot Classic. The Bulldogs scored four unanswered goals before Brattleboro's Zadie Olmstead scored with 18 minutes left in the second half. The game was later stopped due to thunderstorms with about 10 minutes to play.
The Bears then played Hoosac Valley in the consolation game of the tournament on Sept. 11 and won, 5-2.
• Green Mountain got clobbered by the Fair Haven Slaters, 9-1, in a road game on Sept. 6. Last season's Division III runner-up poured it on, with four goals from Lily Briggs and three more from Maddy Perry. GM's only goal was scored by Linsey Miles with 14 minutes left in the second half.
• Leland & Gray lost to Green Mountain, 2-1, in the opening night of the Green Mountain Tournament on Sept. 8 at Dorsey Park in Ludlow.
• Twin Valley is still looking for a win, but acquitted itself well in a pair of 2-1 losses to Long Trail School on Sept. 6 and Arlington on Sept. 9.
• Bellows Falls got torched by Fair Haven, 10-0, in the Terriers' home opener on Sept. 9. The Slaters led 7-0 at the half.
• Cody Magnant scored three goals in the first half to lead the Twin Valley Wildcats to a 3-1 victory over Green Mountain on Sept. 5 in Chester.
Magnant converted a penalty kick early in the first half, scored on a break-away about a minute later, and completed his hat trick just before halftime. GM's lone goal came midway through the first half from Evan Kirdzik.
It was among the few games that got played that day due to extreme heat. Several water breaks and the appearance of a few clouds to block the sun helped the two teams avoid a suspension or postponement.
• Weather wiped out all of Leland & Gray's games last week. The Rebels' game against Springfield on Sept. 5 was postponed to Oct. 14 due to extreme heat, while thunderstorms led to the cancellation of a Sept. 8 game at Bellows Falls.
• Bellows Falls lost their season opener to South Burlington, 3-0, on Sept. 8. Sabrina Brunet, Elise Knoth, and Lily O'Brien were the goal scorers as BF goaltender Livi Clough made 25 saves.
• Hartford blasted Brattleboro, 11-0, at Sawyer Field on Sept. 9. The 0-2 Bears will face Fair Haven and Bellows Falls this week.
• Extreme heat forced the cancellation of a scheduled meet in Bellows Falls on Sept. 5.
• Friend of The Commons Tom Bedell passed on these details about the 2023 Vermont Senior Amateur Tournament, which was held at Brattleboro Country Club (BCC) on Sept. 5 and 6.
David Arakelian of Lake George, New York needed three extra holes to win a playoff with BCC's Greg Birsky for the Senior (ages 55-64) Amateur title. While Birsky lost the overall Senior title, he was the winner in the Super Senior (65-plus) division.
Local golf icon Hugh Barber added to his many trophies with a win in the Legends (70-plus) division. Barber has won BCC multiple club titles over the years.
All three champions finished 6-over par in their respective divisions over two days of play in humid 90-degree weather. Other BCC members in the tournament included George Roberge, David Washburn, and Wayne Wright.
Senior bowling roundup
• The fall/winter season of the Brattleboro Senior Bowling League at Brattleboro Bowl began on Sept. 7 with PEWJ, No Splits, Stepping Stones, Skippers, and Hairiers (all 5-0) tied for first place, followed by Four Seasons and Four Pins (both 4-1), and Dumblebor and No Splits (both 1-4).
Debbie Kolpa had the women's high handicap game (229) and series (634), while Robert Rigby had the men's high handicap game (254) and Bob Uccello had the high handicap series (716). Stepping Stones had the high team handicap game (900) and series (2,636).
Rigby had the men's high scratch series (695) with games of 247, 224, and 224. Chuck Adams had a 573 series with games of 229 and 193, while Milt Sherman had a 552 series with games of 229 and 193 and Warren Corriveau Sr. had a 554 series that featured a 194 game. John Walker had a 542 series and Duane Schillemat had a 534 series with a 199 game.
Carol Gloski had the women's high scratch series (568) and game (172), while Kolpa rolled a 160 game.
Randolph T. Holhut, deputy editor of this newspaper, has written this column since 2010 and has covered sports in Windham County since the 1980s. Readers can send him sports information at [email protected].
This Sports column by Randolph T. Holhut was written for The Commons.