The Brattleboro soccer teams played host last week to their lower-division neighbors, Green Mountain and Leland & Gray, for a pair of games under the lights at Natowich Field.
The boys rolled to a 5-1 win over GM on Sept. 20 as senior forward Ozzie VanHendrick scored three goals. It was a little tougher for the Brattleboro girls, as the defending Division IV champions put up a good fight in a 4-2 loss to the Bears on Sept. 21.
• The Brattleboro girls came into the match on a high. Two nights earlier, the Bears rallied from a 5-1 deficit to tie Mount Anthony, 5-5, in double overtime in Bennington. Leland & Gray was determined to break the Bears' momentum, but the skills of forward Sophia Albright and midfielder Reese Croutworst - both of whom keyed the big comeback against MAU - were too much for the Rebels.
A defensive lapse led to Albright's first goal in the second minute. Croutworst added another goal in the 18th minute to make it 2-0. The Rebels cut the lead in half when Mary Sanderson scored off a Maggie Parker corner kick in the 19th minute, but Croutworst responded with a 25-yard kick that caromed off the right goalpost in the 36th minute to give the Bears a 3-1 lead.
The Rebels answered with a nifty goal by Avery Hiner with just 32.1 seconds left in the first half to pull her team back to within a goal of the Bears. Leland & Gray kept pressing for the equalizer, but Bears goalkeeper Abigail Henry stopped several shots. The Bears got the breathing room they needed in the 62nd minute, when Albright popped a shot just over the outstretched hands of Rebels goalkeeper Annabelle Brooks to make it a 4-2 game.
The Rebels kept attacking and let the Bears know that they were not going to go quietly into that good night. Rebels coach Joe Towle told his players after the game, he was happy with the effort of the team, despite the final score.
"We played our best game so far this year," Towle said of his 5-2 team. "Brattleboro scored on four really nice plays. We had them back on their heels, but we didn't convert on some opportunities and they did and that happens sometimes."
"I have been telling them this since we started, we can beat anybody on our schedule," said Bears co-coach Jay Cudworth. "I think we believed that in the very beginning of the season and I think after that [MAU] game most of them started to believe. I think it's done wonders for their confidence." Brattleboro ended the week with a 3-1-1 record.
• In the boys' match, VanHendrick put on a show. He sped through the GM defense just about every time he touched the ball. His first goal came off a through ball from Jackson Pals in the 11th minute. Two minutes later, VanHendrick converted a penalty kick after he got taken down in the penalty area, and then picked up a yellow card after a choreographed celebration with his teammates was deemed excessive by the referee.
The Bears had two other goals disallowed in the first half, so there was a silver of hope for Green Mountain as they trailed, 2-0, at the break.
"We were working on some new things tonight," said Bears coach Ben Brewer. That experimentation, featuring a new alignment on offense, gave GM got a few more chances at the Bears' goal in the second half, but Brattleboro simply had too much talent.
Pals got a goal in the 51st minute, but GM got on the board eight minutes later on an own goal by Brattleboro. The Bears finished up the scoring when Emmitt Hoyer converted a penalty kick in the 70th minute that was awarded after VanHendrick was taken down in the box for a second time. VanHendrick then finished his hat trick less than a minute later.
Bears goalkeeper Sam Bogart had an easy night as the Bears improved to 3-1 with the victory.
• Brattleboro hadn't played a football game against Keene, New Hampshire since 2010. A series that first began in 1891 had gone dormant, but changes in Vermont high school football this season reopened the door to give the Bears a chance to rekindle this historic rivalry.
Unfortunately for the Bears, the Keene Blackbirds' overwhelming offensive attack rolled to a 42-6 win before a big crowd on Sept. 22 at Keene's Alumni Field. Keene now leads the all-time series, 43-35-2, and will hang onto the Darrell Sawyer-KHS Booster Club Trophy for another year.
The tone was set early as the Blackbirds ran the ball 15 times on the opening drive of the game as running back Wyatt Avery kept blasting through the center of the Bears defense again and again. He had 10 carries for 55 yards, finishing with a 2-yard touchdown run with 4:43 left in the first quarter.
Avery would finish with 188 yards on 24 carries, plus four receptions for 98 yards as the Bears' defense had no answer for stopping the Blackbirds clock-eating running attack.
On offense, the Bears could get nothing going as the Blackbirds forced four turnovers, including three interceptions, as Brattleboro finished with 40 yards of offense.
Keene got two more touchdowns in the first half. Kasen Abbot scored on a 1-yard run, set up by a 58-yard scamper by Avery, with 1:03 left in the first quarter, followed by a 2-yard touchdown run by Eli Kopcha, who also recovered a fumble to start that drive, with 6:08 left in the second quarter.
Keene had 248 yards of offense in the first half to take a 21-0 lead, while Brattleboro managed only 23 yards of offense. The second half saw more of the same as Sawyer Leppie scored on a 3-yard run set up by a Colin Tinnin interception to make it 28-0 with 7:08 left in the third quarter.
Avery scored on a 3-yard run with 8:07 left in the game. He set up his second touchdown of the night with a 48-yard pass reception. The Bears' only score came with four minutes left in the fourth quarter, a 7-yard touchdown pass from Karson Elliott to Cam Cruz that was set up by a 70-yard kickoff return by Noah Perusse.
Jasiah Sales closed out the Keene onslaught with a 86-yard touchdown run that came on the first play after the Bears' lone touchdown. Keene finished the game with 472 yards of offense in a thoroughly dominating performance.
The road to a Division I playoff spot gets even tougher for the 1-2-1 Bears when they host the undefeated Hartford Hurricanes this Friday at 7 p.m. at Natowich Field.
• Bellows Falls took care of business with a 32-7 win over the U-32 Marauders on Sept. 22 at Hadley Field.
The Terriers took a 13-0 lead at the half, thanks to an 18-yard touchdown run by Jesse Darrell in the first quarter and a 4-yard run by Cole Moore near the end of the second quarter.
Walker James had two long runs for touchdowns for BF with a 39-yard ramble in the third quarter and a 32-yard burst to start the fourth quarter. Quarterback Cole Moore ran for a 32-yard score late in the fourth quarter to make it 32-0 before U-32 spoiled the shutout bid when quarterback Drew Frostick connected with Elliot Caswell for a 32-yard touchdown with 1:37 to play.
Now 3-1, Bellows Falls hosts Fair Haven this Saturday at 1 p.m. for a homecoming matinee at Hadley Field.
• Windsor pulled out a tough 2-0 win over Brattleboro on Sept. 19. The Bears held the Yellowjackets scoreless through the first three quarters before Windsor broke through with goals from Mackenzie Kleefisch and Amber Simonds in the fourth quarter.
Windsor goalie Sydney Perry made 10 saves for the shutout victory. The Bears managed only two penalty corners to Windsor's 15, but Brattleboro's defense and the goalkeeping on Ericka Fletcher (16 saves) kept this game close.
• Bellows Falls needed overtime to beat Hartford, 2-1, on Sept. 21 in White River Junction. Emma Bazin scored first for BF early in the opening quarter, but Hartford's Cam Brower tied the game with a goal late in the fourth quarter. Veronica Moore then got the game-winner in overtime off a penalty corner. Livie Clough made 11 saves in goal for the Terriers.
• West Rutland blasted Bellows Falls, 11-0, on Sept. 19 in Westminster. West Rutland had a 40-3 advantage in shots on goal as Peter Guay had three goals and two assists and Tristan Rocke added two goals and two assists.
• Green Mountain bounced back from its loss to Brattleboro with a 2-1 win over Leland & Gray in Chester on Sept. 22. It was the first win of the season for the 1-3-1 Chieftains.
• Mount St. Joseph defeated Twin Valley, 5-1, on Sept. 19 in the John Werner Tournament in Arlington.
• Springfield defeated Bellows Falls, 5-1, on Sept. 21 in Westminster. Meadow Murchie and Ella Donahue each had two goals for the Cosmos and Amelia Murchie added another. Tela Harty had the lone BF goal.
Londonderry dedicates historic site marker as birthplace of Burton Snowboards
• On Tuesday, Oct. 3, at 11 a.m., the Vermont Division for Historic Preservation will team up with Burton Snowboards and The Londonderry Arts & Historical Society to dedicate a Vermont Roadside Historic Site Marker at Williams Park, 2242 Main St.
Donna Carpenter, the owner and chair of Burton Snowboards and Vermont's Kelly Clark, five-time Olympian and winningest snowboard athlete, will be there along with many snowboard enthusiasts and officials to mark the late Jake Burton Carpenter's contribution to snowboarding and the town of Londonderry.
In 1977, Burton Carpenter opened his first workshop on Main Street in Londonderry. A small team of local residents helped him fabricate his first snowboards, and from these humble beginnings as a backyard hobby grew one of the world's most popular winter sports.
Burton Carpenter died in 2019 and the original Burton factory was lost in a fire several years ago. However, many people who have played important roles in the history of Burton Snowboards still remain in Londonderry, including Ross Powers, winner of a bronze medal at the 1998 Winter Olympics at Nagano, Japan, and a gold medal at Salt Lake's 2002 Winter Olympics.
Following the dedication of the new historic marker, a reception will be held nearby at the Londonderry Arts & Historical Society, 2461 Middletown Rd. A special exhibit, "First Tracks" - with memorabilia and photos from the late 1970s that highlight "pioneers" of the sport and capture the progression of Burton boards from their earliest days - will be on display.
Senior bowling roundup
• Week 3 of the fall/winter season of the Brattleboro Senior Bowling League at Brattleboro Bowl on Sept. 21 saw Hairiers and Stepping Stones (both 13-2) tied for first place, followed by Four Seasons (11-4), Four Pins (8-2), No Splits and Skippers (both 8-7), High Rollers (4-11), Dumblebor (3-12), and PEWJ (1-14).
Debbie Kolpa had the women's high handicap game (244) and series (700). Duane Schillemat had the men's high handicap game (246), while Stan Kolpa had the high handicap series (681). Hairiers had the high team handicap game (891) and series (2,606).
Robert Rigby again had the men's high scratch series (584) with games of 230 and 184. Warren Corriveau Sr. had a 576 series that featured games of 222 and 181. Schillemat had a 529 series with a 207 game, while Gary Montgomery had a 516 series with games of 198 and 196, and Stan Kolpa had a 507 series. John Walker had a 191 game and Wayne Randall rolled a 180.
Debbie Kolpa had the women's high scratch series (493), while Shirley Aiken had the high scratch game (181). Kolpa had games of 175 and 161, Aiken had a 169 game, and Carol Gloski rolled a 172 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.