One championship down, one to go.
The Twin Valley boys' soccer team finished the regular season undefeated with a 3-2 win over the Randolph Galloping Ghosts on Oct. 20 and, in the process, captured the Southern Vermont League C Division title.
After a season filled with routs over less skilled teams, Wildcats coach Buddy Hayford viewed the showdown with Randolph as the perfect tuneup for his team heading into the Division IV playoffs.
"We're playing our best soccer of the season," Hayford told me after a 10-1 win over Bellows Falls on Oct. 18. "We have our sights on a state title, but winning the SVL title would be a great way to go into the tournament."
Hayford said his team was expecting an intense game against Randolph, who like Twin Valley, entered the game with a 6-0 record in SVL play. The game turned to be exactly as billed, as Twin Valley opened with three unanswered goals before the Wildcats had to hold back a Randolph rally in the second half.
Twin Valley's two leading scorers, senior Cody Magnant and ninth-grader Hunter Roth, gave the Wildcats a 3-0 lead at the half. Magnant opened the scoring with a goal off a free kick by Steven Oyer in the fourth minute and then converted a penalty kick in the 12th minute for his 31st and 32nd goals of the season. Roth then got what turned out to be an important insurance goal in the 20th minute after knocking in the ball during a scramble in front of the Ghosts goal.
Randolph came back strong in the second half with two goals in the first 10 minutes of play. Hudson Grimes scored in the 45th minute and Silas Abbott got a goal five minutes later, but the Ghosts got no closer. With both teams were playing their third game in four days, they staggered to the finish.
Twin Valley had a 15-11 advantage in shots and Wildcats goalkeeper Kaelyn Lackey made nine saves in the win.
Before the Randolph game, the Wildcats had a pair of blowout wins. Roth and Magnant scored three goals each as Twin Valley torched Springfield, 9-0, at Hayford Field on Oct. 17. Oyer, Noah Dornburgh, and Halen Ranslow also scored. Brayden Brown had three assists, Roth and Magnant each had two assists, and Oyer and Garrett Cunningham each had an assist.
The next night against Bellows Falls, the Wildcats scored eight goals in the first half in a 10-1 win. Magnant scored four goals, Oyer added two goals and two assists, Brown had a goal and two assists, and Pacei Reynolds and Garrett Ryan got their first varsity goals. BF's Tristan Boylan broke up the shutout with a goal in the 65th minute.
Hayford said that the good thing about games against Springfield and BF was that it offered a chance to rest the starters and get the other players on the roster a chance to play substantial minutes.
"I have 21 players on the team, and they don't always get enough playing time," said Hayford. "I wanted the starters to score early and often [against BF] so they could some rest and give the other guys some experience heading into the playoffs."
The 14-0 Wildcats got a first round bye and will take on the winner of the Oct. 25 first round game between No. 8 West Rutland and No. 9 Leland & Gray in a quarterfinal game at Hayford Field in Wilmington on Friday, Oct. 27 at 6 p.m.
• Burr & Burton quarterback Jack McCoy is considered one of the best in the state at his position. On a rainy night at Applejack Stadium in Manchester on Oct. 20, McCoy offered additional proof of his skill by throwing for 301 yards and four touchdowns in a 27-8 win over the Brattleboro Bears.
The soggy conditions and lots of penalties slowed down the Bulldogs, but McCoy and receiver Seb Dostal seemed to be in sync as they connected on touchdown passes of 64, 39, and 49 yards. Kaleb Gabert caught the other TD pass in the regular season finale for both teams.
McCoy completed 13 of his 18 passes, with Dostal catching four of them for 162 yards and Gabert reeling in three passes for 31 yards. Running back Peyton Gray had 10 carries for 72 yards.
The Bears struggled on both sides of the ball. They got their only touchdown midway through the fourth quarter off a short pass from quarterback Karson Elliott that deflected off the hands of Jack Cady into the grasp of tight end Jackson Emery in the end zone. Emery also caught a two-point conversion pass from Elliott.
At 7-1, Burr & Burton clinched the No. 2 seed in Division I with the victory. Brattleboro earned the No. 7 seed with a 3-4-1 record, and will face the Bulldogs once again in the quarterfinal round on Saturday, Oct. 28 in Manchester at 2 p.m.
• Bellows Falls also ended the regular season with a loss as they fell to the North Country Falcons, 27-7, in Newport on Oct. 21.
The Terriers trailed 14-0 at the half and got their lone touchdown on the first play of the fourth quarter to cut the Falcons' lead to 14-7. North Country then closed out the game with two more touchdowns.
BF still kept the No. 3 seed in Division II with a 4-4 record. They will host No. 6 Spaulding (4-4) for a quarterfinal game at Hadley Field on Friday, Oct. 27, at 7 p.m.
• Leland & Gray, the defending Division IV champion, finished with a 10-3-1 record and the second seed in this year's tournament. They got a first-round bye and will host the winner of the first-round game between No. 7 Long Trail and No. 10 Proctor in a quarterfinal game in Townshend on Thursday, Oct. 26, at 3 p.m.
The Rebels finished the regular season with a 7-0 win over Bellows Falls on Oct. 16 as Mary Sanderson scored four goals and Maggie Parker had two goals and four assists, and a 2-0 loss to White River Valley on Oct. 20.
• Brattleboro earned a home playoff game with a 8-5-1 record that gave them the No. 7 seed in Division I. They hosted No. 10 St. Johnsbury in a first-round game on Oct. 24 at Natowich Field. The Bears topped Rutland, 5-2, on Oct. 19 in the regular season finale as Reese Croutworst scored four goals.
• Bellows Falls finished with a 1-13 record and the No. 17 seed in Division III. The Terriers defeated No. 16 Thetford, 3-2, in overtime in a play-in game on Oct. 23. BF then went on to face top-seeded Fair Haven in a first-round game on Oct. 24. The Terriers lost their season finale to Green Mountain, 3-1, on Oct. 19 in Westminster.
• Twin Valley finished with 0-14 record and will sit out the Division IV tournament.
• Brattleboro finished the regular season with a 10-3-1 record and the fifth seed in the Division I playoffs. The Bears will host BFA-St. Albans in a first-round game on Oct. 25 at 3 p.m. at Natowich Field.
The Bears rolled to a 6-1 win over Rutland on Oct. 17, then rallied to beat Mount Anthony, 2-1, in the regular season finale in Bennington on Oct. 19. Jackson Pals and Ozzie VanHendrick scored in the final five minutes to knock off the Patriots.
• Leland & Gray got the the ninth seed in the Division IV playoffs with a 5-8-1 record. The Rebels finished the regular season with a 4-0 win over Bellows Falls on Oct. 17, and lost 2-1 to White River Valley on Oct. 20.
• Bellows Falls ended the regular season with a 0-14 record and the No. 16 seed in the Division III playoffs. The Terriers will travel to Stowe to face the top-seeded Raiders on Oct. 25 in a first-round game at 3 p.m. BF lost the regular season finale to Green Mountain, 7-1, on Oct. 20 in Westminster.
• It's been a challenging year for Bellows Falls, as the Terriers finished with a 9-4-1 record and the No. 5 seed in Division I. They will travel to Colchester to face the No. 4 Lakers in the quarterfinals on Friday, Oct. 27 at 3:30 p.m.
The Terriers ended the regular season on a high note with a 1-0 win over Burr & Burton in Manchester on Oct. 21. Eryn Ross scored the deciding goal for BF and goalie Livie Clough made six saves to earn the shutout victory.
• Brattleboro finished the regular season with a 4-9 record and the ninth seed in Division II. The Bears played the No. 8 Mt. Abraham Eagles in a first-round game in Bristol on Oct. 24, and lost 1-0.
• Thetford won the boys' competition and Stratton Mountain School was the girls' winner in the SVL A Division cross-country championships on Oct. 20 in Rutland. The Bellows Falls girls were sixth, while Brattleboro finished seventh.
In the boys' race, Thetford's Ben Mattern covered the 5K course in 17 minutes, 4.56 seconds to take first place. Nico Conathan-Leach of Brattleboro was fourth in 17:41.26. Desi Broadley of Bellows Falls cracked the girls' top 10 with a ninth place finish in 23:36.08.
Next up for the Brattleboro and Bellows Falls teams is the state championship meet this Saturday at Thetford Academy.
Senior bowling roundup
• The standings were reshuffled again after Week 7 of the fall/winter season of the Brattleboro Senior Bowling League at Brattleboro Bowl on Oct. 19. Stepping Stones (28-7) had a 5-0 week, while Hairiers (23-12) had a 0-5 week to leave them in first and second place, respectively. Four Pins (21-14) moved up to third, followed by Skippers and High Rollers (both 20-15), Four Seasons (19-16), No Splits (17-18), Dumblebor (15-20), and PEWJ (6-29).
Pam Greenblott had the women's high handicap game (240) and series (667), while Jerry Dunham had the men's high handicap game (259) and Rick Wescott had the high handicap series (701). Stepping Stones had the high team handicap game (883) and series (2,528).
Robert Rigby had the men's high scratch series (591) with games of 205, 196, and 190. Westcott had a 560 series with games of 200 and 187, and Marty Adams had a 508 series with a 198 game. Warren Corriveau Sr. and Dunham both had a 508 series, with Dunham rolling a 213 game, while Charlie Marchant had a 502 series. Bob Uccello had a 189 game and Skip Shine and Norm Oakes each ha a 185 game.
Carol Gloski again had the women's high scratch series (512) with games of 186, 164, and 162. Greenblott had a 168 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.