Boston High School: Christian McCormick

New England Roundup: Vermont

February, 15, 2012
2/15/12
3:19
PM ET
Colchester High School's Lauren Bernard was selected as Vermont's Gatorade Player of the Year for girls' soccer when she was a junior. She may have been an even easier selection for the award following her senior season.

VermontIt was announced last week that Bernard, a senior forward, was named the state's top girls soccer player for the second consecutive year.

“She’s very strong technically and her left foot is deadly,” Vergennes coach Dwight Irish said. “If she has a little bit of room and she’s anywhere near the goal, she’s going to change the game.”

Bernard collected 24 goals and five assists last fall, when she led Colchester to the Division I quarterfinals. She is a two-time All-American (selected by the National Soccer Coaches' Association of America), a former member of the U.S. Soccer Federation Under-15 Girls National Team and is currently in the USAF's Under-18 player pool.

Bernard has signed a national letter of intent to play soccer at Boston College.

By winning at the state level, Bernard became a candidate for the Gatorade National Girls Soccer Player of the Year Award, which will be announced in May.

Previous winner of the award include Brittany Pfaff (2009-10, Rice), Natalie LeClair (2008-09 and 2007-08, Essex), and Emily Milbank (2006-07, CVU).

MCCORMICK, HOLBROOK SELECT SCHOOLS

Former Rice quarterback Christian McCormick and Milton lineman Jamie Holbrook have each decided where they will play football next season.

McCormick, who is currently spending a year of prep school at the Berkshire School in Sheffield, Mass., accepted a preferred walk-on spot by the University of New Hampshire. Holbrook signed a national letter of intent to play at Southern Connecticut University.

"What really stood out is the campus reminded me of being at home, but with football," McCormick said. "I'm excited about UNH. I know it's the right place for me."

McCormick was named Vermont's Gatorade Player of the Year following his senior season, when he threw for 2,619 yards and 37 touchdowns and led Rice to the Division II state championship. He was also Vermont's quarterback in last year's Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl.

McCormick helped Rice win state championships in basketball in his sophomore and senior seasons.

He also had an opportunity to join UNH as a walk-on last year, but opted for a year of prep school instead.

"Neither me or my dad thought I was ready for college academically," he said. "Holy Cross showed some interest and Wagner did too. There were also some Division III schools interested, but I wanted to try and compete at the highest level I can. [UNH] felt like a winning atmosphere."

Holbrook, who plays on both sides of the ball, also looked at UNH and several prep school options before he chose SCSU, a Division II school that competes in the Northeast-10 Conference.

ESSEX WINS SHOWDOWN

Second-period goals by Steve Morse and Steve Jurkiewicz helped the Essex boys' hockey team extend its regular-season unbeaten streak to 29 games (27-0-2) by beating South Burlington 4-2 Saturday in a battle between the state's two best ice hockey teams.

Essex raised its record to to 14-0-1. The Hornets haven't suffered a setback since they lost to Champlain Valley in last year's Division I championship game.

South Burlington, which entered the contest with a 13-game unbeaten streak, fell to 14-2-0.

After Pat Abbott handed Essex a 1-0 lead with a power-play goal, South Burlington responded with goals by Eric Craig and Sam Finkelstein. Essex regained the lead on goals by Morse and Jurkiewicz, and then J.T. Begnoche added an empty-net goal to complete the scoring.

Essex received 17 saves from Pat Campbell. South Burlington's Nathaniel Young stopped 29 shots.

SHOOTING STARS

Winooski point guard Devon Rollins and Lake Region point guard Kylie Atwood each scored the 1,000th point of their varsity careers recently.

Rollins reached 1,000 points when Winooski defeated Northfield, 67-41, on Feb. 1. Atwood tossed in her 1,000th point during Lake Region's 44-32 triumph over BFA-Fairfax on Monday night.

Rollins, a senior, entered the game six points shy of 1,000, and reached the milestone when he connected on a 3-pointer in the first quarter. He finished the game with 22 points.

Atwood needed 16 points against BFA-Fairfax to reach 1,000. She finished with 17, 13 of which came in the second half.

Roger Brown has been reporting on high school sports in New England since 1992. He publishes the New Hampshire Football Report, and covers high school football recruiting in the Northeast for ESPN/Scouts Inc.

Jacques delivers NH 11th straight Maple Sugar win

August, 7, 2011
8/07/11
12:33
AM ET
WINDSOR, Vt. –- Some years the Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl is won with size. This year it was won with speed.

The Vermont defense spent much of Saturday's game chasing New Hampshire running back Max Jacques, and didn't have much luck catching him. Jacques, who can run a sub-4.5 40-yard dash, set a Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl record by rushing for 265 yards on 26 carries in New Hampshire's 45-21 triumph.

Jacques, who scored three TDs, broke the record set by former Plymouth High School standout Mike Boyle, who ran for 206 yards in the 2004 game. Boyle went on to play at the University of New Hampshire.

“I can just say without my line I couldn't have done that,” Jacques said. “I saw yesterday in the Shrine book that the record was 206 (yards) and I told the line, 'Guys, let's go break a record. It's your record too.

“I just tried to keep my feet moving. Keep the legs pumping and when I saw daylight I took off.”

Jacques, who led Salem High School to the Division I championship as a junior, will play at Marist College in the fall. He gained 178 yards on 16 carries in the first half.

“He's just outstanding,” Vermont coach Jim Provost said. “Every time he touched the ball my heart was in my throat – for good reason. We just couldn't get our hands around him. He knows how to follow his blocks and when you have a line like that to run behind, that's what happens.”

It was the 11th consecutive victory for New Hampshire, which now holds a 43-13-2 edge in the series.

Vermont was within seven, 21-14, at halftime, but New Hampshire took control by scoring three touchdowns in the third quarter.

The first second-half TD came on a 66-yard pass from Winnacunnet quarterback Steve Cronan to Bishop Guertin running back Mike Kelly on New Hampshire's opening drive in the quarter. Kelly will play at UNH this season.

Following a Micah Morton interception, Timberlane's Nick Lawrence capped a 12-play, 87-yard drive with a 2-yard TD run. Laconia's Kyle Behan made the the fifth of his six point-after kicks to make it 35-14 with 4:07 left in the quarter.

Jacques followed with a 43-yard touchdown run –- his third of the game –- on New Hampshire's next possession.

“Can't say enough good things about Max,” New Hampshire coach Chris Childs said. “At halftime the kids said, 'Let's pound the rock, coach.' That's what our attitude was in the second half. You could see late in the third quarter that their defensive linemen were starting to hang their heads. They were starting to get worn down.”

Vermont quarterback Christian McCormick (Rice Memorial) completed 22 of 48 passes for 278 yards and two touchdowns, but was intercepted four times. Vermont, which took a 7-0 lead on the game's opening possession, ran the ball six times for 18 yards.

Vermont wide receiver Troy Davine caught seven passes for 117 yards and two touchdowns. Wide receiver Kareem Hines (South Burlington) scored Vermont's other TD on a 64-yard catch.

Lawrence scored New Hampshire's other TD on a 3-yard run with 30 seconds left in the first quarter. New Hampshire led 21-7 at that point.

Cronan rushed for 69 yards on five carries, and completed three of six pass attempts for 92 yards.

Jacques set the rushing record with just under five minutes left in the third quarter. His three touchdowns tied a Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl record held by seven other players.

Jacques also holds the Salem High School record for career rushing yardage (4,559).

New Hampshire also set the record for team rushing yardage (441).

“At halftime I thought we were in the game,” Provost said. “Then we didn't do the one thing we said we needed to do, and that's stop them on their first drive (in the second half).”

“I hoped that we could have controlled the ball by having a little bit more of a possession-type of game, so we could get more first downs, tire the defense out and keep 22 (Jacques) on the sideline.”

NH going for 11 straight in Maple Sugar Bowl

August, 6, 2011
8/06/11
5:26
AM ET
MERIDEN, N.H. -- New Hampshire will enter Saturday's 58th Annual Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl in a familiar role: as the heavy favorite.

Vermont hasn't beaten New Hampshire since 2000, and Vermont's offense and defense can share the blame for the current 10-game losing streak. New Hampshire's last 10 victories have come by an average score of 32-10.

Containing New Hampshire's running game may be the key to an upset Saturday. New Hampshire has completed two passes in the last two years – one TD pass in each game – but has won those games 40-6 (2009) and 34-20 (2010).

“Generally speaking, if we can force them to throw the ball that's a win for us,” Vermont coach Jim Provost (Champlain Valley Union) said. “Absolutely, I think New Hampshire is a run-oriented offense. If we can contain their running game that's gonna bode well for us.

“The key for us defensively against what we anticipate seeing from New Hampshire is to be disciplined in our assignments. We really need to play team defense and try to force some turnovers. Make them uncomfortable as early as possible.”

Making the New Hampshire offense uncomfortable is coach speak for making New Hampshire pass the football. New Hampshire has attempted nine passes in the last two years and although two were good for touchdowns, two others were intercepted.

New Hampshire will run the Wing-T offense, and Winnacunnet's Steve Cronan has been named the team's starting quarterback.

“I think it's gonna be awfully tough to completely shut them down,” Provost said. “The only way we're gonna be able to do that is to keep their offense on the sideline. We gotta control the ball.”

Saturday's game will be played at Windsor (Vt.) High School. The opening kickoff is scheduled for 2:30 p.m.

New Hampshire has won 27 of the last 30 games and leads the series 42-13-2.

New Hampshire has three running backs on its roster who will play Division I (FCS) football this fall: Bishop Guertin's Mike Kelley (UNH), Salem's Max Jacques (Marist) and Lebanon's Cody Patch (Dartmouth). Patch suffered cracked ribs during practice at Kimball Union Academy, but has been cleared to play.

“I think running back is our deepest position,” New Hampshire coach Chris Childs (Lebanon) said. “We've got three Division I kids back there. We'll just have to see how Cody feels.”

Provost tried to run the ball against New Hampshire when he was Vermont's head coach in the 1990 Shrine Game. New Hampshire prevailed 35-0 that year.

Vermont will run a spread offense Saturday. Among Vermont's key weapons will be Rice Memorial quarterback Christian McCormick and Hartford fullback Trevor Wood. McCormick, Vermont's Gatorade Player of the Year, completed 262 passes for 2,619 yards and 37 touchdowns last fall, when he guided Rice to the Division II championship. He was intercepted three times.

“I really think the key for us is getting pressure on the quarterback,” Childs said. “We expect them to throw the ball all over the place and we can't let him sit back there and pick us apart. From what I've been told he can really throw the ball.”

Proceeds from the Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl benefit the Shrine Hospitals in Boston, Montreal and Springfield, Mass.

“We're the underdog obviously,” McCormick said. “We haven't won in 10 years, but we're a new team and they're a new team. It's not like it's the same teams playing every year, so as a team we think we're in a good enough position to try and win. The confidence is there.”

New England Roundup: Vermont

August, 2, 2011
8/02/11
2:06
PM ET
Rice Memorial quarterback Christian McCormick knows all about Vermont's drought in the annual Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl.

VermontHe knows Vermont hasn't posted a victory since 2000, and that only one of New Hampshire's 10 victories since then has come by fewer than 14 points (New Hampshire won 23-20 in 2007).

He also knows that just about everybody is picking New Hampshire to win again when the teams meet Saturday (2:30 p.m. kickoff) at Windsor High School. Vermont trails in the series 42-13-2.

“We're the underdog obviously,” McCormick said. “We haven't won in 10 years, but we're a new team and they're a new team. It's not like it's the same teams playing every year, so as a team we think we're in a good enough position to try and win. The confidence is there.”

Vermont will rely heavily on McCormick, Vermont's Gatorade Player of the Year. He completed 262 passes for 2,619 yards and 37 touchdowns last fall, when he guided Rice to the Division II championship. He was intercepted three times.

Vermont is expected to use primarily an air attack on Saturday. That's the offensive strategy that produced a 47-40 triumph in 2000. Since then, however, Vermont has failed to score more than seven points in the game six times and has been shut out twice. The average score of New Hampshire's last 10 victories has been 32-10.

“They're a little bigger obviously, but we're gonna use what we have,”McCormick said.

What Vermont has is a bunch of good receivers for McCormick to throw to, and a big back in Hartford's Trevor Wood.

“We're expecting them to throw the ball all over the place,” New Hampshire coach Chris Childs (Lebanon) said.

It seems likely that Vermont will have to score a lot to win, but the key to a Vermont victory may be how well the Vermont defense performs. New Hampshire has scored at least 34 points in six of the last 10 games.

“The key for us defensively against what we anticipate seeing from New Hampshire is to be disciplined in our assignments,” Vermont coach Jim Provost (Champlain Valley Union) said. “We really need to play team defense and try to force some turnovers. Make them uncomfortable as early as possible.”

(Read full post)

New England Roundup: Vermont

May, 4, 2011
5/04/11
1:55
PM ET
Although it’s the spring sports season, basketball made headlines last week when St. Johnsbury Academy hired former St. Michael’s College coach Tom O’Shea as its boys' basketball coach.

VermontO’Shea replaces Bill Fitzgerald, who resigned at the end of the 2010-11 season.

“I think it’s a great opportunity to work up there,” O’Shea told the Burlington Free Press. “I think coaching is coaching. It’s a different level, but it’s still trying to get the most out of the kids and develop their skills. I’m looking forward to it.”

O’Shea was St. Michael’s head coach for 13 seasons before he resigned following the 2009-10 season. He is the program’s leader in career victories (176) and steered the Purple Knights to a school-record 27 victories during the 2000-01 season. St. Michael’s made two appearances in the NCAA Division Ii tournament during O’Shea’s tenure.

O’Shea’s 2000-01 St. Michael’s team won the Northeast-10 Conference regular-season and tournament championships, and reached the NCAA tournament’s Sweet 16.

Although St. Johnsbury Academy is a private boarding school, it also serves as the high school for local residents. The school’s boys basketball program competes in Division I.

This will be the first time O’Shea has coached at the high school level since he was South Burlington’s junior varsity coach while he was playing at the University of Vermont. He graduated from Vermont in 1987.

O’Shea will also serve as the school’s assistant director of admissions.

“We are excited to have someone with Tom’s experience joining our coaching staff,” St. Johnsbury Academy assistant headmaster Beth Choiniere said. “His years at St. Michael’s College show that he knows what it takes to build successful programs.”

TIGHT AT THE TOP
There appears to be no clear favorite in Division I baseball, where every team has suffered at least one loss.

Rutland is unbeaten against in-state competition (8-0), but dropped a 13-4 decision to Amherst (Mass.) last weekend. Rutland has outscored in-state competition 93-26, and scored at least 11 runs in six of its eight games.

Essex (5-1), Colchester (4-1), Rice (4-1), BFA-St. Albans (4-1) and Mount Anthony (7-2) are among the other contenders. Essex will play at Colchester on Thursday.

NFF HONORS RICE PLAYERS
Rice Memorial wide receiver Billy Weaver and Rice quarterback Christian McCormick were each recognized at the Vermont Chapter of the National Football Foundation’s annual banquet last weekend at Castleton State College

Weaver, a junior, received the Most Courageous Athlete Award. He has overcome Crohn’s Disease to play three years of football for the Green Knights.

McCormick, a senior, received the Pride of Vermont Award, which goes to the most outstanding high school football player in the state.

BRATTLEBORO LOOKS UNBEATABLE
No softball team is off to a stronger start than Brattleboro, which improved its Division I record to 7-0 by beating Mount Anthony 15-0 on Monday.

Brattleboro has scored 96 runs and allowed seven. The Colonels have shut out four teams, and have scored at least 10 runs in six of their seven games. The team’s only scare came during a 2-1 victory over Stevens of Claremont, N.H. Brattleboro has also beaten Keene, N.H., 10-3.

DELAY OF GAMES
More than 40 high school athletic events were postponed because of unplayable field conditions Tuesday, and wet fields and bad weather has been the theme for Vermont’s high school athletes, coaches and athletic directors this spring.

Many Division II boys and girls lacrosse teams have yet to play their first game.

The Vermont Principals’ Association normally requires schools to play seven-inning doubleheaders, but is allowing five-inning games for doubleheaders this spring.

Teams are also required to complete at least 60 percent of their regular-season games to participate in their sport’s postseason tournament, but the VPA has discussed the possibility of waiving that rule this year.

ODDBALL OCCURANCE
Mount Mansfield’s Sam Spencer pitched 10 1/3 innings against BFA-St. Albans last Friday, but didn’t get the win. BFA-St. Albans starter Andrew Delaricheliere also pitched 10 1/3 innings, but failed to collect the win as well.

BFA-St. Albans won the contest when Nick Swim scored on Ruben Gilbert’s squeeze bunt in the 11th inning. Colin Howrigan threw four pitches in the top of the 11th to earn the victory.

Delaricheliere allowed four hits and struck out five. Spencer limited BFA-St. Albans to three hits and finished with six strikeouts.

PERFECT PERFORMANCE
Damian Smith tossed a five-inning perfect game to lead Blue Mountain to a 16-0 triumph over Chelsea on April 21.

Smith, who threw 60 pitches, struck out 12 of the 15 batters he faced. He also collected three hits in the victory.

Roger Brown has covered high school sports in New England since 1992. He currently covers high school and college football in the Northeast for ESPN/Scouts Inc.

New England Roundup: Vermont

April, 21, 2011
4/21/11
12:34
PM ET
Athletically, the 2010-11 school year has been an exceptional one at Rice Memorial High School.

The Green Knights won the Division II championship in football last fall, and the boys and girls basketball teams each won the Division I title during the winter.

“It’s an exceptional senior class, both athletically and academically,” Rice athletic director Lloyd Hulburd said. “They’ve been a joy to watch. It’s quite an accomplishment because we have 365 kids and we’re competing against some schools with more than 1,000 students.”

Rice will be shopping for another state championship this spring. The school’s baseball team returned seven starters – all seniors  from a team that finished 16-3 last season, when the Green Knights lost to Essex in the Division I semifinals.

“Talent-wise this is our year,” Rice coach Lloyd Bachand said. “We’re pretty optimistic.”

Rice also returns its top six hitters from a year ago. That group includes center fielder Christian McCormick, who hit .500 with four home runs and 22 RBIs last season; and pitcher/infielder Nicky Elderton, who hit .478 with four home runs last spring.

McCormick and Elderton are two of the four players on the baseball team who also played varsity football and varsity basketball during the current school year.

“McCormick has tremendous power, but he also hits for average,” Bachand said.

Elderton, who posted a 4-1 record with a 1.81 ERA last season, is the team’s No. 1 starter. He pitched a complete game and struck out nine when Rice defeated Burlington 6-1 in the opener for each team last week.

Pitcher/first baseman Zac Poland was 4-0 on the mound and hit .586 last spring despite missing some of the season with an injury.

“McCormick, Nicky and Zac – those are our three studs,” Bachand said.

The pitching staff has been bolstered by 6-foot-7 junior Tim Rensch, who missed last season with a broken thumb. Bachand said he also expects a significant contribution from sophomore pitcher Will Conroy.

“Rensch throws really hard and he’ll be our No. 1 reliever,” Bachand said. “He’s a battler. We’re expecting big things from him.”

Rice won five games in 2008 and 10 in 2009 before posting 16 victories last spring.

“We can play defense, but pitching and offense is definitely our strength,” Bachand said. “We look good on paper, but we have a lot of work to do.

“This is our best opportunity [to win a championship] in the four years I’ve been here. The senior class is special.”

MOUNT ST. JOSEPH, U-32 HIRE FOOTBALL COACHES

Castleton State College assistant coach Jeff Cassarino has been hired as the head football coach at Mount St. Joseph Academy, and Williamstown athletic director Brian Divelbliss has been hired to replace Mike Law as the head football coach at U-32.

Cassarino, who coached defensive linemen at Castleton State, was an assistant coach at MSJ in 2008. He served as the head coach at Mill River for five reasons.

Cassarino replaces Torrey Allard, who spent one season as MSJ’s head coach. It was the Mounties’ first season in Division III.

Divelbliss said he plans to resign from his AD position at the end of the current school year and will accept a teaching position at U-32. Law served as U-32’s head coach for 17 seasons.

DUNHAM MAKES COLLEGE CHOICE

Lamoille Union’s Chelsea Dunham, a 6-foot-1 senior, will continue her basketball career at Southern New Hampshire University in Manchester, N.H., next season.

Southern New Hampshire is a Division II program that competes in the Northeast-10.

Dunham averaged 17.3 points, 10 rebounds and six blocks per game as a senior, when she helped Lamoille win its second consecutive Division II championship.

PAYSON WILL GUIDE MILTON SOCCER

Cory Payson was recently hired to coach the Milton girls soccer team.

Payson, who teaches at Milton Elementary School, spent 14 seasons as the boys soccer coach at Winooski, but resigned from that position to accept the Milton job. Payson guided Winooski to the Division III championship game in 2009.

Payson replaces Stephanie Hurley, who steered Milton to the last three Division II championship games The Yellowjackets have won 10 Division II state championships, most recently in 2009.

TWIN-STATE CLASSIC FOLDS

The Twin-State Basketball Classic, an annual all-star game between seniors from Vermont and New Hampshire, has been discontinued after 30 years. The decision was made primarily for financial reasons.

The New Hampshire boys and girls each won 18 of the 30 games played between the two states. New Hampshire’s interest in the game dwindled in recent years, when the game was held at the University of Vermont.

Roger Brown has covered high school sports in New England since 1992. He currently covers high school and college football in the Northeast for ESPN/Scouts Inc.

New England Roundup: Vermont

March, 25, 2011
3/25/11
5:00
PM ET
It’s been quite a school year for Rice Memorial seniors Christian McCormick and Austin Robinson.

VermontMcCormick and Robinson helped Rice win the Division II football championship last fall, and each player tossed in a game-high 19 points as Rice won the Division I boys basketball championship Saturday by beating Rutland 55-49 at the University of Vermont’s Patrick Gymnasium.

“So far it’s been a fun year,’ McCormick said. “We’ll see what happens during baseball season.”

Robinson scored seven of his 19 points in the fourth quarter, when Rice outscored Rutland 22-12.

“Never thought I’d win two titles in my senior year,” Robinson said. “Might have to play a spring sport now.”

The victory handed Rice (22-2) its 12th title overall, and third in the last five years.

Alex Snyder, a 6-foot-7 center, led Rutland with 12 points and 13 rebounds. Tre Hysell added 10 points for Rutland (20-3), which was trying to win its first state championship since 1967.

Rutland outscored Rice 19-10 in the third quarter and led 36-33 entering the fourth, but lost to Rice in the postseason for the third consecutive year. Rice beat Rutland 61-58 in overtime during the regular season.

(Read full post)

New England Roundup: Vermont

February, 23, 2011
2/23/11
2:00
PM ET
Champlain Valley Union football coach Jim Provost likes what he sees when he looks at the Vermont roster for this summer’s Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl.

VermontProvost, who will coach Vermont in the all-star game against New Hampshire, sent out invitations to 36 players and all 36 committed to play in the contest. Vermont wasn’t able to put its best team on the field last year, when Essex quarterback Max Librizzi – the state’s Gatorade Player of the Year  declined to participate while he prepared to begin his college career at Holy Cross.

“We were 36 for 36,” Provost said. “I was very happy about that. I like our depth at the receiver position. We’re hoping that will be a position of strength for us. We like the backs we took too.”

Rice quarterback Christian McCormick and Hartford running back Trevor Wood are among the players on the Vermont roster, which was announced last Friday. McCormick, who guided Rice to last year’s Division II state championship, was named the 2010 Gatorade Player of the Year. Wood helped Hartford win the Division I state title.

“Picking the linemen was the toughest part,” Provost said. “New Hampshire has more kids to pick from, so hopefully our depth will be as good as their depth. I think our starters have been comparable to their starters the last few years. It always comes down to that second group.”

New Hampshire extended its winning streak to 10 games when it posted a 34-20 victory over Vermont last year. New Hampshire leads the all-time series 42-13-2.

This year’s game will be played Aug. 6 at Windsor High School.

This is the second time Provost has served as Vermont’s head coach. He was also Vermont’s head coach for the 1990 game. New Hampshire prevailed 35-0 that year.

(Read full post)

New England Roundup: Vermont

January, 26, 2011
1/26/11
5:01
PM ET
Paul Pecor guided the Rice Memorial boys basketball team to two Division I championships in his first seven seasons as the program’s head coach, so it made headlines when he called the 2010-11 Rice team the most talented group he’s ever coached.

VermontThen Rice made headlines again when it lost to an 0-2 Mount Mansfield team that failed to score more than 47 points in either of its first two games.

Pecor said that loss may have been a good thing, and it’s hard to argue otherwise. Since then the Green Knights have won seven games in a row to raise their record to 8-1. Rice’s latest victory came Tuesday night, when it avenged its earlier loss to Mount Mansfield, 55-34.

“Everybody was freaking out and saying we were overrated after that loss, but you know what? It helped us. It refocused us,” Pecor said. “I’m literally watching us get better as we go.”

That’s not good news for other Division I teams. Rice returned four starters from a team that won nine games last season: sophomore forward Marcus Willingham, sophomore guard Casey Tipson, junior forward Jake Maynard and junior forward Tim Rensch. Willingham, Tipson and Rensch are each averaging more than 11 points per game.

The Green Knights also added guard Austin Robinson, a transfer from Burlington High School, to the mix. Robinson is averaging 14.1 points per contest.

Pecor said the most indispensible player on the roster isn’t a starter, however. It’s senior Christian McCormick, a senior captain who agreed to come off the bench.

McCormick, a guard, was the starting quarterback for the Rice football team, which won the 2010 Division II championship. He was named the state’s Gatorade Player of the Year for football.

(Read full post)

New England Roundup: Vermont

December, 16, 2010
12/16/10
1:40
PM ET
It’s been a long time since a Vermont football team beat New Hampshire in the Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl, and Champlain Valley Union coach Jim Provost is hoping that drought will end this summer.

VermontProvost has been named Vermont’s head coach for the 2011 Shrine Game, which will be played Aug. 6 at Macleay-Royce Field in Windsor, Vt. New Hampshire stretched its winning streak to 10 games by posting a 34-20 victory last summer.

“The timing has a lot to do with it staff-wise,” Provost said when asked why he applied for the coaching position. “My staff will all be CVU coaches. Plus sometimes you just get the itch.”

Provost served as the head coach at Rice Memorial for 14 seasons, and recently completed his third season at CVU. His Redhawks lost in the 2009 Division II championship game, and reached the Division II semifinals last fall.

Provost also served as Vermont’s head coach for the 1990 Shrine Game. New Hampshire posted a 35-0 victory that year.

Lebanon coach Chris Childs was named New Hampshire’s head coach for next year’s game. Childs guided Lebanon to an unbeaten season and the Division IV state championship last fall.

New Hampshire leads the series 42-13-2.

(Read full post)

New England Roundup: Vermont

November, 24, 2010
11/24/10
2:37
PM ET
Quarterback Christian McCormick produced a season’s worth of highlights during the final week of his high school football career.

VermontA week after he led Rice Memorial to the Division II state championship, McCormick guided the North to a 74-48 victory over the South on Saturday in the 10th Annual Vermont Senior All-Star Game.

McCormick completed 19 of 28 passes for 347 yards and six touchdowns in the victory, even though he played a little more than half of the game. The teams set a record for points scored in the all-star game (122).

“I had a lot of weapons and that made it a lot of fun,” McCormick said. “There were a lot of guys out there who can make plays. It makes it a lot easier when you can just throw it up there and you have guys who can go get the ball.”

The North also received a strong performance from Burlington quarterback Grady Breen, who completed 9 of 17 passes for 167 yards and three touchdowns. Burlington’s Ben Vachereau caught five pass for 98 yards and three TDs.

The North’s Mike DiMambro (Essex) and Nicky Elderton (Rice) each had two TD receptions.

South running back Tyler Wood (Hartford) rushed for 111 yards and two touchdowns on 18 carries, but the South had five passes intercepted, including four in the second half.

South quarterback Troy Davine completed 16 of 32 passes for 293 yards and three touchdowns. Fair Haven’s Nick Bruno, the South’s other QB, was 20 of 34 for 170 yards and two TDs.

Mac Stannard (Fair Haven), Lance Elithorpe (Mount Anthony), Mike Marino (Burr and Burton), and Brendan Hacket (Bellows Falls) each had a TD catch for the South.

The North has a 6-4 edge in the series.

FOOTBALL REWIND
Highlights from Vermont’s three state championship football games:
  • Division I: Second-seeded Hartford claimed its third championship in four years by posting a 33-0 triumph over top-seeded BFA-St. Albans. Jackson Young (181 yards) and Wood (158 yards) led Hartford’s rushing attack. Each scored two touchdowns. Hartford (9-2) controlled the ball for nearly 38 minutes. BFA-St Albans (10-1) didn’t get a first down until the third quarter. The game couldn’t have been more different from the regular-season contest between the teams. BFA-St. Albans won that matchup 42-0. Hartford turned the ball over nine times in the loss. The Bobwhites were trying to win their first state championship since 1960.
  • Division II: McCormick passed for 303 yards and four touchdowns to lead third-seeded Rice to a 38-20 victory over top-seeded Middlebury. Austin Robinson caught seven passes for 108 yards and two touchdowns for Rice, which had 403 yards of total offense. Rice (10-1) has 19 seniors on its roster. Middlebury (10-1) trailed 16-14 at halftime, but surrendered the first 22 points in the second half. Robison caught two touchdown passes in the third quarter. Marshall Hastings scored two touchdowns for Middlebury.
  • Division III: Ryan Hayward scored four touchdowns to help top-seeded Bellows Falls (8-3) defeat second-seeded Windsor 39-22. Hayward rushed for 104 yards on 17 carries, and returned the second-half kickoff 92 yards for a score. The Bellows Falls program has won 10 state championships. Mount St. Joseph is the only Vermont program with more. Windsor (9-2) turned the ball over four times in the first half (three interceptions). Running back Matt Rafus ran for 177 yards and three touchdowns for Windsor, which won last year’s Division III title. Bellows Falls beat Windsor 20-0 during the regular season.
GROWTH AT THE TOP
The Champlain Valley, Colchester, Mount Mansfield and Middlebury football programs will move from Division II to Division I next season. Division I will have 14 teams and will expand its playoff format from four to eight teams.

Each Division I team will play an eight-game schedule to determine the playoff field. The six teams that do not qualify for the playoffs will meet in Week 9, when the Division I quarterfinals will also be played.

Divisions II and III will each have 10 teams, four of which will advance to the postseason.

Bellows Falls and Springfield will also change divisions next season. Each program will move from Division III to Division II.

Roger Brown has covered high school sports in New England since 1992. He currently covers high school and college football in the Northeast for ESPN/Scouts Inc.

New England Roundup: Vermont

November, 10, 2010
11/10/10
2:51
PM ET
Vermont will hold its three state championship football games Saturday at Castleton State College. It will be the first year all three games will be played on the same day at the same location.

VermontThe schedule:

Division I
No. 1 BFA-St. Albans (10-0) vs. No. 2 Hartford (8-2), 2 p.m.

Division II
No. 1 Middlebury (10-0) vs. No. 3 Rice Memorial (9-1), 5 p.m.

Division III
No. 1 Bellows Falls (7-3) vs. No. 2 Windsor (9-1), 11 a.m.

Windsor will be trying to avenge its only loss – a 20-0 setback to Bellows Fall on Oct. 9 – in the Division III matchup. Another shutout seems unlikely, since Windsor running back Matt Rafus gained 437 total yards and scored six touchdowns in last weekend’s 55-28 semifinal victory over BFA-Fairfax.

Rafus gained 375 yards and five touchdowns on the ground, and caught a 62-yard TD pass from quarterback Austin Soule. Rafus has rushed for 1,701 yards and scored 28 touchdowns this season.

“Matt is probably one of the two fastest kids in the state,” Windsor coach Jim Taft said. “He’s a track guy, but he’s really a football guy who does track. A lot of his runs have been for 40 yards or more.”

“If you don’t get (Rafus) right away he’s gone,” Bellows Falls coach Bob Lockerby added. “They have other weapons, but it all starts with him.”

Windsor, last year’s Division III champion, is playing in the Division III title game for the fourth consecutive year.

(Read full post)

SPONSORED HEADLINES