Boston High School: Colchester

New England Roundup: Vermont

May, 16, 2013
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The Rochester girls’ softball team was outscored 50-2 on May 4, when it lost both ends of a doubleheader against West Rutland. Rochester dropped the first game, 27-1, and lost the second contest, 23-1.

VermontA 19-2 loss to Rivendell Academy on Monday dropped the team's Division IV record to 0-7, but the news hasn't been all bad.

The doubleheader against West Rutland marked the first time Rochester had played a game at home since Hurricane Irene ruined the school's softball field in 2011.

“It was awesome to be out there,” Rochester coach Lisa Blair told The Burlington Free Press. “The players were just so excited to finally play there. The girls get a better field.”

Rochester, which won the Division IV state title in 2011, traveled to each of its games last season while a new field was constructed. Rochester's field now features a new electronic scoreboard.

LAMOTHE RETURNS TO HOME FIELD
Former Lyndon Institute pitcher Buddy Lamothe was honored before Lyndon's baseball game against Montpelier last week.

Lamothe, who led the Vikings to the Division II state title in 2009, suffered a spinal cord injury during a swimming accident two years ago that left him paralyzed from the waist down. Lamothe was playing for San Jacinto College in Texas when he was injured.

Lamothe had a 0.77 ERA with 28 strikeouts in 23 1/3 innings for San Jacinto. He was drawing interest from professional teams before the injury, and the Houston Astros picked Lamothe in the 40th round that year after the accident occurred.

MOVING UP
Girls’ lacrosse will likely have a new look next season.

The Vermont Principals' Association has proposed that BFA-St. Albans, Burr and Burton and Rice move from Division II to Division I starting in 2014. Rice and U-32 were both unbeaten after six games this season. Rice was 4-1-1.

If the proposal is approved, those three teams would join Brattleborough, Burlington, Champlain Valley Union, Essex, Middlebury, Mount Anthony, Mount Mansfield, Rutland, South Burlington and Spaulding in Division I.

Division II would have 15 teams: Chelsea, Colchester, Green Mountain Valley, Hartford, Harwood, Lamoille, Montpelier, Oxbow, Randolph, St. Johnsbury, Stowe, Stratton, U-32, Vergennes and Woodstock.

REPEAT PERFORMANCE?
The Essex softball team won the 2012 Division I state championship, and may be the team to beat again this season.

At 7-0, Essex is the only unbeaten team in Division I. The Hornets have outscored their opponents 83-17 in their seven victories.

TOUGH TO HIT
"Kayla Wood didn't allow a hit through nine innings of the Brattleborough softball team's season opener against Hartford, but the scoreless game was suspended in the 10th inning. Wood will try to complete her no-hit pitching performance when the suspended game resumes on May 29.

"Randolph Rachel Johnson had thrown two no-hitters through her team's first four games this season. Johnson, a sophomore, didn't allow a hit in victories over South Royalton and U-32.

Roger Brown is a staff writer for the New Hampshire Union Leader and has been covering high school sports throughout New England since 1992.

New England Roundup: Vermont

January, 9, 2013
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When Jason Thomas became Burr and Burton Academy's head football coach in 2008, the Bulldogs had suffered through nine consecutive losing seasons. Four years later he guided Burr and Burton to the Division II championship game.

VermontThomas will face a similar challenge this summer, when he coaches Vermont's Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl team.

New Hampshire has won the last 12 meetings with Vermont, and has outscored Vermont 433-145 in those 12 games. New Hampshire set a record for points in a game last summer, when its posted a 62-24 victory and increased its lead in the series to 44-13-2.

“I'm a Vermonter, and I have a lot of pride in our state,” Thomas said. “We're small, but we have some really good football players here.

“When you look at the size difference we don't have the linemen to line up and pound it at New Hampshire. I want to play at a tempo New Hampshire is not used to.”

Thomas, who played football at the University of Massachusetts, said he learned the basics of his fast-paced offense while he was an assistant coach at the University of New Hampshire, and current Oregon head coach Chip Kelly was UNH's offensive coordinator..

“Chip really laid the foundation for me in terms of offense and what I wanted to do,” Thomas said.

Mascoma Regional's Ray Kershaw will be New Hampshire's head coach. Mascoma, which began playing varsity football in 2008, had never posted a winning record until last season, when the Royals lost to Franklin in the Division VI championship game. Kershaw became Mascoma's head coach in 2010.

“Being named New Hampshire's Shrine coach was very exciting for me,” Kershaw said. “It's a great honor because of what the game is all about [raising money for the Shriners' hospitals].”

This year's Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl will be played Aug. 3 at Dartmouth's Memorial Field. The Vermont and New Hampshire rosters will be released later this month.

One of the first players Thomas selects will likely be quarterback Jake Stalcup, a three-year starter at Burr and Burton. Stalcup was named Vermont's Gatorade Player of the Year in 2011, following his junior season.

Stalcup passed for 2,613 yards and 31 touchdowns (nine interceptions) last season. He also threw 31 touchdown passes as a junior.

“He's as steady as they come,” Thomas said. “He doesn't really get rattled. He's 6-2, 200 pounds and has a live arm. He has 'it' as a quarterback.”

Practice for this year's game has been shortened from nine days to seven. There have also been added restrictions placed on how New Hampshire must select its roster. New Hampshire's initial roster before any injuries) must feature six players from each of the state's six divisions. In past year's New Hampshire was allowed to take more players from its larger schools.

New Hampshire has 57 schools with varsity football. Vermont has 34.

“To be honest I don't care about their selection process,” Thomas said. “I want their best against our best. This seems like it gives them an excuse if we do beat them.”

ROBERE NETS 1,000TH POINT
Brianna Robare became the second Winooski girls basketball player to score 1,000 career points when she tossed in 20 during a 53-42 loss to BFA-Fairfax on Saturday.

Robare reached the milestone when she made a 3-pointer with 2:06 left in the first quarter. Robare's sister Bobbi also scored 1,000 points for Winooski.

Chace Carpenter (17 points), Kayla Baczewski (15) and Meghan Bochanski (11) scored in double figures for BFA-Fairfaix, which improved to 6-0. The Bullets trailed by two points entering the fourth quarter, but outscored Winooski 17-4 over the final eight minutes.

The loss dropped the Spartans to 5-2.

TOOF REACHES CENTURY MARK
Mount Mansfield-South Burlington girls hockey coach Mickey Toof earned his 100th career coaching victory when MMU-SB defeated Colchester last week.

Toof is in his ninth season as a head coach. He was Burlington's head coach for four years, and is now in his fifth season with South Burlington.

Toof has an overall record of 100-64-15 in nine seasons.

VERGENNES BOYS OFF TO STRONG START
The Vergennes boys basketball team made 26 of 29 two-point field goal attempts during an 87-59 triumph over U-32 during the first round of the Fran Pinard tournament on Dec. 28.

Vergennes, which lost to Mount St. Joseph in last year's Division II championship game, is off to a 10-0 start this season. The Commodores picked up victory No. 10 by beating Montpelier 53-43 Saturday.

Roger Brown is a staff writer for the New Hampshire Union Leader, and has been covering high school sports throughout New England since 1992.

New England Roundup: Vermont

October, 23, 2012
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The playoff pairings for Division I football were released this week, and there was no surprise at the top.

VermontHartford, which punctuated an unbeaten regular season by defeating Rutland 47-37 last weekend, earned the No. 1 seed. The Hurricanes own a 23-game winning streak and have won four of the last five Division I titles.

Hartford, which went 8-0 during the regular season, has outscored its opponents 284-100 this year. The Hurricanes will face eighth-seeded South Burlington in Friday's quarterfinals. It will be the fifth time in the last six years that the teams have met in the postseason. Hartford is seeking its third consecutive state championship.

Friday's quarterfinals, (all games at 7 p.m.):

No. 8 South Burlington (4-4) at No. 1 Hartford (8-0)
No. 7 Champlain Valley (5-3) at No. 2 BFA-St. Albans (7-1)
No. 6 Colchester (5-3) at No. 3 Essex (6-2)
No. 5 Middlebury (5-3) at No. 4 Rutland (5-3)

The six teams that did not qualify for postseason play will play consolation games this weekend:

Friday:

Spaulding at Mount Anthony, Friday (7 p.m.)
St. Johnsbury at Burlington, Friday (7 p.m.)
Brattleboro at Mount Mansfield, Saturday (1 p.m.)

Note: The Division II and Division III playoff pairings will be released next week.

TOURNAMENT TIME
The playoffs in each of the state's four divisions for boys' soccer, girls' soccer and field hockey begin Tuesday. A look at the contenders in each division, by sport:

Boys' soccer: Middlebury earned the No. 1 seed in Division I, but second-seeded Champlain Valley (12-1-1) may be the team to beat. CVU's Shane Haley scored 20 goals during the regular season. … Montpelier and Burr and Burton were the preseason favorites in Division II, and both will enter the postseason unbeaten (14-0-0). Burr and Burton, which won last year's championship, is the top seed. … Defending champion Peoples Academy (10-2-2) earned the No. 1 seed in Division III, and didn't allow a goal in eight of its 14 regular-season contests. … Proctor (12-1-1) is the No. 1 seed in Division IV, but lost to second-seeded Twin Valley (11-3) earlier this season.

Girls' soccer: Top-seeded Essex (13-0-1) is the first Division I team to enter the postseason unbeaten in seven years. Second-seeded Champlain Valley (12-1-1) returned many key players from the team that won last year's Division I championship. … Montpelier is the top seed in Division II. The Solons (10-2-0) earned a first-round bye. … Peoples Academy (13-0-0) will be attempting to win its fifth Division III title in the last seven years. The Wolves have outscored their opponents 75-4 this season. … Proctor (13-0-1) is the top-seeded team in Division IV, and is one of three unbeaten girls teams in the state. The Phantoms allowed eight goals in their 14 games.

Field hockey: Top-seeded South Burlington (12-1-1) lost to Middlebury in last year's Division I championship game, and will be looking to take another step forward this year. … Division II might be the most competitive of the three divisions. Windsor (13-0-2) and U-32 (13-1-0) are the No. 1 and No. 2 seeded teams, respectively, but third seeded Mt. Abraham (9-4-1) is the only team that beat Division I South Burlington this season. Harwood (9-4-1), the No. 4 seed, won last year's championship. … Top-seeded Rice (12-0-1) is the clear favorite in Division III. The Green Knights won 11 of their 12 games by shutout, and have allowed one goal during the regular season.

WEBB SIGHTING
Mount Anthony Union junior Jesse Webb earned himself another trophy Sunday when he won the 285-pound (heavyweight) wrestling championship at the Super 32 Challenge in Greensboro, N.C.

Webb won the title by posting a 9-4 victory over Pennsylvania's Luke Fleck in the 285-pound final. He became the first Vermont representative to win a championship at the event, which featured wrestlers from 26 states.

Webb earned state championships in his weight class as a freshman and a sophomore. He had a bye Saturday, and won three matches Sunday to earn the title.

Roger Brown is a staff writer for the New Hampshire Union Leader and has been covering high school sports throughout New England since 1992.

New England Roundup: Vermont

October, 4, 2012
10/04/12
12:00
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So much for all of the hype. The marquee high school football game played in Vermont last weekend was decided before halftime.

VermontWoodstock, last year's Division III state champion, built a 40-point lead in the first half and breezed to a 47-6 road triumph over Poultney.

Each team entered the contest with a 4-0 record, but the game was so one-sided running time was used in the fourth quarter. Poultney was coming off a 55-34 victory over Division II Fair Haven, an outcome that had many believing the Blue Devils could upset the Wasps.

Woodstock fullback Ed Doton rushed for 134 yards and two touchdowns on nine carries – all in the first half.

Poultney's lead grew to 47-0 when Tom Bauman returned the second-half kickoff 79 yards for a touchdown and Hunter Schmell added the point-after kick.

Woodstock has scored at least 42 points in each of its five victories, and is averaging 43 points per game.

“We have to put it behind us,” Poultney coach Dave Capman told the Rutland Herald. “We know we are a good team, but once it started pouring we couldn't stop it. And Woodstock is a very good team.”

Poultney fullback Tyler Rice rushed for 111 yards on 16 carries. Rice ran for four touchdowns and had a touchdown catch in Poultney's victory over Fair Haven.

Vermont High School Football Standings
Each team's record and Quality Point Rating (QPR), which determines playoff seedings in each division, is listed in parenthesis.

Division I
Hartford (5-0, 8.750)
Rutland (4-1, 7.750)
BFA-St. Albans (4-1, 7.750)
Essex (4-0, 7.000)
Champlain Valley (3-2, 4.500)
Colchester (3-2, 4.500)
South Burlington (3-2, 4.500)
Middlebury (3-2, 4.375)
Mount Mansfield (1-4, 2.250)
St. Johnsbury (1-3, 1.500)
Burlington (1-4, 1.500)
Mount Anthony (1-4, 1.500)
Brattleboro (1-4, 1.500)
Spaulding (1-3, 0.875)

Division II
Rice (5-0, 6.222)
Lyndon (5-0, 5.222)
Bellows Falls (4-1, 4.667)
Milton (3-2, 3.222)
Fair Haven (3-2, 2.778)
Burr and Burton (2-3, 2.111)
Otter Valley (2-3, 1.778)
U-32 (1-4, 0.778)
North Country (0-5, 0.000)
Springfield (0-5, 0.000)

Division III
Woodstock (5-0, 5.667)
BFA-Fairfax (4-1, 3.556)
Mill River (4-1, 3.556)
Poultney (4-1, 3.556)
Mount Abraham (3-2, 2.333)
Windsor (2-3, 1.333)
Oxbow (1-4, 0.778)
Winooski (1-4, 0.778)
Mount St. Joseph (1-4, 0.556)
Montpelier (0-5, 0.000)

TEAM EFFORT
The Colchester boys' soccer team won its first eight games, and balanced scoring was one of the main reasons for the team's early success.

Through those eight games nine different players had scored at least one goal, and there were 14 played who had collected at least one point.

The team's balanced attack was never more evident than when seven different players scored in a 7-1 victory over Mount Mansfield.

'CAT WOMAN
Camille Rainville, a senior on the Missisquoi field hockey team, has committed to play field hockey at the University of Vermont. The Catamounts are a Division I program that competes in the America East Conference.

Rainville finished the 2011 season with 21 goals and 14 assists. She helped Missisquoi win the Division III state championship. She is also a member of Missisquoi's girls' ice hockey team.

When Missisquoi defeated Stowe 2-1 in last year's Division III championship game it gave the school its first Division III championship in any sport.

Roger Brown is a staff writer for the New Hampshire Union Leader. He has been covering high school sports throughout New England since 1992.

New England Roundup: Vermont

September, 6, 2012
9/06/12
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It’s been a long time since David Ball has heard the roar of the crowd at Spaulding High School’s Pendo Field, but he’s hoping the home fans will have plenty to cheer about Saturday.

VermontBall, a three-sport athlete at Spaulding who went on to a record-setting football career as a wide receiver at the University of New Hampshire, was hired as Spaulding’s varsity football coach in July.

Spaulding was winless in 2011, but Ball guided the Crimson Tide to a 28-16 season-opening victory over North Country last Friday. Up next: Saturday’s home opener against Colchester in Barre.

“I knew I would coach, but I didn’t know when,” Ball said. “And I didn’t know I would start as a head coach. Some top candidates fell through, and some other candidates were in the picture, but [the school] wanted more. They knew I was there – I was in town.

“I haven’t coached anywhere but camps. My experience has been my coaching 101.”

His experience includes a four-year career at UNH, where he broke Jerry Rice’s FCS (I-AA) record for career touchdown receptions. Ball, 28, left UNH with 304 career receptions, 4,655 receiving yards and 58 touchdown catches (Rice’s record was 50).

UNH wasn’t on Ball’s radar when he graduated from high school in 2002. In addition to playing football at Spaulding, Ball was a 1,000-point scorer in basketball and a record-setting high jumper on the track and field team. He planned to participate in those three sports at Division III Worcester State College until a few of his friends persuaded him to join them for a year of prep school at Worcester Academy.

His time at Worcester Academy – former Hawaii quarterback Colt Brennan was his QB there -- led him to UNH, where he earned a scholarship from head coach Sean McDonnell after his second practice.

Ball spent time with the Chicago Bears, New York Jets and three Canadian Football League teams before he turned his attention to teaching, and landed a physical education position at Spaulding. A short time later he added “varsity football coach” to his resume.

Spaulding is running a spread, no-huddle offense similar to the one Ball played in at UNH. Quarterback Jon Kilian scored four touchdowns – three rushing and one on an interception return – in Spaulding’s victory over North Country.

“The heart my boys went out there with was impressive,” Ball said. “It was one of the top highlights of my career.”

Ball, who has two assistant coaches, said among his biggest challenges is convincing more students to join the football team. Spaulding, a Division I school, currently has 46 players on its roster (JV and varsity). Of course it helps when the head coach played in the same program and is one of the most famous athletes the state has produced.

“I have players come up to me and say, ‘Do you remember signing an autograph for me when I was 11?” Ball said. “There’s no doubt it helps when you’ve had a lot of success inside those walls.

“It’s our job to put a team on the field that can compete.”

BIG-GAME HUNTING
Week 2 of the high school football season could provide two of the best matchups of the year. Hartford, which has won the last two Division I championships, will face BFA-St. Albans, and Middlebury will meet Essex. Both games will be played Friday night.

These are the top four teams in the state, as ranked by the Burlington Free Press.

Hartford had a scare in its opener, but posted a 13-7 victory over Colchester. The Hurricanes will be facing a BFA-St. Albans team that received two rushing touchdowns from Doug Saffo in a 26-6 triumph over St. Johnsbury Academy last weekend. These programs met in the 2010 Division I state championship game.

Quarterback Tyler Provencher passed for two touchdowns to lead Middlebury to a 28-6 victory over Mount Mansfield last Friday. The Tigers will be up against an Essex team that performed well in the Northeast 7-on-7 tournament in New Hampshire and Massachusetts in June. Essex opened its season by beating Brattleboro, 48-7.

CHAMPIONSHIP SITE MOVED
Vermont's three state championship football games will be played at South Burlington High School this year.

The championship games have been held at Castleton State College in each of the last two years, but the Castleton State football team has a home game scheduled for Nov. 10, which is when the football tripleheader is also scheduled to be played.

Roger Brown is a staff writer for the New Hampshire Union Leader and has been covering high school sports throughout New England since 1992.

New England Roundup: Vermont

May, 25, 2012
5/25/12
1:08
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Who's the team to beat in Division I softball this season?

VermontThat's the question some were debating before last Friday's game between Essex High School and BFA-St. Albans. Each team entered the contest with a 12-0 record.

Essex seemed to put the argument to rest by posting a 12-0 victory.

Senior Alexis Perry carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning, and settled for a two-hitter with eight strikeouts. The Hornets scored in every inning.

Essex owned a 15-0 record entering Thursday's game against North Country. It was the team's final regular-season contest.

Perry, who will play softball at Division II Merrimack College, is what separates Essex from the state's other top teams. Through 11 games she had 106 strikeouts in 54 innings, and was batting .591. She has a 45-4 record in her high school career

“She's a hard-worker,” Essex co-head coach Bill O'Neil told the Burlington Free Press earlier this season. “She's not one to just sit on what she's got – she's always looking to get better.”

Perry pitched a perfect game when Essex defeated Middlebury 3-0 on May 12. She struck out 12 and threw 74 pitches in the victory.

Eight of the Hornets' 15 victories have come by shutout. The team has allowed more than one run twice this season – victories over Milton (13-3) and Mt. Abraham (6-2).

Essex won the state title in Perry's freshman season, but dropped 1-0 decisions to Brattleboro in the 2010 and 2011 playoffs. Perry pitched a no-hitter in the loss to Brattleboro last year.

“We are not going to lose to them 1-0 again,” Perry told the Free Press. “This is our year.”

MORE SOFT TOSS
The Burlington softball team hasn't won a postseason game in 15 years – a play-in victory over Rice – but that may change this spring.

Despite suffering back-to-back losses against Milton and Essex, Burlington is 10-5 entering its final regular-season game Thursday (at BFA-St. Albans).

The Seahorses, who do not have a senior on their roster, strung together nine consecutive wins earlier this season.

(Read full post)

New England Roundup: Vermont

May, 4, 2012
5/04/12
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Burlington's Centennial Field may be the home of Vermont baseball, but for the last two years it hasn't been the home for Vermont's high school baseball championship games. That will change this June.

VermontAfter a two-year absence, Vermont's four championship games will return to Centennial Field this year. The announcement was made Tuesday during a press conference that included Bob Johnson, president of the Vermont Principals' Association; University of Vermont athletic director Bob Corran; and Burlington mayor Miro Weinberger.

Weinberger played high school baseball at Woodstock, which won a state championship at Centennial in 1987.

“I am one of the hundreds of Vermonters who has had the amazing experience of playing for a high school state championship on Centennial Field,” Wienberger said. “Twenty-five yeas later my memory of that spring evening under the lights in Burlington is one of my most cherished. I am very happy today to mark the return of these championships to our city and to know that hundreds more Vermont high school ball players will participate in this grand Vermont tradition in the years ahead.”

Centennial Field is home to the Vermont Lake Monsters, Oakland's Single-A affiliate in the New York-Penn League. The state's four championship games will be played at Centennial Field for the first time since 2009. The championship games are tentatively scheduled to be played June 8-9.

“The Lake Monsters organization is thrilled to bring the high school baseball championship games back to Centennial Field and the city of Burlington,” Lake Monsters general manager Nate Cloutier said. “The Lake Monsters would also like to acknowledge the efforts from the Friends of UVM Baseball group in helping to return the VPA baseball championships back to Centennial.”

The four championship games were played at Centennial from 1993 to 2009, but were moved to Montpelier's Rec. Field in each of the past two years.

“The Vermont Principals' Association Is looking forward to the return of the high school baseball championships to Centennial Field,” Johnson said. “We appreciate the efforts of the Vermont Lake Monsters in making this happen and we look forward to working with the Lake Monsters in the future.”

(Read full post)

New England Roundup: Vermont

March, 16, 2012
3/16/12
4:11
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Defense carried the BFA-St. Albans boys hockey team to this year's Division I championship game, and it was defense, more than anything else, that allowed the Bobwhites to claim the program's 16th state title.

VermontJunior goaltender Andre Morin made 20 saves as third-seeded BFA-St. Albans defeated fifth-seeded Colchester 5-1 in the Division I final played Tuesday night at the University of Vermont's Gutterson Fieldhouse.

The Bobwhites (19-4-0) allowed three goals in their three tournament games, which included victories over Rice (6-0) and North Country (3-2).

Taylor Raftery, Mike Schreiner and Peter Dukas provided the offense for BFA-St. Albans, which beat Colchester (15-8-1) for the third time this season.

Ryan Francis scored for Colchester, which needed five overtimes to defeat Essex in the semifinals.

Second-seeded U-32 dominated Tuesday's Division II championship game and skated to a 5-1 triumph over top-seeded Northfield.

Andrew Danyew, Forrest Smith, Kyle Ferguson, Colvin Rice and Kyle Elliott scored for the Raiders (18-3-2), who spit two regular-season games against Northfield.

Billy Whaley scored for Northfield (20-3-0).

ESSEX, BURR & BURTON FINISH ON TOP
Vermont's girls hockey season ended Monday night, when Essex and Burr & Burton each won a state title at Gutterson Fieldhouse.

Fifth-seeded Essex earned the Division I championship by beating third-seeded South Burlington 2-1; and top-seeded Burr & Burton won the Division II title with a 4-1 triumph over third-seeded Stowe.

Essex (13-8-2) and South Burlington (15-5-4) were tied entering the third period, when Melissa Moldovan collected what turned out to be the game-winning goal shortly after an Essex power-play opportunity had expired.

Freshman goaltender Victoria Gibson made 15 saves for the Hornets, who beat South Burlington in two of three regular-season meetings. All three Essex wins came by one goal.

Julia Hudson scored South Burlington's goal.

Freshman Abby Marmer scored twice in Burr & Burton's victory. Marmer finished the season with a team-high 23 goals.

Junior Erin Thompson and freshman Jordan Harmon also scored for the Bulldogs, who raised their record to 21-1-0. Burr & Burton received 16 saves from junior goaltender Meg Chandler.

Sam Haab scored for Stowe (18-4-1).

LOTS OF HOOPLA
Recaps of Vermont's four boys basketball championship games:

Division I: Tom Lacy scored 11 points and pulled down 10 rebounds as top-seeded Mount Mansfield defeated second-seeded Rice 41-34.

Mount Mansfield (23-1) also received nine points from Troy Springer – all in the second half – and eight points and eight rebounds from Eric Suder.

Casey Tipson scored a game-high 16 points for Rice, which led by five at halftime. Tim Rensch added nine points and 14 rebounds for Rice, which won last year's title.

Mount Mansfield took control by outscoring Rice (22-2) 16-4 in the third quarter.

Division II: An 18-6 run in the the third quarter helped top-seeded Mount St. Joseph defeat top-seeded Vergennes 56-48.

Shannon Murray tossed in a game-high 13 points for MSJ, which won its first title since claiming the Division I championship in 1999. John Dewey (12) and Matthew Sanborn (10) also scored in double digits for MSJ (22-2).

Shep Carter led Vergennes (21-3) with 15.

Division III: Fifth-seeded Williamstown capped a strong postseason run with a 66-42 upset victory over second-seeded Rivendell (16-7).

It was the second title in three years for Williamstown, which won the Division IV championship in 2010. Williamstown made 27 of 43 free throw attempts in the victory.

Seth Atherton (18) and Jason Manwaring (16 points, seven rebounds) were Williamstown's leading scorers. Dylan Pelletier (16) led Rivendell (21-3).

It was the third meeting between the teams. Rivendell won both regular-season meetings.

Division IV: David Codling scored 17 points and grabbed 10 rebounds as top-seeded Twinfield beat third-seeded Danville 61-52.

Twinfield (22-2) also defeated Danville (18-6) twice during the regular season, and in last year's championship game.

Avery Whitcomb scored 15 points for Twinfield, which also received 12 points and 10 rebounds from Chad Copeland.

Tony Burrington (20) and Kyle Johnson (14) led Danville.

ILLINGWORTH WINS GATORADE AWARD
Hartford's Sarah Illingworth, a 6-foot-1 senior center, has been selected as Vermont's Gatorade Player of the Year for girls basketball. She is the first girls player from Hartford to win the award, which is based on athletic excellence, academic success and high character.

Illingworth averaged 12.8 points, 10.3 rebounds and 1.4 steals during the Division II regular season. She will continue her basketball career at UMass-Lowell next season.

Roger Brown is a freelance writer who has been covering high school sports throughout New England since 1992.

New England Roundup: Vermont

February, 28, 2012
2/28/12
3:38
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In recent years Vermont's head coach for the Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl has looked like someone about to start a fistfight wearing handcuffs.

VermontNew Hampshire has nearly twice as many schools with varsity football as Vermont, and that usually translates into more talent on the field. Rutland's Mike Norman, Vermont's head coach for this summer's game, will be trying to end New Hampshire's 11-game winning streak.

“Having done this a couple times, I know we're not gonna have as many big kids or skill kids as New Hampshire,” Norman said when the Vermont roster for this year's game was announced last week. “You have to have kids who are willing to stand up to New Hampshire during the game.”

This year's contest will be played Aug. 4 at Dartmouth College. New Hampshire leads the series 43-13-2.

Norman, who has guided Rutland to seven state championships, coached the Vermont Shrine team in 1998 and 2001. Vermont won 21-13 in 1998, and New Hampshire prevailed 21-0 in 2001.

“We're gonna try to do what we do – and what that is remains to be seen,” Norman said. “I know we'll have to defend the run, have a solid kicking game and be able to run the ball enough to make them defend it.”

Mike Beliveau, the head coach at Souhegan High School in Amherst, will be New Hampshire's head coach. Believeau was New Hampshire's head coach in 2000, when Vermont posted a 47-40 victory. It was the highest-scoring game in the event's history.

Beliveau has led Souhegan to four state championships and 14 championship game appearances in the last 14 seasons.

“For me the priority was to put together a quality offensive line,” Beliveau said. “The second thing I was looking for was a couple of quarterbacks who would be able to pick up the offense quickly.”

New Hampshire has prevailed by using a power running game the last few years, but Beliveau said New Hampshire fans can expect to see his team throw the ball often this summer.

“We will be different than the last few New Hampshire Shrine teams, when their were 60 snaps and maybe five or six passes,” Beliveau said. “We'll be way more balanced than that.”

Hartford's Tucker Stone, a three-year starter, and Fair Haven's Robert Coloutti will be Vermont's quarterbacks. Each led their team to a state championship last season.

“A lot of this game is gonna be determined by who your quarterbacks are,” Norman said. “We think we have two pretty good ones.”

Practice for this year's game will begin July 26 at Kimball Union Academy in Meriden.

“I like the overall athleticism of the group,” Norman said. “We have kids who will compete, and that's important against New Hampshire.”

(Read full post)

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.

New England Roundup: Vermont

November, 16, 2011
11/16/11
5:47
PM ET
Woodstock Union High School football coach Jim McLaughlin won the 200th game of his coaching career Saturday, and it couldn't have come at a better time.

VermontMcLaughlin guided top-seeded Woodstock to a 27-7 victory over third-seeded Windsor in the Division III championship game at Castleton State College. It was the eighth state title McLaughlin's teams have won in his 30 years as a head coach.

Junior fullback Ed Doton did most of the damage for Woodstock, which began the season with back-to-back losses before winning nine in a row. Doton rushed for 255 yards and three touchdowns.

“If you look at it as a puzzle, the pieces really came together for us as the season went along,” McLaughlin said.

Woodstock, which led 14-0 at halftime, held Windsor running back Matt Rafus to 40 yards on 14 carries. Rafus finished the season with 1,881 yards rushing and 27 touchdowns.

Windsor's only touchdown came on a blocked field goal attempt that Ethan Hill returned 75 yards. Windsor completed its season with a 7-4 record.

In Saturday's other championship games top-seeded Hartford beat third-seeded Middlebury 42-6 to win the Division I title; and third-seeded Fair Haven outscored fourth-seeded Burr and Burton 57-34 to win the Division II title.

Hartford 42, Middlebury 6
Hartford dominated on both sides of the ball and won its fourth championship in the last five years.

Miles Latham rushed for 102 yards and two touchdowns, and Troy Bell ran for 109 yards to help the Hurricanes completed an unbeaten season (11-0). Hartford scored four second-half touchdowns.

Middlebury (9-2) played without quarterback Dillon Robinson, who was injured in the team's semifinal victory over BFA-St. Albans. Middlebury's only touchdown came when Marshall Hastings returned a kickoff 79 yards for a score.

Hartford, which had a 444-88 edge in net offense, outscored its opponents 508-112 this season.

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New England Roundup: Vermont

October, 20, 2011
10/20/11
12:36
PM ET
After a three-year absence, the Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl will return to Dartmouth College's Memorial Field next summer.

VermontThe all-star football game between high school players from Vermont and New Hampshire has been held at Dartmouth 48 times, but was played at Windsor High School in each of the last three years because of construction to the stadium surrounding Memorial Field. The 2012 game will be played on Aug. 4.

"I'm very excited about the revival of Dartmouth's half-century tradition of hosting the Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl Game," Dartmouth president Jim Yong Kim said. "We're proud to make our facilities available to Vermont and New Hampshire high school athletes in recognition of their dedication to such an excellent cause as the Shriners Hospitals for Children."

Of the 30 Shrine football games played across the country every year, the Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl ranks third in terms of money raised for the Shriners Hospitals. The event is sponsored by the three Shrine Centers of New Hampshire and Vermont -- Bektash (Concord, N.H.), Cairo (Rutland) and Mt. Sinai (Montpelier) – and has raised more than four million dollars since it was first played in Nashua, N.H., in 1954.

"The Board of Governors of the Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl Football Game is sincerely grateful to Dartmouth College for agreeing to host the 2012 game at their beautiful stadium at minimal cost to us," said Jerry Mason, president of the Board of Governors of the Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl. "This will certainly help to increase our contribution to Shriners Hospitals for Children."

New Hampshire won last year's game 45-21 and stretched its winning streak to 11 games. New Hampshire leads the all-time series 43-13-2.

Coaches for next year's game will be announced later this year. The teams from each state will be announced in February.

New Hampshire has 57 high schools that play varsity football. Vermont has 34.

The Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl was first played at Dartmouth in 1958. The game has also been held in Burlington, and four other New Hampshire locations: Holman Stadium (Nashua), Athletic Stadium (Manchester), Plymouth State University (Plymouth) and Cowell Stadium (Durham).

"We are pleased and proud to host the Shrine Bowl again, as we understand the importance of the event to the entire Twin States region," Dartmouth athletic director Harry Sheehy said. "We are grateful for President Kim's leadership in making it financially feasible for the game to return to Memorial Field and generate as much support as possible for Shriners Hospitals.”

(Read full post)

New England Roundup: Vermont

October, 5, 2011
10/05/11
11:11
PM ET
One of biggest questions when the Vermont high school football season began remains unanswered: Can anybody beat Hartford?

VermontThe Hurricanes, who won last year's Division I title, are off to a 5-0 start even though they played without starting quarterback Tucker Stone (suspension) for the last two games. Hartford is averaging 40 points per game and has allowed 52 points in its five contests.

Any thought of Champlain Valley Union (4-1) challenging Hartford this season seemed to disappear following last weekend's 48-0 loss to BFA-St. Albans.

CVU, which moved from Division II to Division I following the 2010 season, committed five turnovers and allowed 451 yards on the ground in the loss. BFA-St. Albans received 177 yards rushing and two touchdowns from Sam Rose, and 123 yards rushing and two touchdowns from Doug Saffo.

BFA-St. Albans (4-1) lost to Hartford in last year's Division I championship game and dropped a 21-0 decision to Hartford earlier this season.

Other than Hartford, Middlebury (5-0) is the only unbeaten teams in Division I. Middlebury, which will not play Hartford during the regular season, will face BFA- St. Albans on Friday night.

The Vermont Principals' Association released its first official football standings this week. Each team's win-loss record and Quality Point Rating (QPR) appears in parenthesis. The QPR determines playoff seedings for each division:

Division I
1. Hartford (5-0, 8.500)
2. BFA (4-1, 8.500)
3. Middlebury (5-0, 7.625)
4. Champlain Valley (4-1, 6.250)
5. South Burlington (4-1, 6.000)
6. Rutland (3-2, 4.250)
7. St. Johnsbury (3-2 4.000)
8. Colchester (3-2, 3.750)
9. Brattleboro, 1-4, 1.500)
10. Essex (1-4, 1.250)
11. Mt. Anthony (1-4, 1.250)
12. Burlington (0-5, 0.000)
13. Mt. Mansfield (0-5, 0.000)
14. Spaulding (0-5, 0.000)

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New England Roundup: Vermont

September, 22, 2011
9/22/11
12:03
PM ET
Many coaches and media members identified North Country as the high school football team to beat in Division II this season. So far, the Falcons have done nothing to prove those people wrong.

VermontNorth Country passed its toughest test of the season and raised its record to 3-0 by defeating Fair Haven 28-26 Saturday.

North Country trailed 26-16 at halftime, but took its first lead when fullback Adam Pothier scored on a 6-yard run with 4:48 to play. The loss dropped Fair Haven's record to 2-1.

“Our expectation were high,” North Country coach Bob Davis said. “We felt this was going to be a very good season. We start mostly seniors, and for a Vermont high school team we are pretty big.”

North Country finished with a 5-4 record and missed the playoffs last season. Tailback Nick LeClair and quarterback Tre Sanville are among the 22 seniors on this year's roster. LeClair and Sanville are both three-year starters. LeClair rushed for more than 1,000 yards last season, and Sanville missed half of his junior season with a knee injury.

The team's first two games ended in lopsided victories: 50-0 over Spaulding and 73-6 over U-32.

“We play option football,” Davis said. “When it gets rolling you can really tear up the yardage.”

LeClair, Sanville and Pothier operate behind a veteran offensive line that includes Adam Fortin, Cody Collins, Riley Simoneau, Ben Bonneau, Jason Webster and Lance Buffi.

North Country hasn't won a state championship since 1997, when it captured the third of three-consecutive titles. North Country hasn't played in a championship game since 2004, when it lost to South Burlington.

Davis will likely know even more about his team following Saturday's game at Rice (2-1), which won last year's Division II championship.

“Things are still evolving [in Division II], but I think Rice is definitely a contender,” Davis said. “They're a spread team and our defense is still evolving so the key will be our ability to establish the run.

“I've heard people mention Fair Haven, Milton and Burr and Burton as contenders. I think at the beginning of the year we we viewed as a strong contender as well. Hopefully they'll keep thinking that way.”

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New England Roundup: Vermont

September, 9, 2011
9/09/11
4:22
PM ET
Super conferences may be the thing of the future in college football, but the concept is getting a test drive at the high school level in Vermont this fall.

VermontFour teams – Champlain Valley Union, Colchester, Middlebury and Mount Mansfield – moved from Division II to Division I in the offseason, which created a 14-team league at the top of Vermont's three-division format.

“In the past we always tried to have an even number of teams in each division,” CVU coach Jim Provost said. “What was happening is there were schools in Division II that started to do well and belonged in Division I.

“In the last two years, from top to bottom, there was more parity in Division II than there was in Division I. I think there's better balance across the division now.”

The following alignments will be in place through the 2012 season:

Division I:
Essex; Champlain Valley; BFA-St. Albans; Rutland; Mount Mansfield; Colchester; Middlebury; Spaulding; Mount Anthony; Hartford; Burlington; Brattleboro; South Burlington and St. Johnsbury.

Division II:
North Country; U-32; Lyndon; Milton; Springfield; Bellows Falls; Burr and Burton; Fair Haven; Rice Memorial and Otter Valley.

Division III:
BFA-Fairfax; Windsor; Mount Abraham; Mill River; Woodstock; Poultney; Montpelier; Oxbow; Winooski and Mount St. Joseph.

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