Boston High School: Jim Provost

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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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

July, 14, 2011
7/14/11
2:15
PM ET
Practice for this year’s Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl won’t begin until July 28, but what was already a steep climb for Vermont has become even steeper.

Vermont, which hasn’t beaten New Hampshire in the all-star football game since 2000, recently had two players opt out of the game: wide receiver Mike Triller (Rutland) and wide receiver Mike DiMambro (Essex).

VermontTriller won’t participate because he’s scheduled to play baseball at Clemson next season, and DiMambro accepted a track and field scholarship from the University of Rhode Island.

“I guess [DiMambro] was getting a little bit of heat [from Rhode Island] about playing in the game,” Vermont coach Jim Provost said. “We’d like to have both of them, but we had replacements within half an hour, so we’re at 36 strong.”

DiMambro caught 39 passes for 609 yards and 10 touchdowns last season. His 19 career TD receptions rank second in school history. Ben Price (St. Johnsbury) has replaced DiMambro on the Vermont roster.

Triller caught 37 passes for 630 yards last fall. Lance Elithorpe (Mount Anthony) has replaced Triller.

This year’s game 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 and leads the series 42-13-2.

Provost served as the head coach at Rice Memorial for 14 seasons, and completed his third season at Champlain Valley Union last fall. His Redhawks lost in the 2009 Division II championship game, and reached the Division II semifinals in 2010.

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

“I’ve tried to run the ball against them and that didn’t work,” Provost said. “Whatever the plan is it boils down to mistakes and turnovers. It would help if we could find a way to keep New Hampshire from scoring a lot of points.

“I don’t see us playing a lot of kids two ways, but we do have a couple kids we’d like to see on both sides of the ball at some points.”

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Football, Vermont, Lacrosse, New England Roundup, Ice Hockey, Softball, Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl, Mount Abraham, Brattleboro, Montpelier, Hartford (Vt.), Colchester, Mount Anthony, South Burlington, Essex (Vt.), Mike DiMambro, Middlebury, Champlain Valley Union, Jim Provost, Rice Memorial, Burlington (Vt.), BFA-St. Albans, Ashley McDonald, Sarah Reid, Lance Elithorpe, Chris Childs, Mariah Lesure, Mike Triller, Burr and Burton, Jamie Panton, Brooke Panton, Eric Palmer, Josh Cassarino, Jesse Burke, St. Johnsbury, Katie Ritter, Whitney Ladd, Chelsea (Vt.), Nathaniel Wells, Kim Liberty, Sawyer DeVries, Michelle Upham, Alyssa Amos, Morgan Tullar, Tory Chouinard, Lawrence Dee, Nick Schmell, Abel Warden, Jake Marston, Travis Elliot-Knaggs, Mike Maloney, Owen Walsh, David Barrett, Bea Teasdale, Jon Sullivan, Jeff Lawler, Marty Harrison, Hayden Hoelscher, Cavan Little, Tyler Jarvis, Lucas Zelazny, Dillon Robinson, Connor DeVarney, Marty DiVenuti, David Sartorelli, Harry Foreman, Brendon Malone, Deagan Goodman, Martin Chandler, James Bean, Mike Flynn, Nathan Smith, Mack Yandow, Hans Halvorsen, Ben Nussbaum, Kyle Mackenzie, Myles McGowan, Mitch Grimmer, Jake Jansen, Derrick McGrath, Kyle Paganelli, Max O'Leary, Kate Kurchena, Halley Fisher, Olivia Steimke, Chrissy Ritter, Lis Kelley, Amanda Kinneston, Anne-Marie Farmer, Allie Flaherty, Melissa Gfeller, Grace Wright, Amber Legacy, Linnae O'Neil, Emma Oliver, Paige Levesque, Molly Higgins, Mattea Ringey, Annie Barker, Madison Davis, Mercedes Godin, Kaleigh Heath, Kate Raszka, Brandi Whittemore, Tess Bugbee, Erin LeBlanc, Dana Nelson, Maria Ploof, Ashlyn Raymond, Jasmine Braman, Kasey Flynn, Reilly Johnson, Meghan Hart, Willow Smith, McKenzie Garone, Kate Murphy, Aria Robinson, Brooke Sabol, Casey Snyder, Emma Cummings, Paxton Boyer, Emily Speck, Piper Perrone, Haleigh Carbone, Green Mountain Valley, Susan Campbell, Chelsea Stanclift, Machaela O'Brien, Katy Ranaldo, Christine Skeffington, Maya Tracey, Felicia Neuhof, Rory Halligan, Kate Montague, Amanda Bowen, Mariah Palmer, Leilani King, BFAS-St. Albans, Kate Dillon, Courtney Sanford, Taylor Kresconko, Allison Hayes, Taylor Kerylow, Ashley Watson, Rainey Paquette, Hannah Ruede, Jillian Emery

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

February, 9, 2011
2/09/11
3:19
PM ET
Essex High School girls basketball coach Shawn Montague said he entered the 2010-11 season confident that his team was among those that had a chance to win the Division I state championship.

VermontHe might not admit it, but Montague probably had second thoughts following a 39-34 loss to Hartford on Jan. 7. That loss dropped the Hornets’ record to a mediocre 3-3.

Since then Essex has won nine games in a row, however, and seems to have established itself as one of the favorites in Division I.

“I thought we had all the pieces to be good,” Montague said. “It took us a few weeks to get going. We needed until the end of December or early January to find out who we are.”

Essex is a team that’s been winning with defense. The Hornets have allowed an average of 31 points per game during their winning streak. No opponent has scored more than 43 points in those nine games.

Unlike many teams, Essex rarely uses a press. The Hornets beat teams with exceptional half-court defense.

“Defense – that’s completely it,” Montague said. “I think it’s the sole reason why we’ve been successful. It’s tough to counter a good man-to-man defense.”

Montague is in his ninth season as the program’s head coach. He steered Essex to the 2006 state title, and will have to beat teams like Rice (11-3), Rutland (9-4), Champlain Valley (10-5), and South Burlington (12-3) to claim this year’s championship.

“It’s really tough to pick one or two teams as the teams to beat because a bunch of teams are good,” Montague said.

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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.

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New England Roundup: Vermont

September, 29, 2010
9/29/10
12:15
PM ET
J.P Benoit had something extra to play for, and it showed.

VermontBenoit, a running back for Champlain Valley Union, scored three touchdowns Saturday to help CVU post a 21-3 victory over Mount Mansfield. Benoit’s grandmother, Marilyn Palmer, died two days earlier, and Benoit dedicated the game to her. He switched his number from 21 to 17 for the contest because 17 was the number Palmer wore when she played softball.

“They were really, really tight,” CVU coach Jim Provost said. “She was very involved in his life.

“Her death was sudden, so it really rocked his world. He was very determined to carry us that night.”

Benoit returned a punt 31 yards for a touchdown, scored on a 1-yard touchdown run and caught a 10-yard touchdown pass. He finished the game with 116 yards rushing on 17 carries.

“J.P. and I have a relationship that goes back a long way,” Provost said. “I was his elementary school principal when he was in third grade. I wish you could meet the kid, because he’s a prince. He’s not my son, but I kind of view him like that. I’m tough on him and he really likes it that way. He likes to be challenged.”

The victory over Mount Mansfield improved CVU’s record to 3-1 overall and 3-0 in Division II. The Redhawks dropped from Division I to Division II following the 2008 season, and lost to Colchester in last year’s Division II championship game.

Up next for CVU is Saturday’s contest at unbeaten Rice Memorial (4-0). Rice is coming off last weekend’s 58-19 triumph over Burlington.

“It’s a big game for a lot of reasons,” Provost said. “It’s just a pivotal game in our league. It’ll definitely have playoff implications because our whole division is really competitive from top to bottom. Plus I coached at Rice for 20 years.

“They’re very diversified offensively. We’ll have to stay away from the big play and make them drive the length of the field.

“It’s gonna be huge, and it will be packed. Our school travels very well.”

RUNNING TIME
It was also a good week for the CVU girls' cross country team, which finished first in the elite division at the Manchester (N.H.) Invitational cross country meet. The Manchester Invitational is a NIKE-sponsored event that attracts some of the top runners in the Northeast.

CVU has won six Division I championships and a New England title since 2003. The Redhawks also won the Manchester Invitational in 2005.

Adrienne Devita (13th), Summer Spillane (14th), Julienne Devita (15th), Taylor Spillane (19th) and Aleksey Jordick (22nd) were CVU’s top five finishers.

SHORT-HANDED
Mount St. Joseph Academy has announced that it won’t field boys' or girls' hockey teams this season because neither program has enough players.

MSJ athletic director Marty McDonough made the announcement earlier this month during the Vermont Interscholastic Hockey League meeting in Montpelier.

Bob Johnson, associate director of the Vermont Principals’ Association, said because the news came early enough, teams that were on MSJ’s schedule should have time to schedule additional games.

QUICK START
The Middlebury football team scored on three of its first four offensive plays during Saturday’s 55-14 triumph over Brattleboro.

Brendan Burrell, Marshall Hastings and Steel White scored on touchdown runs of 38, 54 and 47 yards, respectively, to help the Tigers build a 21-0 lead with 4:42 remaining in the first quarter.

The victory raised Middlebury’s record to 4-0 overall and 3-0 in Division II.

MILESTONE MAN
Harwood Union girls' soccer coach Jon Hammond won his 100th game as a high school coach when Harwood beat People’s Academy, 2-1, on Sept. 22. Laura Moore scored both goals for the Highlanders.

OF NOTE
  • Two of the state’s top boys' soccer teams will clash when Essex meets CVU on Saturday. CVU, which beat Burr and Burton to win last year’s Division I championship, got off to a 5-0-1 start this season and didn’t allow a goal in those six games. Essex, which lost to Burr and Burton in last year’s semifinals, began the week with a 6-0-0 record.
  • The Burlington girls' soccer team opened the season with a loss to Montpelier, but posted victories in its next five games. The Seahorses have won the last two Division I championships.
  • Hartford (7-0-0) and South Burlington (5-0-0) entered the week as the state’s only unbeaten field hockey teams. Both teams compete in Division I.
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.

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