There was a special community moment at Brown Field in Springfield on Friday night October 14. It was Senior Night 2016. The Cosmos were pummeled by Poultney/ Mount Saint Joseph 27-0. Wait a minute, what’s special about that?
Actually nothing was special about that. In fact, 27-0 isn’t anything compared to 42-6, 48-6, 56-6, 48-0 and 42-6, scores of the other Springfield losses this season. The opening paragraph said it was a special night, so let this piece go forward and be constructive, not backwards any longer.
There was a big crowd present for the game at Brown Field; despite the fact the night was the coldest evening of the fall to date. Springfield supports its football team. It has drawn good numbers for all the home games. The Cosmos also travel well on the road. Ask people about how they may have had at least as many fans at Missisquoi as the hometown team. That is going some.
Then there was opening night at Bellows Falls. A number of people had my ear about whether this game, should be played any longer. Most people see it now that this contest is men against boys. It cannot be fun for either team people say. BF could have written their own score this year.
But the people turned out to see the 100th or whatever number edition it was of the game. And they turned out in mass. I was in front of the Springfield stands doing my job and soaking in the atmosphere, —-wait a minute—- soaking in what atmosphere? How can there be an atmosphere for a game like this? The same team has won for a while now and by a lot to a little. I don’t have the answer to that question, it was a great atmosphere and the kids deserve it.
However that was the 42-6 game on the list of scores published above. In this day and age, times have changed. It was never right for a team to be blasted every week; kids today will not compete in a sport forever, which has the score 42-6 or worse every week. The average score of the Cosmos losses printed earlier in this article is 44-4. Even throwing away the factor of an injury risk, a program will not survive with that type of a total on an average over any period of time.
The special community moment speaks well for a town, despite the wonderful support of the Green and White faithful, Springfield football is not getting better. Before you start pointing your finger at Rich Saypack and the Cosmos staff, realize, this is a program that was diminished to the junior varsity level just a short time ago. Some of the best most competitive games the Cosmos have had since then, were against Fall Mountain, Winooski and Montpelier. Two of those programs no longer exist and Fall Mountain played a game last week with fourteen healthy bodies and lost to Stevens 60-0. Springfield is doing as good as they can right now. They must walk, before they can run.
Successful Bellows Falls coach Bob Lockerby and one of his assistants Don Laurendeau stopped by Brown Field the night of October 14 and both marveled at the crowd on hand. Bellows Falls fans show their support on a regular basis for the Terriers, this was a 1-5 Springfield team on a frigid night. They clearly picked up, that this was a WOW moment.
On the same night, signs of coming apart surfaced within the Cosmos. This was a night that both the Green and White and I, expected a victory or a down to the wire battle against Poultney/ Mount Saint Joseph, a winless team. I believe that the beatings Springfield has received week after week had taken its toll on this Springfield eleven and this time, when they fell behind; there was no resolve to be found.
I don’t want to hear from the old timers about “How back in my day, we would have just sucked it up.” The truth is today is much different and despite the fact this group does have to put in more of a commitment, especially in the offseason, the rules of those bygone days (no matter how good they might have been), are so far gone today, that if you wait for today’s youth to jump on board and follow them, there will eventually be no football in Springfield. The fact that forty-one players play football 9-12 in Springfield is a big plus in the long run. The Cosmos are starting to get the walk.
Springfield does not sit alone with football being a problem in Vermont. The sport is broken and short of going to four divisions, which both the Vermont Principals Association and the state’s coaches, steadfastly refuse to do, nothing is likely to help. Even four divisions will still have its’ blemishes.
When any sport has 83.6 percent of its games considered one sided (in football that means decided by 14 or more points) with more than half (53.1 percent) of those contests having the winning team scoring more than 40 points and more than half (52.3 percent) of the losing teams scoring less than 10 points, with the average scores of your 128 games over eight weeks totaling 38.8-10.8 and you don’t take the pains to make sure things get better, there is a serious neglect issue and those on the bottom tend to suffer.
In case you are wondering things in New Hampshire aren’t any better. Just taking last Saturday as an example the scores were: 35-0, 14-6, 31-14, 41-6, 26-0, 39-35, 43-0, 41-16, 41-12, 44-0, 7-6, 33-13, 32-9, 28-0, 48-16, 21-6 and 64-0. That small sampling saw the average score land at 34.2- 8.2 with 41 percent of the winners scoring over 40 points, 65 percent of the losers not able to score 10 points and 83 percent of the encounters being determined by more than 14 points. Serious realignment is needed in the Granite State as well.
Fall Mountain’s losses are by the count of 48-6, 18-14, 57-14, 40-0, 48-8, 44-6 and 60-0. The team had only fourteen players for the Stevens game and coach John Callahan made more decisions about who could play where on every play than he did about strategy. New solutions are needed. It is time to think outside the box. These student/athletes matter.
The state associations should bless these teams to get creative. It would be much better to take Springfield, Missisquoi and Poultney/MSJ from Vermont and Fall Mountain and Raymond from New Hampshire to form their own little league for a couple of years. They play home and home series (eight games) and crown their champion. There would be more competitive games and just maybe after the two years is over, some of those programs would be ready for their own state play. The idea might not be great yet it sure beats what is playing out now.