THIS+ THAT

During the World Series a week ago, someone said: what a wonderful time of the year this is. There are four professional sports all playing at once. Fall college sports are still going, the winter ones have just started or are about ready to begin, and the high school play-offs are going on. I love this time of year!

He might love this time of year, but not only is my head spinning, I can’t watch or attend close to a quarter of what I want to. I guess younger people are mostly excited by highlights and results, while for me the game is the thing.

I have been around to witness the last five decades of World Series, and I am not sure how you follow the sport, but the 2017 series was definitely one for the ages. One team, Houston, had never won and the other one, Los Angeles, hadn’t been in or won a World Series since 1988; which means unless you are at least pushing 30, you don’t remember them playing. I was basically neutral this time around and that made for even greater enjoyment of the Fall Classic.

Yes, the games are way too long, but the play on the field and the competition was of high quality. I am a pitching and defense guy, but regardless, the two teams play excited this old guy, even when the final score was an unheard of 13-12.

While on the subject of championships, as expected, the move up the ladder to Division II did not stop the title express of the Bellows Falls field hockey program. Coach Bethany Coursen created her youth feeder program years ago, back when the varsity had troubles even fielding 11 players. Now the program just keeps on giving. Terrier football has always been reinforced by the community’s Pee Wee program, but most football playing towns have similar but possibly not equal programs. I am not aware of any Vermont communities with a field hockey feeder program such as BF. Coursen has earned the position she is in.

Neither the once-beaten Green Mountain Lady Chieftains or the three-loss Fall Mountain Lady Wildcats were able to capture their state title soccer match, but both teams had one heck of a season.

Carolynn Hamilton’s team representing the Chester-based school, advanced as far as any team in the school’s history. Back in 2010, Julie Walton’s (Parah) team journeyed into overtime and beyond with Stowe in a classic contest at Castleton State College, before bowing tragically on penalty kicks. This year’s team didn’t go to overtime, but they have the honored distinction to be undefeated until the final. Both teams were remarkable and have a place in area lore forever for a job well done.

The Fall Mountain Girls captured the New Hampshire Division III state title a year ago and were not considered a title threat in most people’s minds in the fall of 2017, but when this year’s Granite State title game went to overtime, the Wildcats were still alive and well. Not only that, but they battled to the final penalty kick, which just happened to be a little high. They were as good as the best, and for this team to almost equal the title heroics of the year before, all kinds of molding and sacrifice had to take place.

Two special area girls’ soccer teams. Two tremendous seasons. Don’t let anyone tell you anything different.

Five area football players were named as participants in the Vermont North-South football game to be held at Middlebury College at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 18. The South squad will be coached by Rich Saypack of Springfield. The Bellows Falls Terriers will have three representatives: Shane Clark, Logan Cota, and Jared Zobkiw. Meanwhile, there will be two Cosmos on the team: Matt LaChapelle and Mason Olney. This is the 16th annual game and tickets are for sale.

Springfield’s 2017 football season came to an end last Saturday in Windsor and what a difference eight weeks make. The Cosmos fell to Windsor 36-0, but it was nowhere near the same Green and White 11, who were not one bit competitive in their opener versus the same team on the same field. Springfield fumbled away the opening kick-off in the opener and the Yellow Jackets were on the scoreboard before some people realized the game had begun. If possible, that game went downhill from there. This time around, the Cosmos were within a touchdown into the second period and “at times it felt like we were in the game,” said Coach Rich Saypack.

Springfield lost standout running back LaChapelle in the second quarter. Once it was 22-0 at the half, it was too long a road without their leading running back. But this edition of Springfield football should be able to see their growth in a division. The Cosmos played well when they should have and, thanks to their perseverance, finished their season respectfully.

Saypack felt his team “became much more physical during the season and played some consistent football; but when it comes to Windsor, they are just too fast.” Coach, they were just too fast for a lot of people.

Fall Mountain also made football progress this year, putting a game in the win column, which had not been done since Frank Brown’s last edition of the Wildcats finished 2-6 in the fall of 2014. Coach Orion Binney’s first year was probably more of a wake up call than even he imagined, but he understands that next year is already underway. His returning athletes must pay a price in the off-season or not come close to reaching their max.

The Wildcats’ finale was a 26-0 loss to Mascoma in which four interceptions kept the Langdon based team from competing. They played the last game without the services of one of their biggest building blocks, freshman Alex Flynn – the type of two-way performer who certainly gives hope to the future. Fall Mountain’s lone senior, Chris Bashaw, didn’t see the winners’ circle much during his career, but his efforts should not be forgotten. “I’m still really excited about our future,” Binney says, “but we will see if they will put in the time they say they will this winter.”

The Wildcats have one thing going their way; a newly created Division IV in New Hampshire should help some.

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