The Bellows Falls/Springfield football game is not the same as it used to be. Before readers determine that has something to do with the competition, let me tell you, it has more to do with when the game is played then how the game is played. This comes from a writer who has seen more of these get-togethers than most readers ever will.
The Terriers have won nine games in a row in the series. That doesn’t matter on the surface. Both the Purple and White and the Green and White have run long streaks off before and the crowds have kept coming. On an average, year in and year out, more fans congregate at the Cosmos-Terrier grid contest than any other sports event played all year, including all sports, except an occasional play-off game. And this year was no exception.
The changes I notice the most are the air temperature and the scenery. More often than not, from since time began the two rivals met on the first Saturday in November. Then when the football play-offs were introduced, the game was moved up a week and then in recent years, with the two teams competing in different divisions, the game is fit in whenever it can be.
Foliage has been traded off for leaves in their summer colors. The grass on the field is still in tip-top shape. The difference doesn’t stop there. In today’s world, it is easier to get to your seat or spot to stand because there are no politicians in the way. How many of you remember going to a Springfield-Bellows Falls game and having candidates or their representative campaigning on your way in? Games in late October or early November made such an occurrence traditional.
In fact, believe it or not, back then, the crowds to this traditional get-together were so big the governor candidates for Vermont would actually campaign in person. There were years that both of them would be in attendance at the same time. Yes, color these games between the two rivals important.
Across the river:
Fall Mountain football has been down for a while now. They have had only a couple winning seasons in a decade. This year, they are 0-3, but they are in every game, every week. They are competitive and then some. If they had won one of their first three games, they probably would have won two. Confidence is likely the only thing between Orion Binney’s Wildcats and some success in the victory column.
Two weeks ago, the Wildcats were ready to force overtime and the roof fell in. They fumbled on a punting attempt deep in their own territory with 12 seconds to go in the game. Winnisquam recovered and scored two plays later for a 20-12 triumph for the visitors on opening night in Langdon.
Two Wildcat touchdowns had the locals in a 12-12 tie down the stretch. Jacob Shoemaker had tossed two touchdown passes, a 14-yarder to Aaron Blair and an 11-yarder to Alex Flynn to complete a 65-yard sustained drive to place Fall Mountain in strong position for success. Fall Mountain had a number of turnovers, and Binney felt he could have helped his charges down the stretch as well. “If I had managed the clock a little differently, that might have helped,” he told me.
Last weekend, Fall Mountain had themselves in a good position as well, competing with an undefeated Franklin team with an 8-6 Wildcat lead into the fourth quarter, when another one of those costly turnovers popped up. A pick six went 70 yards the other way, terminating a Fall Mountain drive and propelling the Tornadoes to victory even without a cloud in the sky.
Over the two weeks, Binney has pointed out strong contributions in one game or another or both from Morgan Wilbur, Fermin Gomez, Justin Garneau, Tyler Swain, and Isaiah Silva.
The Wildcats are home for their homecoming game this Friday evening versus Farmington at 7 p.m. for their third home game in a row.
Youth running well:
The sky seems to be the limit for Bellows Falls freshman running sensation Abby Broadley. Traditionally, I play down freshman success to not put pressure on an individual, but Broadley already has finished eight over the summer in a national 3K competition for 14 and 15 year-olds in North Carolina and was 32nd in the Cross Country nationals last fall in Kansas.
Bellows Fall’s Ian Wallace joined Broadley in the winners’ circle capturing the male and female titles respectively in the annual Russ Pickering Invitational in Bellows Falls this fall. The girls, with support from Lia Clark, Stephanie Ager, Megan Banik, Abby Dearborn, Jasmine Boucher, Haley Covillion, and Molly Hodsden, are contenders for the Vermont State Division III title this fall while Wallace’s teammates Tim Salter-Roy, Stone Bradbury, Gabe Hokimoglu, Issac Wilkinson, Collin Robertson, and Quin Farmer hope to have the Terriers near the top of the boys’ competition.
Broadley’s success does not stop there. The Terrier has won each of the six Bellows Falls races to date and nobody has come close.