This & That

Area football collective winning record

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Noah Zierfus going high in the air, attempting to pull in a pass against Windsor last Saturday. On the last offensive play, Zierfus made a “miraculous one-hand grab” said Coach Todd Aiken, allowing the Cosmos to pull out the 12-6 victory. Photo by Doug MacPhee

The overall play of football is up in the area this fall. After three weeks of action, our teams have a 5-2 record. It has been some time since a lofty tally such as that could be tossed around.

For anyone looking to take in some action, there are three games this week. The 3-0 Springfield Cosmos will be at home Friday, Sept. 20 hosting Otter Valley at 7 p.m., hoping to win four in a row for the first time in a long time, while both Bellows Falls and Fall Mountain will travel Saturday afternoon. The weather forecast says it will be a wonderful day for a fall afternoon drive. The Terriers (2-0) will be at Lyndon Institute at 1 p.m. and the Wildcats (0-2) will kick-off at Franklin at 3:30 p.m.

Todd Aiken had many a frustrating moment on the sideline before his undefeated Cosmos prevailed over Windsor 12-6. The truth is, a football team that had played two strong games to start the season had a little swelling in the head and were very lucky to escape a fired up Yellow Jacket team.

Two miraculous plays spelled victory for the Cosmos. Aiken saw a sensational touchdown play on the opening kick-off when Jacob Stepler fielded the ball at his own 15 and raced deep into Windsor territory, where he was corralled inside the hosts’ 20. Stepler showed a high pigskin IQ for, as he was headed to the turf, he lateralled the ball to Anthony Steele, who took things into his hands and raced the final yards for the score.

Aiken said, “You know you are going to have off days and have to find a way to get it done, but part of what happened in this game was we took our opponent lightly. Give Windsor credit. They were a much better team than they looked on film and they came to play, but without Noah’s (Zierfus) catch, we don’t come away with a win.”

Zierfus made a tremendous one-handed catch off a Stepler – filling in at quarterback for an injured Sam Presch – throw with 45 seconds left for a 43-yard touchdown. “The most important thing is we never gave up,” Aiken said.

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The Springfield Cosmos won their game last Saturday despite losing quarterback Sam Presch (3) to injury before halftime. Presch is not expected to return this Friday in the team’s home game versus Otter Valley. Noah Zierfus is shown throwing a block on the play. Photo by Doug MacPhee

The task Bob Lockerby and his Terriers had to start 2019 was just to face three of their four top opponents in the season’s first three weeks, and they lived to tell about it. Bellows Falls shocked Fair Haven on the road 26-0 Saturday and showed in the past two weeks, including an exciting 35-14 victory over Mount Anthony, that despite their losses in both the offensive and defensive lines, they should be in the thick of things in Division II.

In the Fair Haven win, Bellows Falls rushed for over 350 yards with the Jed (Lober) and Jeb (Monier) Show both churning out about 150 yards apiece. Lockerby said, “We lost 19 kids overall and 17 of them were linemen. You come back with what you have and you deal with it. Most of our kids are first year ballplayers in the trenches. We have only one veteran. For the rest, that’s a tough spot for these inexperienced players, including some that were transitioning from completely different positions.”

Fall Mountain has not tasted the win column, but Coach Orion Binney said, “I think the teams we played are the tops in the division. I do think we are better than what we have played, but both Raymond (31-7) and Winnisquam (33-14) would have been tough to beat, even if we had played better. I still feel confident. Our defense is playing pretty well. They aren’t giving up sustained drives, but we have given up too many big plays. Most of our opponent scores have been for 50 yards or more.”

Terrier Hall of Fame inductees

The Bellows Falls Terrier Hall of Fame is inducting another class this year. Friday evening, Sept. 27 is the dinner and induction ceremony to honor the new members. The festivities will be held at Bellows Falls American Legion Post 37. The cocktail hour that evening will begin at 6:30 p.m. with a buffet dinner to follow at 7 p.m. The ceremony will take place upon the completion of the dinner.

The overall celebration will continue the next day when the inductees are announced at halftime of the big Homecoming Football game versus Union-32. The game begins at 1 p.m. The inductees this year are Richard Demuzio, Tim Eno, Betty Haggerty, Hugh Haggerty, Linda James, John James, and the late Larry Wunderle. These individuals enter the hall due to their contributions to the proud Terrier tradition.

Seats for the dinner can be purchased by emailing Terrierhalloffame@gmail.com, going to www.sites.google.com/wnesu.com/terrierhalloffame, or by calling Chad Illingworth, Hall Chairman, 1-802-376-4207. You can also send the names of individuals going with a check payable to Terrier Hall of Fame to Terrier Hall of Fame, 406 High School Rd., Westminster, VT 05158. Seats are limited and will be first come, first serve. Please RSVP by Sept. 24.

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The Bellows Falls Terriers gained more than 350 yards on the ground on their way to defeating Fair Haven 26-0 last Friday night. Running back Jeb Monier (22) picks up yardage here with lineman Domonic Kendall leading the way. Photo by Doug MacPhee.

  Rich Saypack’s busy season

Rich Saypack might have been the busiest athletic director in the state getting ready for the fall season. He had to come up with three new varsity hires for his fall season and had both prominent varsity basketball positions open. He brought in Ray Curren for girls soccer, Vic Cucullo for boys soccer, and Stephen Lawrence for field hockey. Lawrence already coached cross country in the fall.

In his spare time, Saypack somehow attracted veteran round ball leaders Mike Hatt to fill the boys hoop job and Peter Peck to fit into the girls basketball slot. I asked Saypack if he was campaigning for Athletic Director of the Year? His response: “I’m campaigning for the best coaching staff in the state.”

  Cross country’s unique trend

Find it interesting that Lawrence coaches cross country in addition to field hockey? More and more schools are combining cross country with other sports. In Windsor, they actually have a 6 p.m. practice so athletes can attend cross country practice after finishing the other sports they are competing in. Boy, that must be a long day! Both Springfield and Bellows Falls have athletes in cross country from other sports. There are some athletes in Springfield who play field hockey, run cross country, and are cheerleaders.

While on the subject of cross country, I should point out that Tim Eno’s Lady Terriers are likely this area’s best bet to repeat as state champions this fall. By no means are they in any way shoe-ins, but they definitely will be in the mix.

Chances are Bellows Falls and Rice will be the last two standing in the Division III field, and both teams have about a month to put things together. Right now, Eno is getting consistently strong performances from Abby Broadley, Stephanie Ager, and Victoria Bassette and hopes that Ashlynn Boucher, Abby Dearborn, Molly Hodsden, and Ashley Bartlett can make a push to add to the depth of the squad.

The Terrier boys are usually in the top five team scores, but they haven’t captured all the marbles since 2011. Thetford and Stowe are expected to lead the pack at the state meet this fall, but Eno has confidence his runners will be top five again and wonders if they can push each other to improve enough to challenge those at the top of the class.

Like the girls, the boys have a big three: Tim Salter-Roy, Justice Bassette, and Collin Robertson. There is hope that growth from Stone Bradbury, Gabe Hakimoglu, and Quin Farmer can add to the cause to allow the Terriers to climb the ladder.

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