This & That

Green Mountain boys’ soccer wins first title

Congratulations and then some to the Green Mountain boys’ soccer team for capturing the first soccer state title in the school’s history. I like to look at this achievement as a lifetime achievement in many ways.

It was a great day all around for the Chester area community at the Maxfield Sports Complex in White River Junction, but one of the great moments of this tremendous day was to see both coaches, Cole Wilhelm and Jacob Walker, dash across the field shortly after the winning goal to see someone special to them in the crowd. Walker headed out first and then shortly after, Wilhelm imitated his assistant coach’s sprint to the heart of the Green Mountain cheering section.

Green Mountain
Green Mountain’s Everett Mosher (10) tried in vain to score on this play versus Mill River in the Vermont Division III State Championship Game. He had just headed the ball over the net. Mosher tallied two goals on the way to the Chieftains 4-3 overtime victory. Photo by Doug MacPhee

For a while, I wondered just who they had gone to see. As the aftermath of the game played out, I conducted most of my interviews, checked out the official statistics, and then as I was completing my interview with the winning coach, I asked the question I had been wondering about. “Who did you guys go see? Was it the same person, or did you each go to someone different?” I asked.

“It was Scott Walker,” Wilhelm answered. He told me later, “I saw Jake head out and I knew I had to go, too.”

For those who don’t know, Scott Walker is Jacob’s dad. However, for this occasion, he was much more than that. Scott was the grandfather of this chase for the ultimate goal of Green Mountain soccer, which was the Chieftains’ winning the championship.

If you want to go back to the old days when I was young, Chester captured a Vermont state soccer title in 1967 when the Sentinels claimed a Division I championship from Otter Valley 2-1. That team was the absolute toast of the soccer universe that season. Victories over Harwood 3-2, Peoples 1-0, and Northfield 3-2 showed four one-goal victories, which showed they were a gritty, talented crew.

Green Mountain opened their doors a few years later. In 1981, the boys made their first of four unsuccessful trips to the Division III semi-finals. The goalie on that very good team was Scott Walker. After that game, he left the field following a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Hazen. Walker was heartbroken. He has yearned for that state title to fall the Chieftains way ever since.

He received individual honors, being named to the Lions Cup team. He and recent graduate Mack Walton are the only boys in the history of the program to ever play in that game. But, Walker still yearned for a Chieftain state title.

More than a decade following his playing career, that championship fire was still burning. The fire brought him into the coaching seat at Green Mountain. Scott’s first two years as coach found Cole Wilhelm and Jacob Walker as two of the mainstays of the team. Wilhelm said, “Jake was the goalie, and I played wherever Scott needed me each game.” When the two of them didn’t win a title, the fire burned through them as well.

Most importantly, Wilhelm said, “Scott meant so much to us. He was a lot more than a coach. We always knew how much he wanted us to win. We are coaching ourselves to give back to the program and chase after this very important day.”

I have spoken to Wilhelm before, but this is the first time I had met him in person. The prize had been captured and the game was behind him, but his focus was still dialed in. The importance of success for Green Mountain soccer controlled his every thought. Wilhelm was robotic and, in many ways, his players performed in the same way too; but they tossed in a dose of their own individual instincts also to capture the long awaited prize.

  Bellows Falls versus Brattleboro football

It has been a mighty long time since Bellows Falls and Brattleboro competed in the same division in high school football, but the Terriers and the Colonels will come together in Rutland Saturday, Nov. 9 at 11 a.m. for the Vermont Division II football championship. The two teams met in this season’s opener, and Brattleboro walked away with a 49-26 victory after a few early hiccups.

Green Mountain
Bellows Falls boys’ defense stood up tall last Friday night in the win over Union-32 at Norwich 26-14. Hunter Smith (62) and Jed Lober (32) make a stop on a short yardage play. Photo by Doug MacPhee.

Most neutral parties feel Brattleboro is the class of the division, but Terrier fans remember that Bellows Falls returned the opening kickoff in that August tilt for a score and even bolted ahead 19-0. But then, the Colonels outscored the Terriers 49-7 the rest of the game and have shown their dominance ever since.

So people ask, “Does Bellows Falls have a chance?”

The simple answer is yes. But how much? Some Bellows Falls fans have the game just about even. I don’t buy it. However, I think Bellows Falls is peaking at the right time.

Bellows Falls played their best game of the season Friday night at Norwich University in upsetting second seeded Union-32 26-14. They came out a few steps quicker than the hosting Raiders who had a two touchdown win over them during the season.

Bellows Falls played at a high level on both sides of the ball. Quarterback Griffin Waryas had his best career game, scoring the put away touchdown as well as threading the passing needle between defenders on several key passes. Jed Lober ran for another 100-plus yards. The lines, defense, and special teams all lined up without missing many beats.

I am not sure if they can beat Brattleboro, but they should be able to extend the time they are competitive. Looking ahead, Coach Bob Lockerby said, “We are glad we are going to be there. We need to come to play and not turn over the football.”

  Fall Mountain chasing first playoff victory

Fall Mountain has never won a playoff game. They finished 5-2 this fall. The victory total equals their best season in 20 years when they went 5-4. Can they win again? They are seeded third and meet one of the two teams who defeated them, Raymond 31-7, and the odds are probably less than Bellows Falls, but Coach Orion Binney said, “We’re certainly a significantly better team than when we played them the first time, but they have several weapons. We will have to cut down on our mental mistakes limiting both penalties and fumbles to have a chance.”

  For comments, email Bill Murphy at bmurphy@vermontjournal.com.

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