Otter, Tiger football secure top seeds in playoffs

ADDISON COUNTY — The Middlebury and Otter Valley union high school football teams won games this past weekend to nail down No. 1 seeds in their divisions, while Mount Abraham lost on the road but still earned a postseason berth.
TIGERS, 51-0
MUHS dismissed visiting Burlington, 51-0, on Friday, as the Tigers posted their third straight shutout.
Pairings were not yet official on Sunday before the deadline for this issue of the Independent, but the Tigers will apparently host No. 8 Champlain Valley (3-5) this coming Friday as they begin their Division I title defense with 19 straight wins and the No. 1 seed. The Tigers defeated CVU, 48-21, on Sept. 27.
Next up would probably be either No. 4 Rutland (5-3) or No. 5 Colchester (6-2). St. Johnsbury (8-0) and Essex (6-2) figure to be the Nos. 2 and 3 seeds, respectively.
On Friday, the Seahorses returned the opening kickoff 63 yards, but Austin Robinson’s end-zone interception stopped the threat.
Robinson then capped an 80-yard march with a three-yard score, and a Nathan Lalonde kick made it 7-0. At 11:03 of the second quarter, Robinson (two for five passing for 26 yards) tossed a 17-yard touchdown pass to Sam Holmes to make it 17-0. At 7:05, a 14-yard Justin Stone run pushed the score to 21-0, and Lalonde capped the first-half scoring with a 32-yard field goal, his first of the year.
 The Tigers then scored on their first two plays of the second half: a 52-yard run by Bobby Ritter and a 27-yard Robinson ramble that made it 37-0.
MUHS tacked on two late scores, a 43-yard TD pass from Oakley Gordon to Sawyer Ryan, and Jerry Niemo’s 22-yard interception return.
The Tiger defense held Burlington to 127 yards of offense. The Tigers ran 39 times for 338 yards, led by Ritter (10 for 129 yards) and Cullen Hathaway (four for 56).
OTTERS, 41-21
OV took a 28-0 halftime lead at Oxbow on the way to a 41-21 victory that pushed the Otters’ record to 6-1, good for the top seed in D-III.
OV will apparently host No. 8 Poultney (3-5) in a Saturday quarterfinal. The Otters defeated Poultney, 48-20, on Oct. 4. Either No. 4 Windsor (5-2) or No. 5 U-32 (6-2) loom as possible semifinal foes. Fairfax (7-1) and Mill River (7-2) are the apparent Nos. 2 and 3 seeds in D-III.
Carson Leary led OV with four touchdowns and 150 yards rushing, and QB John Winslow threw for 200 yards and tossed touchdown passes to Will Ross and Joe Scarborough. Oxbow dropped to 2-6.
Mount Abe fell to Poultney, 14-0, and finished at 4-4. The Eagles apparently earned the No. 6 seed and will face No. 3 Mill River. The Minutemen edged the Eagles, 32-30, on Oct. 11. Next up for the winner of that game would be either Fairfax or No. 7 Woodstock (4-4).
In the rain on Saturday, the Eagles surrendered two first-quarter touchdowns. Their best chance to score came in the second quarter, but they were stopped on fourth down at the Poultney 1-yard line after earning first-and-goal at the four. Ryan Paquin picked up 54 yards on 17 attempts to lead Mount Abe.

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