Football teams set to open playoffs

ADDISON COUNTY — The area’s three high school football teams will open postseason play this weekend, two with top playoff seeds.
Middlebury (8-0) will open its title defense as the No. 1 seed in Division I. The defending champion Tigers will bring a 19-game winning streak into a quarterfinal matchup with No. 8 Champlain Valley (3-5). That game will be played at 7 p.m. on Friday at Doc Collins Field.
The Tigers defeated the Redhawks at CVU on Sept. 27, 48-21. Another win would mean MUHS would host an Oct. 31 semifinal of the winner of another Friday night quarterfinal: No. 5 Colchester (6-2) is visiting No. 4 Rutland (5-3).
The Tigers knocked off both of those teams at home this fall, the Lakers by 34-0 on Sept. 12 and the Raiders by 41-19 a week later.
St. Johnsbury (8-0) is the No. 2 seed, and Essex (6-2) is No. 3. Rutland will host the finals for all three divisions on Nov. 8.
Otter Valley earned the top seed in D-III with a 6-1 record that includes six straight wins after a one-point loss at D-II Fair Haven in its opener. The Otters have scored at least 41 points in every one of their games, with junior running back Carson Leary and senior quarterback John Winslow leading the way.
No. 8 Poultney (3-5) will visit Brandon at 1 p.m. on Saturday. The Otters defeated the Blue Devils at OV on Oct. 4, 48-20.
Next up a week later in a semifinal would be either No. 4 Windsor (5-2) or No. 5 U-32 (6-2). The Otters did not meet either of those teams this fall. OV will be seeking its first title since 2005.
BFA-Fairfax (7-1) is the No. 2 seed (OV won at BFA, 54-42), and Mill River is seeded third (OV beat the Minutemen, 41-19, in Brandon).
Mount Abraham (4-4) had hosted a playoff game in each of the past two seasons, but came up short of that goal this fall, earning the No. 6 seed and a road date this Saturday at No. 3 Mill River. That game will be a rematch of the Eagles’ 32-30 home loss on Oct. 11.
If the Eagles pull off the upset, their semifinal foe would be either Fairfax or defending champion Woodstock, the No. 7 seed. If the Wasps and Eagles both win, the Eagles would host a semifinal. The Bullets won at Bristol on Sept. 13, 20-8. Mount Abe and Woodstock did not meet this fall.
The Eagles will be seeking the program’s first title since winning back-to-back eight-man crowns in 2003 and 2004.

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