Football: Tigers, Otters Finish 8-0 campaigns

ADDISON COUNTY – In weekend high school football play, Middlebury and Otter Valley completed undefeated regular seasons in Divisions I and III, respectively, while Mount Abraham dropped a D-II road game.
The Tigers and Otters will begin the playoffs with home quarterfinals this weekend. The 2-6 Eagles have been eliminated from the postseason and will host Milton at 1 p.m. on Saturday.
On Friday night, the Tigers scored the game’s final 27 points to defeat host Champlain Valley, 40-13; complete their undefeated regular season at 8-0; and stretch the program winning streak to 30.
They earned the No. 2 seed in Division II behind Rutland (7-0 in the league, 7-1 overall with a non-league out-of-state game that does not count in the standings). Rutland defeated host Hartford on Friday, 34-20 to earn the top seed, and Hartford (6-1, 6-2 overall with an out-of-state loss) is the No. 3 seed.
CVU took the lead after blocking a first-quarter Tiger punt on an 8-yard pass from Andrew Bortnick to Trevor Kingston. The Tigers scored twice in the second quarter, and took a 13-7 lead into the lock room when quarterback Oakley Gordon tossed a 27-yard touchdown pass to Chase Messner.
CVU tied the game in the third on a 14-yard Brad Reynolds run, but the Tigers took over from there, outgaining the Redhawks, 352-162, including 305 yards rushing. Andrew Gleason’s 50-yard interception return in the fourth quarter made it 33-13 and clinched the win.
Cortland Fischer ran for two scores and 100 yards on 13 carries, Trey Kaufmann rushed eight times for 57 yards and a TD, Parker Gross ran eight times for 45 yards and a TD, and Jerry Niemo picked up 49 yards on seven attempts. Gordon finished two of nine passing for 47 yards.
The Redhawks finished at 4-4 and in an apparent tie with Colchester for the No. 5 seed in D-I.
The Otters improved to 8-0 and earned the top seed in D-III by defeating visiting Mill River, 41-6, in a Saturday night game played under temporary lighting. The Otters bolted to a 35-0 halftime lead against the Minutemen, who finished 6-2 and loom as a possible semifinal opponent down the road.
OV quarterback Carson Leary ran 11 times for 175 yards and one TD and threw for 91 yards, including a TD pass to Brent Nickerson. Tailback Jove Bautista added two touchdowns and 95 yards on the ground for OV, which also received a 40-yard scoring punt return from Will Ross and an Evan Perry rushing TD that was his first varsity score.
MRU QB Mike Morgan tossed a second-half touchdown pass.
The Otters will host either Springfield or defending champion BFA-Fairfax in quarterfinal this weekend. Those teams finished tied for eighth, but did not play each other and have the same record vs. common opponents – a coin flip could determine OV’s opponent.
On Saturday afternoon, host Mount Mansfield edged Mount Abe, 14-6, a result the left both D-II teams at 2-6.
Eagle coach Lee Hodsden said his team continues to “give great effort and show heart.” Mount Abe pounded out almost 200 yards on the ground and added 79 more in the air, but hurt itself with three fumbles and three interceptions, including four turnovers deep in Cougar territory to end promising drives.
“Once again we hurt ourselves with mistakes and turnovers. We moved the ball up and down the field all day,” Hodsden said.
The Cougars took an 8-0 lead late in the second quarter when QB Asa Carlson tossed a 25-yard pass to Kyle Leggett and they tacked on a two-point conversion.
Eagle Jeb Hodsden returned the kickoff to the MMU 10, and shortly afterward Wyatt Gracie scored from three yards out.
The Cougars took the lead in the third quarter when Silas Diamond returned an interception to the Eagle 1, and Jehric Hackney scored from there.
For Mount Abe, Ryan Paquin rushed 19 times for 72 yards, Casey Kimball ran 11 times for 36 yards and caught two passes for 51 yards, and Devon Kimball rushed nine times for 52 yards. QB Coleman Russell completed four of 10 passes for 79 yards. Hodsden said Matt Mullin, Bradley Sturtevant, Jeb Hodsden, Gracie, Devon Kimball andJack Eisenhower played well defensively.

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