In football: Tigers and Otters get key victories

ADDISON COUNTY — The Middlebury and Otter Valley union high school football teams won key games this weekend, but the Mount Abraham-Vergennes squad could not hold a first-half lead.
The Tigers picked up their biggest win of the fall, knocking off visiting Champlain Valley, 14-7; denying the Redhawks, the top seed in Division I; improving to 5-3; and upgrading their playoff seed from No. 7 to No. 5.
The Tigers will travel to No. 4 Essex (5-3) on Friday at 7 p.m. for a quarterfinal. It will be a rematch of an Oct. 7 contest between the two teams that Essex won, 17-0, but on which the Tigers had chances to score thwarted by miscues.
On this past rainy Friday in a duel without a completed pass in only four combined attempts, the 6-2 Redhawks (who will be the No. 3 seed behind 7-1 Hartford and 6-2 St. Johnsbury) took a 7-0 first-quarter lead on a 27-yard run by Braven Bose. Bose finished with 16 carries for 153 yards.
The Tigers answered on their next possession, when Trey Kaufmann broke a 62-yard run, and a Doug DeLorenzo kick tied the game. Kaufman ran for 80 yards in nine attempts.
MUHS took the lead late in the third quarter on Spencer Carpenter’s 4-yard run. Carpenter rushed 21 times for 105 yards, and Simon Fischer added six carries for 54 yards.
The Tiger defense came up big twice in the late going, first stopping a Redhawk drive on downs deep in MUHS territory, and Andrew Gleason made a diving interception on the next CVU play with 1:46 left in the game. Earlier, Maverick Payne contributed a strip sack, and DeLorenzo recovered a fumble.
The Otters improved to 6-2 by thumping visiting Mill River, 52-20, for their fourth straight win. OV will enter the D-II playoffs as the defending champ and with the No. 3 seed. Windsor (8-0) and Woodstock (7-1) are the top seeds, and Mill River (4-4) is seeded fifth, behind No. 4 U-32 (4-3). The Otters will host No. 6 Fairfax (4-3) on Saturday at 1 p.m.
Senior back Brent Nickerson led the way for OV vs. the Minutemen, rushing for five touchdowns (runs of 57, 1, 9, 5 and 30 yards) and 267 yards. Quarterback Tyler Rowe completed eight of 14 passed for 142 yards, including a 43-yard TD to Tyson Cram.Noah Smith and Cram added scoring runs for the Otters.
In a D-II battle on Saturday, the host Eagles took a 16-6 lead over Mount Mansfield on a pair of first-half touchdowns by Casey Kimball and two successful two-point conversions.
But Cougar QB Asa Carlson answered with three straight TD passes in a span of 4:03 to claim a 32-16 win for Mount Mansfield. He found Silas Diamond from 41 yards out with seven seconds left in the first half; tossed a 6-yarder to Johnny Benevento to open the second half; and then, after an onside kick, tossed a 21-yarder to Diamond at 8:04 of the third period. The 3-5 Cougars added a rushing TD later in the period. Diamond also caught a 61-yard TD pass in the first half.
The Eagles will visit D-II foe Milton (3-5) on Friday at 7 p.m.

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