Hartford bests Tiger football in D-I semifinal
WHITE RIVER JUNCTION — Top-seeded Hartford defeated the No. 5 Middlebury Union High School football team in a Division I semifinal on Saturday, 26-9, snapping the Tigers’ streak of reaching the finals at three years.
The Tigers finished at 6-4 after big wins in their previous two games, at No. 4 Essex in a quarterfinal a week before and vs. eventual No. 3 seed in the final regular season game. Hartford improved to 9-1, 9-0 in D-I and will face No. 2 St. Johnsbury (8-2) in the final at Rutland on Saturday.
The Tigers drew first blood vs. the Hurricanes on this past Friday, cashing in after Doug DeLorenzo blocked a Hartford punt to give them good field position. Trey Kaufmann punched it in from seven yards out, and DeLorenzo’s point after made it 7-0 at 3:29 of the first period. Quarterback Andrew Gleason completed a long pass to DeLorenzo to help set up the score.
Hartford made it 7-6 on the first play of the second period, when Hunter Perkins scored from one yard out to cap a drive that started on the Hurricane side of midfield.
Hartford took a 12-7 lead at 3:02 of the second, when Kody Rhodes scored on a five-yard run to finish off a drive that Rhodes sparked with a 56-yard gallop.
With just 46 seconds left in the half, Rhodes scored again, this time on a perfectly throw 26-yard pass from Gavin Farnsworth pass. Farnsworth also hit Jack Wozniak for a two-point conversion to make it 20-7 at the half.
The Tigers recorded a safety at 9:56 of the third after stopping the Hurricanes deep in their own territory. After a high shotgun snap to Farnsworth, he kicked the ball out of the back of end zone for the two-point safety.
The Tigers hung kept it close until they fumbled a punt in the fourth quarter and Hartford recovered on the Tiger one-yard line. From there, Rhodes ran for the clinching score at 4:42. Rhodes finished with 171 yards on the ground, and Tyler Hamilton rushed for 66 yards and caught four passes. .
Kaufmann rushed for 41 yards to lead MUHS, and Spencer Carpenter added 24. Quarterback Andrew Gleason completed three of five passes and tossed one interception.
TIGER JUNIOR CODY Pomainville runs to the outside of a Hartford tackler Friday night. Middlebury lost the Division I semifinal game, 26-9. Photo by Andrea Warren