School sports to start — this time for real

ADDISON COUNTY — In the Better-Late-Than-Never Department, the Agency of Education announced on Tuesday that Vermont high schools could begin interscholastic sports competition this Saturday, Sept. 26. It was part of Secretary Daniel French’s comments, during the governor’s Tuesday press conference, that the state’s schools could move to Step 3 of their COVID-19 pandemic reopening. (See this week’s schedule here.)
School officials, not to mention student-athletes and their coaches, had hoped to start playing games as early as this Wednesday, but AOE officials did not make the decision quickly enough to allow games that schools had already scheduled for earlier this week. Uncertainty ruled for a number of days.
Tuesday’s announcement left athletic directors at the four local high schools scrambling to move five games on the docket for this Friday to Saturday in an effort to salvage them.
As of the deadline for this article the fate of those games was uncertain, and those interested in attending are advised to check school schedules. 
Those games are: Otter Valley field hockey at Burr & Burton, OV football at Middlebury, Mount Abraham/Vergennes football at Colchester, West Rutland at OV boys’ soccer, and Missisquoi at VUHS girls’ soccer. 
Other games shape up like this:

The VUHS boys open by hosting Missisquoi at 11 a.m. on Saturday. VUHS Athletic Director Pete Maneen said this game time could change if he is successful at rescheduling the girls’ soccer team’s Friday game to Saturday.
The MUHS boys and Mount Abraham boys open against each other on Wednesday, Sept. 30, at Mount Abraham at 4:30 p.m.
The OV boys debut by hosting Proctor at 4 p.m. on Wednesday the 30th. 

If the VUHS girls can’t host Missisquoi this Saturday, the Commodores will visit Spaulding on Friday and MUHS next Friday. 
The Tigers, meanwhile, debut at Mount Abraham on Tuesday the 29th at 4 p.m. 
The Otter girls will open by hosting Mill River on Saturday at 11 a.m.  

The Otters’ home debut is set for Sept. 29 vs. Woodstock at 4 p.m. 
Both Mount Abe and MUHS also play at 4 p.m. on Sept. 29. 
The Eagles open at Champlain Valley on the 29th, while the Tigers debut at the same time at home vs. Burlington.

With luck both OV and MUHS will open on Saturday night vs. one another; both schools’ ADs were working on moving that game from Friday to Saturday at Doc Collins field. 
The Tigers next host Fair Haven, on Sept. 29 at 6 p.m., while OV will visit Mount Anthony that evening and host Poultney on Oct. 3 at 3 p.m.
If the Mount Abe-VUHS collective cannot meet Colchester on Saturday, their opener will come against Mount Mansfield on Sept. 30 at 4 p.m.  
Yes, those schedules are correct: Teams are playing 7v7 touch football, with two games per week, no blocking, no tackling, and no running plays. 

Cross-country teams will have an abbreviated schedule, with one fixture on the schedule, Thetford’s Woods Trails Run, canceled due to the pandemic, as well as early meets lost.
The Otters will visit Burr & Burton on Sept. 26 and Rutland on Sept. 29. 
The first meet on the Tigers’ schedule comes on Oct. 12, the Harwood Invitational. 
The Eagles have only two meets on their published schedule, the NVAC meet on Oct. 17 and the state meet a week later at Thetford. 

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