Football: Mt. Abe/VUHS wins twice; playoffs set
ADDISON COUNTY — In recent high school 7v7 football play, the Mount Abraham-Vergennes collective team picked up a pair of victories, Otter Valley nearly pulled off a road upset, and Middlebury lost in OT at Rutland. The Tigers’ Saturday game at Burr & Burton was called off due to a positive COVID-19 test at BBA.
The bigger football news is probably that the touch-tackling, all-passing version of the game will have a postseason after all.
Each region will have its own playoffs. No state champions will be crowned, but athletes will all have the opportunity to play at least one and as many as three more games.
Seeds and pairings for each region were randomly drawn, and none of the three local teams were lucky.
MUHS drew the No. 6 seed in its Rutland region and will open at No. 3 Fair Haven on Tuesday, Oct. 27, at 6 p.m. Heading into this week Fair Haven was the only team to defeat the Tigers, who were 5-1 before a Wednesday game at Rutland.
The random draw gave OV the No. 8 seed in the same region, and OV will play at No. 1 Rutland at the same time.
For the Rutland region, semifinals will be scheduled on either Oct. 30 or 31, and the final on either Nov. 3 or 4.
The Mount Abe-VUHS squad drew No. 5 out of the hat in the Burlington region and will play at No. 4 Essex at 5 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 30.
For the Burlington region, semifinals will be scheduled on Nov. 2, 3 or 4, and the final on Nov. 6 or 7.
On Saturday the Mount Abe-VUHS collective outlasted visiting BFA-Fairfax, 28-21.
Each of the Eagle quarterbacks performed well, tossing two touchdown passes and one interception. Adam Mansfield completed 14 of 26 attempts for 176 yards, and Caleb Russell connected on 16 of 28 attempts for 206 yards.
Also on the receiving end of passes, Mansfield led the receivers with 12 catches for 167 yards and a touchdown. Joey Hemingway caught seven balls for 75 yards and a score, and Carmelo Miceli finished with five receptions for 83 and a touchdown. Jameson Couture also caught a touchdown pass for the Eagles.
Collin Dupoise made the game’s key defensive play with Fairfax driving deep into Mount Abe territory late in the game, as the Eagles clung to their 28-21 lead. On a third-and-10 play, Dupoise picked off a pass to seal the victory.
On Tuesday the Eagles got past host BFA-St. Albans, 28-20, as Mansfield tossed for 202 yards and two TDs, caught six balls for 87 yards and another score, and kicked two field goals.
Russell finished with 128 yards through the air. Hemingway caught seven ball for 86 yards, Dupoise finished with three receptions for 29 yards and two touchdowns, and Nate Lavoie caught six passes for 75 yards. The Eagles improved to 3-4 heading into their Saturday home game vs. Milton.
On Saturday host Rutland turned back OV’s upset bid, 14-12. The 4-3 Raiders broke up OV’s attempt at a two-point conversion after Alex Polli’sfourth-quarter TD pass to Dylan Gaboriault made it 14-12.
Shortly afterward, Polli picked off a pass to give OV (2-5) another chance and then led the Otters into Rutland territory, but the Raiders broke up a fourth-down play to clinch the win.
Polli threw for 176 yards for the Otters, and younger brother Luca Polli tossed for 156 yards, 108 of them to Aidan Blier, and threw a first-quarter TD pass to Derek Raymond.
In Brandon on Wednesday Fair Haven topped OV, 35-19. For the 5-2 Slaters, Evan Reed tossed touchdown passes to Luke Williams, Owen Loughan and Reilly Flanders, and Sawyer Ramey connected for scores with Matt Heibler and Kohlby Murray.
Alex Polli threw a pair of TDs to Brady Diaz, and Luca Polli found Derek Raymond in the end zone for the 2-6 Otters.
On Wednesday host Rutland (5-3) edged the Tigers, 23-20, in overtime, avenging a last-second three-point loss to MUHS in Middlebury on Oct. 9. Nikolai Luksch’s 30-yard field goal gave the Tigers a 20-17 lead in OT, but the Raiders took advantage of their possession and won on an Evan Pockette scoring toss to Steve Postemski.
MUHS took a first-quarter lead on a Luksch field goal after a long pass from Ryan Thomas-Danyow to Cooper Laroche.
Rutland took over and led entering the fourth quarter, but the Tigers rallied to tie the game on two Zach Bean TD passes, one to Mason Kaufmann for five yards and one to Gabe Dunn for 26 yards. A Penn Riley interception set up the first Tiger score.
MUHS (5-2) has not allowed more than three TDs in a game entering its regular-season finale at home on Friday vs. Hartford.
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