BRATTLEBORO -- Defending football champions Hartford and Rice losing in the same week seemed about as likely as a snowstorm in July or a Yahtzee on a single shake.
But, believe it or not, it just happened.
A 27-game winning streak came to a screeching halt when the Hurricanes fell to Middlebury, 23-0, on Friday. And then, talented quarterback Tommy Fitzgerald suffered a serious shoulder injury and the Green Knights were defeated by Fair Haven, 34-20, on Saturday.
And a rematch of the 2012 Division 2 championship is set for Saturday at 1 p.m., as Rice (1-1) will try to rebound in its home game against Bellows Falls (1-1). Later on, the 1-1 Colonels will welcome 2-0 South Burlington at 7.
Fitzgerald, who piled up 105 rushing yards and 144 more through the air in a rout of Spaulding in Week 1, was replaced by sophomore Joey Hester in his team's last game. Hester was 4-of-8 passing for 98 yards, including a 25-yard scoring strike to Charlie Meli.
The question is, which of them will be directing Rice's new read-option attack on Saturday? A source up north says it's likely that Fitzgerald will miss tomorrow's game.
Bellows Falls, which gave Brattleboro all it wanted on Aug. 30, rode star offensive tackle Matt Conkey and his mates up front to a 24-6 decision over Milton in Week 2. On the other side of the ball, Conkey and Cody Kerr each had a sack to help the first-string defense keep the Yellowjackets off the board.
The Colonels, well, they will be trying to slow down one of the top weapons in the state. A week after he racked up 218 yards of total offense and three touchdowns, South Burlington tailback Tanner Contois went off for 343 yards on 19 carries including TD runs of one, 45, 50 and 64 yards.
The Rebels haven't really been tested, as they blanked Burlington 34-0 and then outscored Colchester 49-14. Hunter Riehle, another Fantasy League keeper, threw for 264 yards in his opener and already has five TD passes.
They will be facing a Brattleboro defense that only gives up one score per game on average. And South Burlington's D will attempt to avoid getting burned -- BUHS quarterback Kyle Patno heaved touchdown bombs to Kassidi Ramirez and Max Bostwick respectively in his first two games under center.
There are eight games scheduled for Friday the 13th at 7 p.m., including Burr and Burton at North Country, Essex at BFA-St. Albans, Hartford at Catholic Memorial (MA), Lyndon at Milton, Middlebury at Colchester, Otter Valley at Mill River, Rutland at MAU, and Woodstock at U-32. The 1 p.m. Saturday games are: Bellows Falls at Rice, Burlington at CVU, Fair Haven at Spaulding, Mt. Abraham at BFA-Fairfax, Springfield at MSJ, St. Johnsbury at Mount Mansfield, Windsor at Oxbow, and Winooski at Poultney. And on Natowich Field, Brattleboro will host South Burlington on Saturday night at 7.
Shane Covey can be reached at email@example.com or by calling 802-254-2311, ext. 163.