BRATTLEBORO -- During Saturday's lopsided contest at Hadley Field, somebody commented that Mount Abraham's Tommy Lee Hodsden is the best high school running back in the state.
Up in South Burlington, Tanner Contois' ears must have been ringing. After all, he had just carried the ball 18 times for 233 yards and three long scores -- about what the senior jet does every weekend -- in a 46-10 rout of BFA-St. Albans.
And Champlain Valley Union's Jason Cora probably would have felt dissed, too, as he was busy piling up 199 yards on the ground to help the Redhawks remain unbeaten.
Then again, Hodsden had just gone over 1,000 rushing yards for the season.
I guess it depends who you ask and how they define "best running back." Is it the player that gets those tough yards when needed and never coughs it up, the versatile one that can run and block and catch, or the dangerous weapon that puts up the greatest Fantasy stats?
While that conversation was going on, Carson Fullam was having a really nice day himself. The Bellows Falls tailback scored on his team's first two plays -- TD dives of 49 and 51 yards -- and finished with 126 rushing yards against winless North Country.
On Saturday, he will be asked to do similar things against Burr and Burton. The 3-1 Bulldogs, who just pounded Division 1 MAU, are expected to light up the board. And they like to put it in the air, as quarterback Griffin Stalcup went 18-of-29 passing for 240 yards and three scores versus the Patriots.
Naturally, a running back in Manchester needs to be able to run routes and catch the ball. Backfield mates Eric Cerra and Dalton Blackwell each caught a touchdown pass in Week 4.
And the team that loves to pound it behind star center Matt Conkey and company, may have to rely more on signal-caller Ethan Illingworth this time around. He has plenty of talented receivers, too, in Brian McAnuff, David Dunbar and Bandera Swastano.
The 1-3 Colonels ask their backs to handle pitches and turn the corner. On Saturday, Brattleboro's triple option attack will go to work in St. Johnsbury, against an 0-4 team that just lost to CVU, 30-14.
The Hilltoppers have been relying on quarterback Colton Hudson and workhorse Dylan Shattuck -- each of them found the house last weekend. In an earlier loss to Rutland, Shattuck ran it 10 times and caught eight passes while Hudson threw the ball 13 times and also had 15 keeps.
If you can't make the two-hour drive up north to cheer on the Colonels, tune into WTSA FM and listen to announcers Bill Holiday and Tim Johnson, or watch the action live for free on the Northeast Sports Network (www.NSNSports.net) starting at 12:45 p.m.
WTSA's Week 4 player of the game, Michael Rooney, will be trying to help the purple and white get their first Division 1 victory of the season. Max Bostwick has two receiving touchdowns to lead the Colonels so far, while quarterback Kyle Patno has also thrown a scoring strike to Kassidi Ramirez. Jake Gaboriault and Adam McPhail each have a rushing TD for John Callahan's team.
Shane Covey can be reached at scovey@ reformer.com or by calling 802-254-2311, ext. 163