BRATTLEBORO — The 2016 Vermont high school football season leads off with the 51st Trophy Game, with Bellows Falls hosting rival Springfield on Friday, Sept. 2 at 7 p.m.
It was a laugher a year ago as Jahyde Bullard entered the house three times and the Terriers trounced the Cosmos, 48-0. Bellows Falls is on a six-game winning streak in this series that dates back to 1914, although the hardware was first given out in 1966, and has a 54-42 record versus Springfield in their regular-season matchups.
In Week 2, Brattleboro will welcome Saint Johnsbury in its home opener on Friday, Sept. 9 at 7 p.m. on Natowich Field. The Colonels will be trying to qualify for the Division 1 playoffs for the second year in a row after an inadvertant whistle cost them a Wildcard win in 2015.
"Win the day" is the motto of second-year BUHS coach Chad Pacheco, who enjoyed pounding the ball between the tackles with junior workhorse Cheick Diakite a year ago.
The middle of the season will be highlighted by the Otter Valley vs. U-32 showdown on Oct. 7 at 7 p.m. in East Montpelier. I'm sure there will be plenty of conversations in the bleachers regarding quarterback Carson Leary's 421 rushing yards and five scores when the undefeated Otters trampled the Raiders 33-14 for the Division 3 title last fall.
A rematch of the Division 2 championship is scheduled for Oct. 21 at 7 p.m. in Westminster, when Bellows Falls will welcome Burr and Burton. Griff Stalcup, who is now a senior, was 20-of-31 through the air for 192 yards and two touchdowns when the Bulldogs prevailed 28-7 over the Terriers to cap off a perfect 11-0 season.
And the Elwell Trophy will be up for grabs on that same night, with the Colonels playing host to rival MAU. Brattleboro rallied from 12 points down to win 42-33 a year ago, behind a pair of TD tosses and a sneak to paydirt by quarterback Tony Martinez.
Also on the 2016 schedule is Division 1 defending champion Rutland visiting Concord-Carlisle of Massachusetts in Week 2 and Hartford hosting Catholic Memorial in Week 3. You might want to mark down Oct. 22 on your calendar, when Saint Johnsbury will welcome Lyndon in a series that seemingly started when Honest Abe was in office.
Here is a look at Vermont's Week 1 high school football matchups:
Friday, Sept. 2
Brattleboro at Hartford — 7 p.m., Essex at Colchester — 7 p.m., Middlebury at MAU — 7 p.m., Saint Johnsbury at South Burlington — 7 p.m., Springfield at Bellows Falls — 7 p.m., Fair Haven at North Country — 7 p.m., Otter Valley at Spaulding — 7 p.m., U-32 at Woodstock.
Saturday, Sept. 3
BFA-St. Albans at Rice — 1 p.m., Rutland at CVU — 1 p.m., Burlington at Mount Abe — 1 p.m., Mount Mansfield at Burr and Burton — 1 p.m., Milton at Lyndon — 1 p.m., Missisquoi at BFA-Fairfax — 1 p.m., Oxbow at Mill River — 1 p.m., Poultney/MSJ at Windsor — 1 p.m.