WESTMINSTER — While his mother sold homes this fall, Harrison Gleim and his backfield mates were busy taking the ball to the house.
They ran for 3,500 yards and 61 touchdowns, helping the Bellows Falls varsity football team to a 10-0 record.
“The largest part of our offense is our linemen,” said Gleim. “They don’t have the biggest bodies but definitely have the biggest hearts, and no skill position player would be able to produce numbers that we can without them.”
The top-seeded Terriers will take on No. 2 Mount Anthony Union (8-2) in Saturday’s Division 2 state championship game at Rutland High School at 11 a.m.
“It feels great to be a part of a team that could have a perfect season, but we won’t find out until Saturday afternoon. It’s an unforgettable feeling to be a part of a band of brothers unlike I’ve had before,” said Gleim, who noted that he looks up to and takes advice from his father as well as all of the coaches he’s had along the way.
Quarterback Jonathan Terry, Jed Lober, Jeb Monier, Caden Haskell and Gleim combined for 326 rushing yards during BF’s 34-8 semifinal victory over Lyndon. Linemen Kevin Patterson, Jake Moore, Peter Kamel, Dillan Perry and Patrick Barbour paved the way for the Purple Gang’s success on the ground.
BF’s first-string defense, which has only given up one touchdown this season, will have to figure out a way to get pressure on MAU’s young star, sophomore quarterback Tanner Bushee.
“I look up to Russell Wilson as my favorite QB but I believe that I play like Marcus Mariota did at Oregon, due to his mobility and ability to throw the ball,” said Bushee, who has 1,041 passing yards and another 356 on the ground for the Patriots this season.
Austin Grogan is the team’s top target with 580 receiving yards. Carter Thompson is next with 309 while big Braedon Billert has 270 yards through the air.
“As far as weapons go, our whole offense has been gelling and putting the ball into the end zone,” said Bushee.
Tailback Ayman Naser and fullback Hayden Gaudette are the team’s leading ball carriers, with 775 and 416 rushing yards respectively. Gaudette, who is considered to be one of the best players in the state, also leads the Patriots in sacks with five and is second in tackles with 54.
“Our passing game has improved since we made the switch at QB, from Billert to Tanner. QB ability wise they are both equally good, but Billert is a good tight end and helps us get the best 11 on the field,” said MAU coach Chad Gordon.
With Billert under center, the Patriots lost to the Terriers 45-14 in Week 2.
“Ball control hurt us last game. I think we had three or four turnovers,” Gordon said. “Ball security will be crucial.”
MAU results: 37-0 over Mount Abraham, 14-45 to Bellows Falls, 7-35 to Rutland, 36-12 over Brattleboro, 41-0 over U-32, 40-34 over Burr and Burton, 26-7 over Rice, 42-0 over Fair Haven, 42-7 over Rice (quarterfinal), 27-0 over Spaulding (semifinal).
Bellows Falls’ results: 36-7 over Brattleboro, 45-14 over MAU, 35-0 over Lyndon, 56-0 over Fair Haven, 55-0 over Milton, 43-14 over Spaulding, 39-8 over Springfield, 49-7 over Mount Abraham, 54-21 over Fair Haven (quarterfinal), 34-8 over Lyndon (semifinal).
MAU players: 1 Carey Drelend, 2 Gavin Schnoop, 3 Sophia Kipp, 4 Colin Brady, 5 Cameron Becker, 6 Carson Merriam, 7 Cole Gino, 8 Tyler Thibodeau, 10 Tanner Bushee, 11 Austin Grogan, 13 Braeden Billert, 15 Daniel Merriam, 18 Chase Smith, 21 Carter Thompson, 22 Ayman Naser, 23 Josh Worthington, 24 Aiden Riordan, 26 Vincent Mattison, 28 Kaiden Mallhot, 30 James Polls, 31 Jonathan Garland, 32 Elias LaPorte, 33 Hayden Gaudette, 38 Brice Mallhot, 40 Ryan Maroney, 44 Tatum Stratton, 45 Dauntaye Scribner-Pratt, 48 Patrick Cameron, 50 Preston Baker, 52 Rhory Dowglewicz-Ramos, 58 Danyal Khan, 60 Maddox Cross, 62 Corbyn Hayes, 66 Andrew Gilbert, 67 Kaleb Carpenter, 68 Landen Quackenbush, 70 Henry Steinhoff, 71 Ameer Naser, 75 Riley Britch, 78 Payton Lamoureaux, 81 Ian White, 85 Connor Barrett, 88 Sean MacDonald.
Bellows Falls players: 2 Jamison Nystrom, 3 Cole Moore, 4 Jordan Keefe, 5 Caden Haskell, 7 Jonathan Terry, 8 Curtis Greene, 10 Jesse Darrell, 11 Max Hooke, 12 Josh Streeter, 14 Brennan Haskell, 16 Douglas Sterling, 20 Josh Martin, 21 Walker James, 22 Jeb Monier, 23 Eli Allbee, 24 Justin Draper, 28 Harrison Gleim, 30 Connor Harrington, 32 Jed Lober, 50 Mason Scott, 53 Noah Simino, 54 Kevin Patterson, 55 Ray Plummer, 56 Patrick Barbour, 57 Wyatt Lescord, 58 Trenton Fletcher, 59 Damien Stebbins, 60 Yesrel Rivera, 62 Dillan Perry, 64 Will Hallock, 65 Hunter Morey, 69 Remington LaCroix, 72 Peter Kamel, 75 Jake Moore, 78 Owen Garaffa, 79 Angel Rivera.