Sept. 7: In Lyndon Center, it was located on flat ground at the start of the game, but it didn't take long for the maple barrel to begin rolling in Lyndon Institute's favor Saturday at Robert K. Lewis Field.
Scoring on four of their five first-half possessions, the Vikings rolled up a 28-0 halftime lead and went on to a 47-22 win over North Country Union in the eighth renewal of the Barrel Bowl. It was the second straight win in the series for the Vikings following last season's 46-0 triumph, and their second straight blowout victory this season.
Sept. 27: In Hinesburg, in a battle of unbeaten boys soccer teams, St. Johnsbury Academy prevailed 2-1 over defending state champion and top-ranked Champlain Valley Union on Friday afternoon.
It was the Hilltoppers' seventh straight win to start the season and third coming in the vaunted Division I Metro.
Oct. 4: In Fair Haven, despite seven lost fumbles, No. 1-ranked Lyndon held onto its lead to win 28-20 Friday night and hold off a late comeback by the Fair Haven Slaters in a matchup of Division II's top two teams to improve to 6-0.
Oct. 5: In St. Johnsbury, the St. Johnsbury Academy Hilltoppers stunned the Vermont football community by beating three-time defending champion Hartford 19-18 in a Division I football game Saturday at Fairbanks Field.
Jarrett Bridges made the leaping grab for the go-ahead touchdown late in the fourth quarter to give St. J its first win over Hartford since 2003.
Oct. 19: In Lyndon Center, it had blowout written all over it from the opening kickoff, when St. Johnsbury's Dylan Shattuck lit up the overflow crowd with a kickoff return to Lyndon Institute's 18-yard line, and the Hilltoppers scored two plays later for an instant 7-0 lead as the two schools renewed for the 109th time Saturday, The Game.
A blowout ensued alright -- only from the other side of the ball.
With Hilltoppers fans looking on in stunned silence and Vikings faithful going crazy, LI took over the game with a powerful display of offense, rolling up 605 yards of total offense -- 514 on the ground -- in a devastating 63-29 win.
It was the second-most points ever scored in the 108 previous editions of The Game, next to LI's 69-0 win in 1921, and helped to reverse two, more modern-day one-sided outcomes in which the Academy won 42-18 in 2008, and 42-16 in 2010.
Oct. 19: LI kicker Travis Wilkinson kicked nine PATs, a school record, in the Vikings win over St. Johnsbury.
Oct. 25: In Newport, there was little left to be said after North Country lost its final game of the season, at home, to previously winless Spaulding by a score of 26-8.
The loss capped a second consecutive season at North Country without a win for its football program, and also another year without a first win for head coach Tim Simoneau.
In 2011, the Falcons were a force. They put together a 9-1 season capping the career of longtime head coach Bob Davis. Then Davis retired and the Falcons graduated 23 seniors, including 20 varsity starters.
Oct. 29: In Burlington, in their first trip to the semis since 2008, fifth-ranked Lyndon fell 8-0 to No. 1 Bellows Falls on Tuesday in the Division III field hockey semifinals played at Moulton-Winder Field. Sarah Wells scored four goals to lead the Terriers.
Oct. 29: In Hinesburg, if the final score was based on time of possession, or number of passes, the St. Johnsbury Academy-Champlain Valley Union soccer semifinal would have been different than the 1-0 score by which the Redhawks prevailed.
It was just the St. Johnsbury program's third trip to a Division I semifinal (2008, 1985).
Oct. 30: In Burlington, for the second straight year North Country made it to the Division III semifinal at University of Vermont only to be eliminated in a hard-fought 2-1 decision. Last year the Falcons lost to 2012 champion Missisquoi. This year, Stowe jumped out to a 2-0 lead on a pair of second-half goals and North Country's late charge simply ran out of time.
Nov. 2: In Lyndon Center, in Saturday's Division II semifinal Fair Haven was the latest team to find out Lyndon's been crushing everyone in front of them. Chewing up Robert K. Lewis Field in the same fashion as they did against St. Johnsbury in LI's previous home game, the top-ranked Vikings (9-1) rolled to their first title-game appearance since 2000 with a 54-20 win over the Slaters.
Nov. 6: In Laconia, N.H., despite losing top-scorer Louisa Noble in the first half, top-ranked and unbeaten Woodsville took down No. 4 Newmarket in penalty kicks Wednesday in the D-IV semifinals on Jim Fitzgerald Field at Laconia High School. The 1-0 final score was the result of Woodsville's 3-2 edge in penalty kicks.
Nov. 7: In Laconia, N.H., despite Ian Baker's best efforts, the No. 10 Profile Patriots' Cinderella run ended Thursday with a 1-0 loss to No. 3 Derryfield on penalty kicks (4-3) in the Division IV semifinals at Laconia High School.
Tied 3-3 in penalty kicks after five shooters, Derryfield senior Zoe Romo promptly stepped up to the penalty line and capitalized in the sudden-death scenario. With a chance to send it to the seventh kick, Profile junior Chris Sirois' shot sailed over the net, setting off a Derryfield celebration.
Nov. 7: In Laconia, N.H., Nick Skarin scored the game-winning goal as No. 5 Sunapee knocked off top-seeded Woodsville, 2-1, Thursday night, lifting the Lakers to the Division IV championship match on Sunday. It was the first D-IV semifinal, boys or girls, in which a goal was scored in regulation or overtime.
Nov. 9: In Manchester, N.H., after 100 minutes of scoreless play, No. 1 Woodsville fell to No. 3 Sunapee in penalty kicks 1-0 (3-1), Saturday afternoon in the Division IV girls soccer championship at Southern New Hampshire University.
Nov. 9: In Rutland, Rice's championship pedigree and well-executed game plan came to the fore Saturday as the Green Knights successfully defended their Division II football championship with a 27-21 win over Lyndon Institute. It was their third D-II title in the last four years.
Jan. 18: In Bradford, history was made Saturday as Lyndon Institute guard Mason Lantz surpassed the 1,000-point plateau in the Vikings' 60-48 win over the Oxbow Olympians.
Needing six points coming into the game, Lantz in the third quarter took a pass from guard James Shufelt, and made the layup for his 1,000th point. He was fouled on the play, and made good on the free throw to put him over the top.
Jan. 27: In St. Johnsbury, on a night when senior guard Brendan O'Shea was held without a field goal and forward Vlad Cobzaru to eight points, Taeshon Best (12 points) and Josiah Kimball (11) supplemented Tristen Ross' 13 points and helped the Hilltoppers to a 46-39 win over Rice at a filled-to-capacity Alumni Gymnasium.
It was the first meeting of the two Division I titans since last March's championship game. Even without key forward James Wells (broken hand), the Green Knights cut a 15-point second-half deficit to two in the late stages, but key shots by Ross and an important offensive rebound by O'Shea repelled Rice's run.
Feb. 8: In Norwich, SJA's Quinn Bornstein won the 1,600 by a little over a second to earn the title of state champion. The Hilltopper also was fastest in the 3,200 meter run. Bornstein outraced South Burlington runner up Katherine Cook by five seconds in the 3,200. It was the second straight year winning both races on the big stage of the state meet. She said it was her first win this season over Monahan.
Feb. 8: In Norwich, SJA senior Mustapha Kay capped a superb shot-put season with his first-place throw of 49 feet, 3.5 inches. That was more than three feet longer than South Burlington runner-up Connor Young's throw of 46 feet.
Feb. 8: In Norwich, St. J senior Robin Vincent won the 600 meters in 1:40.00 for the state championship.
Feb. 8: In Norwich, Robin Vincent, Allie Peck, Bettina Hammer and Hannah Ryan won the championship in the 400 with a time of 4:21.82, more than six seconds faster than runner up Essex. The 800 team also took home first place, led by Vincent, Quinn Bornstein, Peck and Molly Mulcahy.
Feb. 8: In Norwich, the Vikings placed a champion with junior pole vaulter Jack Brown and his winning height of 12 feet.
Feb. 8: In Norwich, Emily Close and Haley Kennedy became state champions for Lake Region in D-II racing. Close just nicked Rice's Riley Mitiguy in the 55 meter sprint; in winning the long jump, she had a comfortable margin of 6.5 inches on Harwood runner-up Haley Cleary.
Kennedy dominated in the 1,000, winning by 12 seconds. She edged by one second Oxbow's Shelby Rosten in the 1,600.
Feb. 10: In South Burlington, armed with a healthy lineup, a stifling defense and a stand-out rebounding night, Rice Memorial High School became the first Vermont team to hand St. Johnsbury a loss this season, dealing the Hilltoppers a 49-36 defeat in boys basketball on Monday night.
Feb. 25: In St. Albans, Ryan Paul's second goal of the night and North Country's second in the final minute capped an unbelievable four-goal comeback to silence the hometown crowd and lift the sixth-ranked Falcons over No. 3 Bellows Free Academy in the opening round of the Metro Division boys hockey playoffs.
Down 4-1 late in the second, Paul scored his first on an unassisted effort with 21.5 seconds left in the period to give North Country hope heading into the final 15 minutes. On the heels of a furious third-period effort, Ryan O'Donnell tied the game with exactly one minute on the clock and then Paul finished off the stunned Bobwhites with 24.5 ticks left on the clock.
For the Falcons to advance to the semifinal round of the Metro Division playoffs, they were asked to do twice in one season what no North Country team has done even once in recent memory: beat Bellows Free Academy on its home ice.
Feb. 28: In St. Johnsbury, the baseball axiom "it's a game of inches" came to mind in Friday's 45-44 Division I quarterfinal win by fifth-ranked Mt. Mansfield over No. 4 St. Johnsbury Academy.
As a stunned crowd looked on at Alumni Memorial Gymnasium, Tinga Adiang's layin in the closing seconds was the difference on the scoreboard. It ended the Hilltoppers' season at 17-5.
March 1: Dylan Shattuck, idled much of the year with a leg injury suffered in The Game, made his last state tournament one to remember, sweeping through four matches en route to a successful defense of his 152-pound title. Shattuck was one of five Hilltoppers advancing to the New England tournament in Providence R.I., based on a top-four result.
March 3: In Plymouth, N.H., third-ranked Sunapee denied the second-seeded defending champions a return to the finals, 49-39 on Monday in the first semifinal of Monday's Division IV playoffs at Plymouth State University.
March 3: Plymouth, N.H., Skylar Bonnette and top-ranked Hinsdale easily dismantled No. 5 Littleton 56-30 in the second game of the Division IV girls basketball semifinal doubleheader on Monday night. The win at Plymouth State University completed the South's sweep of the North Country as No. 3 Sunapee knocked off No. 2 Groveton in the early game.
March 5: In Barre, the Danville Indians found a way to overcome a record-setting performance by Rochester guard Pavin Parrish on Wednesday night, as Kyle Johnson made 7 of 8 free throws down the stretch to help the second-seeded Indians to a 67-60 win over the Rockets in the Division IV semifinals at the Barre Auditorium.
It sends the Indians back to the finals for the third time in four years. They'll be seeking their first title since 1989 when they meet up with top-seeded Twin Valley on Saturday at noon.
March 5: In Barre, in the nightcap following Danville's D-IV semifinal win over Rochester, the Lyndon Vikings secured their first-ever trip to the state finals with a convincing 61-43 win over third-seeded Woodstock, 61-43.
It was a great night for junior forward Jay Cobb, who had a game-high 20 points while playing effective defense on top Wasp scorer Connor Fegard.
March 6: In Barre, the Galloping Ghosts of Randolph put an end to Lake Region's spirited charge through the playoffs with a 70-59 win in the Division III semifinal at Barre Auditorium on Thursday.
The third-ranked Rangers were looking for their first shot at the championship since a 2010 loss to Hazen Union in the finals, but found themselves plagued by early foul trouble and unable to keep up with No. 2 Randolph down the stretch.
March 8: In Barre, of Danville High School's five previous boys basketball championships, none may have come in the same fashion as Saturday's 50-43 victory over Twin Valley.
Then again, a 17-0 fourth-quarter run isn't your everyday championship-game occurrence either.
That's what it took, however, for the Indians to win their first title since 1989, 50-43 over the top-seeded Twin Valley Wildcats at the Barre Auditorium -- and it came not only on the 25th anniversary of that one, but on the 50th anniversary of the 1964 team's first boys hoops title.
The team effort was keyed by superb performances by seniors Kyle Johnson and Patrick White. They combined for 40 of Danville's points (20 each). Johnson grabbed 15 of the Indians' 38 rebounds, and the two players combined for the Tribe's six fourth-quarter steals. White added six rebounds, as did forward Jason Sweet.
March 8: In Barre, Lyndon Institute had beaten top seed U-32 once before this season, but it was the Vikings' second win over the Raiders on Saturday that gave second-seeded LI its first championship ever in boys basketball.
U-32 had no answer for a tenacious Vikings defense that allowed just 13 second-half points, including four in the third quarter, en route to a 55-35 win that, after a split of their two regular-season games, left no doubt as to the best team in the division. This all-or-nothing rubber match was by far the most one-sided outcome of their three games; the two regular-season games the teams split were decided by a total of nine points.
March 10: In Plymouth, N.H., Littleton trailed by just four at the half, but Jimmy Stanley and the Blue Devils got hot in the second half, stretching the lead to as many as 22 en rout to a 67-56 win in the Division IV boys hoop semifinal Monday night at Plymouth State University.
Stanley finished with a game-high 20 points, 14 rebounds and five assists and Colby Wilson added 14 points, including four 3s.
Owen Stone (10 points, five rebounds), Brett Hagan (nine points), Logan Briggs (10 points, six rebounds) and Danny Brammer (nine points) led the Crusaders. Kuba Kubkowski contributed six points and a team-high 10 rebounds.
March 15: In New York, Mustapha Kay took second place out of 28 competitors in the weight throw at the New Balance Nationals Indoor this weekend. Kay threw a personal best 60-feet, 8.5 inches. The event was held at The Armory, a New Balance track complex.
April 14: In Lyndon Center, responsible for rebuilding the Lyndon Institute football program that culminated in a berth in the Division II championship game this past fall, Vikings head coach Dan Nolan resigned Monday after six seasons.
"I love our program, our team, our community," Nolan told NSNports.net. "It was a really tough decision and I leave with a heavy heart. It just feels like the right time for myself and my family and it is just too good of an opportunity to pass up."
Nolan accepted an assisting coaching position at Robert E. Lee High School (also known as Midland Lee), a Class 5A football power in Midland, Texas.
"Lee competes in the largest classification in the state of Texas and has an unbelievable tradition of excellence," Nolan wrote in a farewell letter on lyndonfootball.com. "While I am thrilled to have the opportunity to join such a well established program in the nation's premiere football state, I am saddened to be leaving my alma mater behind."
Nolan, a Lyndon Institute alumnus and former assistant coach at North Country Union, compiled a 27-29 record in six seasons with the Vikings. None better than 2013, when LI set numerous school records on offense, walloped rival St. J Academy 63-29 in The Game and grabbed the No. 1 seed in the D-II playoffs before falling to Rice 27-21 in the finale.
Nolan leaves LI with a 3-3 record in The Game and a 1-2 mark in the postseason.
April 20: In Miami, Derby Line's Steve Clifford lead the Charlotte Bobcats into the first game of the playoffs against the Miami Heat in one of most successful seasons in franchise history.
May 2: In Montpelier, St. Johnsbury Academy graduate Steve Lewis (Class of 1967) is inducted into the Vermont Principals' Association hall of fame.
Lewis was a three-sport athlete at the Academy who led the Hilltoppers to a state football championship in 1966, was St. Johnsbury's first 1,000-point scorer in basketball and was a three-event standout on back-to-back championship track teams.
May 28: In Orleans, in what was a quality baseball game in many respects, one storyline stands out: Lake Region's junior ace Matt Messier faced 21 batters and retired 21 batters to record the first perfect game of his career and his second no-hitter of the season in a 4-0 win over Peoples Academy.
Messier essentially won the game for himself in the first inning when he singled home Kolby George. On the whole, though, Wednesday's contest was a well-played, error-free game by both sides and a defensive struggle in which the Rangers managed to generate four runs on six hits and the Wolves simply could not get a runner on base.
May 31: In Essex Junction, at the New England Qualifier on Saturday, St. Johnsbury Academy's Robin Vincent broke the school record in the the 800 meters, and won the event, with a time of 2:17.16. Vincent then went on to win the 4x400-meter relay with Bettina Hammer, Hannah Ryan and Allie Peck in which she anchored.
"The biggest news is that Robin broke the school record in the 800. She's been close so many times," SJA coach Chip Langmaid said. "It was a beautiful race. She passed the girl in the back straight and held her off coming in. Carmen [Bango]'s very good as well, it's not like it was an easy race. Carmen's by far the best in D-III."
June 3: In Williston, St. Johnsbury Academy exchange student Sabrina Vieli won the state golf championship on Tuesday by beating back a challenge from two-time defending champion Chloe Levins of Rutland in a playoff at Williston Golf Club.
After 18 holes, Vieli and Levins were tied at 84 strokes on the par-72 course. According to St. Johnsbury coach Rich Alercio, officials from the Vermont Principals' Association and the Vermont Golf Association offered the girls the option of either sharing the championship or going head-to-head in a playoff with the first player to win a hole taking the top prize.
Alercio said Vieli was happy to split the title, but Levins asked to play it out.
June 4: In Manchester, N.H., playing better as they moved up in the draw, the fourth-ranked Littleton Crusaders completed a three-match sweep of the Division III girls tennis playoffs on Wednesday with a 5-4 win over second-seeded Conant.
It gave the Crusaders (15-2) their first girls tennis championship since 1998. It was a battle all the way in the playoffs; they nipped Berlin 5-4 in their opening round, then knocked out top-seeded Moultonborough 6-3 in the semis.
June 5: In Chicago, White Mountains Regional High School pitcher Erika Millett on Thursday was named the 2013-14 Gatorade New Hampshire Softball Player of the Year. The senior is the only Spartan to be chosen for this award and the first North Country player since Pittsburg baseball's Vince Judd in 1986.
Millett led the Spartans to a 16-0 record and the No. 1 seed in the ongoing Division III state tournament. She owned the circle, going 13-0 with a 1.35 ERA and 115 strikeouts in 81 innings pitched. A two-time First Team All-State selection, she also batted .475 with a home run, eight RBI and a .522 on-base percentage.
June 7: In Chester, the Lake Region girls won both the 4x100 and 4x400 relays on the way to second place overall in team scoring.
The Rangers 4x400 team of Tyrah Urie, Karamae Hayman-Jones, Haley Kennedy and Emily Close completed the race in a blistering 4:16.56, shattering their own school record and turning in a time that would have been good for third place in Division I.
Close stayed perfect on the season in the 300 hurdles and took second in the 100 hurdles.
June 7: In Fair Haven, Lyndon's Jack Brown won the 400 meters, cleared 12-0 to win the pole vault and ran on the winning 4x400 relay team to help the Vikings boys take third overall in the Division II track and field championships.
Brown, Tomas Kamenik, Axerre Ntabana, and Aaron Gilman teamed up to turn in a time of 3:39.53 to edge Middlebury and Fair Haven by less than a second in the 4x400.
Kamenik also finished number one in the 300 hurdles.
June 7: In Burlington, St. Johnsbury senior and first-year track and field prodigy Mustapha Kay threw the shot 49-feet 0.5 inches to win the state title with teammate E.J. Baer taking second. Baer also finished third in discus.
June 10: In Wells River, sophomore Morgan Sulham and the No. 4 BMU Bucks beat ninth-ranked Twin Valley, 6-2 Tuesday to advance to the Division IV softball championship.
June 11: St. Johnsbury Academy track star Quinn Bornstein was chosen Wednesday as the Female High School Athlete of the Month for the month of February by the Vermont Sports Media Association.
Bornstein had a stellar finish to her winter running season, winning a trio of events at the Vermont indoor state track and field championships. Bornstein's winning time at 3,200 meters was also the fastest winning mark since 1998, breaking her own school record. Bornstein won the 1,600 in what was the second-fastest time recorded since 2004, and she became just the second girl to repeat in the 1,600 and 3,200.
She also became the first boy or girl to win the 1,600 and 3,200 and run on a championship 4x800-meter relay team. Later, at the USATF New England Championships on Feb. 23, Bornstein capped her season by running the fastest indoor girls' 5,000 in Vermont history.
June 11: In Plymouth, N.H., Erika Millett was on fire and the top-seeded White Mountains Regional Spartans scorched fourth-ranked Pelham 7-0 on Wednesday night in the Division III softball semifinals at Plymouth State University.
Millett smoked through eight in a row on strikes before she allowed a baserunner with the one walk she issued. Before it was over, Millett struck out 17 and gave up two hits to the 25 batters she faced, and threw 106 pitches.
June 11: Plymouth, N.H., the top-ranked Woodsville Engineers got off to a slow start in their Division IV softball semifinal matchup at Plymouth State University with No. 4 Portsmouth Christian Academy on Wednesday and, unable to recover, fell 13-1.
June 12: In Plymouth, N.H., the first four innings of Thursday's Division IV baseball semifinal went by in less than an hour as Gorham's Tyler Sanschagrin and Colebrook Academy's Justin Siewierski collectively allowed just three hits.
Then came the fifth.
Suddenly finding thunder in their bats, the eighth-seeded Huskies put up eight runs and made it stand for an 8-3 win over the fourth-seeded Mohawks and a date in Saturday's championship game in Manchester with second-seeded Sunapee.
June 14: In Plymouth, N.H., the undefeated season came to an end for the White Mountains Regional softball team in Saturday's finals. Third-seeded Campbell kept the Division III crown 1-0, making the Spartans runners-up for the second year in a row.
The dream destroyer was delivered in the fifth. Gianna Cataldo led off with a boomer to center field that barely escaped a glove and landed the Cougar on third. One strikeout later, Emma Kuczowski drew the throw on a ground ball near first, while the eventual game-winner was scored.
June 14: In Burlington, it started 90 minutes late, but by the time some two hours and 20 minutes later, no one at Centennial Field would have said Saturday night's Division IV baseball championship wasn't worth the wait.
Taylor Lamberton's suicide squeeze bunt in the bottom of the ninth inning scored Tyler Davis from third base, giving Blue Mountain Union the Division IV championship with a 3-2 win Saturday night over Mt. St. Joseph. It was the Bucks' first title since 2010, and their fifth in the last 16 years.
June 15: In Poultney, tied 4-4 with a runner on base in the bottom of the eighth inning, Black River No. 9 hitter, Elsa Eliasson hit the walk-off single to win the Division IV softball championship over No. 4 Blue Mountain Union on Sunday.