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Wasps Hold Off Vikings in Battle of Unbeatens

Woodstock — The beat goes on, but it wasn’t easy.

Woodstock Union High, which hasn’t lost a game in two seasons, continued its unbeaten ways with a grinding 41-32 win over Lyndon on Friday night at Jim McLaughlin Field.

It was a game that drew much attention, as the Wasps and Vikings had been pulverizing their way to 6-0 records — Woodstock in Vermont Division III and Lyndon in Division II. And like the two heavyweights they are, they slugged it out. There were five unsportsmanlike penalties and two blocking-in-the-back calls in the closing moments.

If there was a key turning point in a night of turning points, it may have come early in the fourth quarter when Lyndon, which was playing catch-up all night, scored with 10 minutes, 30 seconds to go to close in to 41-32. The Vikings tried to go for two to make it one-score game, but a pass failed.

This took on significant importance when Lyndon had its next possession with 5:11 to play. Faced with a third-and-3 from the Woodstock 17, quarterback James Shufelt was like Houdini, shaking off everyone that grabbed him and making his way to end zone. But hold on — back upfield, around the 15-yard-line there was a holding penalty. This was followed by two unsportsmanlike calls on the Vikings, and when all the punishment had been delivered, the Vikings, their fans grumbling loud, were pushed all the way back to their own 30.

On the next play, referee Don Strohmeyer looked like a signalman on an aircraft carrier as waved three more unsportsmanlike violations and a block in the back. Eventually the Vikings fumbled, Woodstock recovered and ran out the clock.

In seven games this season, the Wasps have outscored their opponents 350-121. Lyndon hasn’t been sitting on its hands all fall either, as they have scored 276 points.

The zaniest play of the game may have come in the Wasps’ first possession when they took a long drive to the Vikings’ 16 and were faced with a third-and-8. Quarterback Nehenmiah Wood rolled to his right and let fly a pass to Oliver Kaija on the 10, but the ball flicked off his fingers and right into the belly of teammate Ty Anstruther, sitting on his fanny at the 4 for a first down. Kaija took it in to give the Wasps the early lead.

That began a parade of scoring, with the Wasps having the upper hand and 27-12 lead at the break. Tom Bauman scored the final TD before the half on the option and cutting outside.

Lyndon, which deferred after winning the coin flip, came out of the gate in the second half with a purpose and scored right away on a Josh Guyer run from the 4.

But right back came the Wasps when Baumann, who had a lot of success running wide right, did so again, scoring from the 11 with 5:39 to play in the third and a less-than-comfortable 34-18 lead. The Vikings answered right back with Guyer sweeping off the right ends from the 30 to make it 34-24.

It was like a tennis match at this point as the ball went back and forth, Woodstock answering the Wasp tally with a Sam Cole sweep for the 30 and it was 41-26.