Hartford High School's Mike Stone Named Top D-I Football Coach
Hartford High football coach Mike Stone, left, has won 10 state championships over a 26-year coaching career at his alma mater. (Valley News - James M. Patterson)
Hartford seniors Josh Claflin (25) and Jonathan Carlson (33) who were named to two all-state first teams in Vermont Division I. (Valley News - Ryan Dorgan)
Hartford senior linebacker Jonathan Carlson (33) pursues a B.F.A. - St. Albans receiver in the Division I Vermont high school football championship in November. (Valley News - Ryan Dorgan)
Win a lot of games, take a few championships, build some healthy relationships and a coach is bound to receive some recognition from his peers eventually.
Count longtime Hartford High football coach Mike Stone as a member of that crowd.
Stone, the Hurricanes’ boss for the past 26 autumns, was selected as the Vermont Division I coach of the year recently on a vote of the folks against whom he competes, the other 13 coaches in D-I. None of them have found a way around Hartford in quite a while: The Canes won their third consecutive state title, and their fifth in six years, last month. They went into the offseason riding a 26-game winning streak, one of the longest in program history.
Stone’s teams have won 10 Vermont Principals Association state crowns during his tenure at his high school alma mater. This season’s team had few peers, blowing through most foes after a season-opening scare from Colchester. The Hurricanes outscored their 11 opponents 409-167, rarely trailed in any of their contests and produced the Upper Valley’s top running back in senior Josh Claflin (1,476 yards, 23 touchdowns).
Claflin is among a healthy supply of Hartford players on the Division I all-state team, which was also compiled by the division’s coaches. In fact, Claflin (running back-defensive back) is one of four Hurricanes to make the all-state first team on both offense and defense: Mike Dulac (two-way line), John Carlson (fullback-inside linebacker) and Nolan Frechette (tight end-defensive end) were the others.
Hartford’s honors also contained three all-state spots for Taylor Potter, the first team as a kick returner and defensive back and the second team as a running back. Dulac was recently chosen the Vermont Gatorade player of the year for his skills at opening holes for his backs on offense and closing them to the opposition on defense.
Hartford’s other first-teamers included Patrick McGrath (defensive line) and Joe Wood (inside linebacker). Chris Koloski (offensive line), Donovan Kelly (defensive end) and Greg Schinn (quarterback) made the D-I second team, and the Canes’ Willy Todt (offensive line), Nolan Viens (outside linebacker) and Dylan Rice (defensive back) received honorable mention.
Vermont Division III state champion Woodstock was also well-represented on its respective all-state list. An offense that racked up 545 points during an 11-0 campaign and produced the Upper Valley’s top scorer in senior Ed Doton (26 TDs) dominated the first-team offense, with Doton joining tight end Jesse Davis and senior linemen Jared Stewart, Jalen Peterson and Will Gault on the team. Senior Hunter Schmell was D-III’s top choice for punting and placekicking, and junior Tyler Anstruther made the top squad as a kick returner.
Doton and Peterson doubled their first-team honors by making the top defensive unit, Doton as a linebacker, Peterson on the line. Zack Cole (defensive back) and Will Emmons (line) also made the defensive first team with Windsor’s Tyson Boudro, a defensive back who also made the first team at wide receiver.
The Yellowjackets’ high-powered offense also earned several top-team plaudits. In addition to Boudro, top Upper Valley receiver Leo Patenaude (711 receiving yards, 8 TDs) and top area quarterback Luke TanCreti (78-for-157, 1,260 yards, 16 TDs) also made the first team on offense. TanCreti led the region in attempts, completions, passing yards and touchdowns.
The rest of the D-III list:
∎ Woodstock: Second team — Tom Bauman (running back), Schmell (quarterback), Anstruther (wide receiver and defensive back), Alex King (linebacker). Honorable mention — Oliver Kaija (linebacker).
∎ Windsor: Second team — Ethan Hill (running back), Patenaude (defensive back). Honorable mention — Patenaude (punter).
∎ Oxbow: Second team — Justin Rasnic (defensive back). Honorable mention — Tyler Davidson (offensive line-linebacker), Dylan Hatin (offensive and defensive line), Randy Snelling (offensive and defensive line), Rasnic (running back), Keegan Grant (running back-defensive back), Nate Smith (running back-defensive line), Nick Nunn (wide receiver-defensive back), Hunter Page (linebacker).
Hanover and Lebanon combined to put five players on the New Hampshire Division IV all-state first team. The Marauders contributed wide receiver Cyrus Rothwell-Ferraris, quarterback Shawn Cavallaro and linebacker Carl Keating, while the Raiders’ input included Walker Camp (offensive tackle) and Dylan Drew (linebacker). The division’s coaches also bestowed honorable mention upon Hanover’s Rob Sabatelle (defensive tackle), Ian Smith (linebacker), Jack Cavallaro (outside linebacker) and Jesse Cutting (defensive end) along with Lebanon’s Austin Pelletier (wide receiver), Nevin Kapuscinski (running back), Jake Mellish (defensive end) and Grayson Hardy (tight end).
Kearsarge had four players and Stevens added two to the N.H. Division V first team. The Cougars sent running back Oliver Gallo, offensive lineman Ben Gambino, linebacker Jacob Jones and defensive back Peter Allen, while the Cardinals contributed defensive back Donald Pellerin and linebacker C.J. Gosselin. Second-team honors went to Stevens’ Logan Batchelder (quarterback), Billy Brooks (wide receiver), Rocky Belliveau (kicker) and Noah Ladd (defensive line) and Kearsarge’s Hugh Ramirez (offensive line), Tim Lewis (defensive line) and Tim Berube (defensive line). Each school placed two on the honorable mention list, Erik Hauck (running back) and Brad Donnelly (defensive back) representing Kearsarge, Chris Shattuck (linebacker) and Kai Kleyensteuber (defensive line) representing the Cards.
The New Hampshire Division VI all-state team, which should include several members from the Mascoma and Newport football squads, has yet to be released.
Off for a Good Run: Retiring Hanover High cross country coach Jim Aiken can claim another accomplishment — his final season in charge of the Marauders produced yet another all-state runner.
Senior Noah Williams earned the honor this time, joining the 10-athlete boys roster assembled by the New Hampshire Cross Country Coaches Association at the completion of the season last month. Williams gradually improved his results through his Hanover career, capping it with a runner-up finish behind Coe-Brown’s Jeremy Brassard in the NHIAA Division II state meet at Manchester’s Derryfield Park on Oct. 27. Williams, who hopes to run for Williams College next year, also took sixth in the NHIAA Meet of Champions on Nov. 3 and participated in the New England Championships in Maine on Nov. 10, finishing 38th out of more than 260 competitors from around the region.
The New Hampshire cross country all-state list also included Kearsarge’s Conor Terhune in Division III. A senior, Terhune ran to seventh place in the D-III state meet to make the MOC, where he was 43rd out of 157 competitors at Nashua’s Mines Falls Park.
Moreno Selects Moreno: Although he’d be willing to step aside should a more qualified candidate come along, the lateness of losing last year’s boys basketball coach has led South Royalton athletic director Jeff Moreno to take over the running of the Royals.
The need to find a bench boss came about when Robert “Stretch” Gillam resigned on Nov. 26, the first day of practice, for what he termed personal reasons. Moreno wasn’t able to find a suitable replacement, so he plans on being in charge — aided by fellow Hartford High graduate Bill Veilleux and Chuck Howe, the Royals’ varsity girls soccer coach — when South Royalton’s regular season begins on Dec. 21.
“It’s been a little hectic, but the boys have been outstanding,” Moreno reported yesterday.
Gillam, 78, coached the Royals for one season, reaching the Vermont Division IV quarterfinals. He has coached varsity basketball for more than 50 years and is a member of the Vermont Basketball Coaches Association hall of fame.
Don Mahler also contributed to this report.
Greg Fennell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 603-727-3226.