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Wasps Buzz Back For D-III Repeat

  • Woodstock senior Jarred Stewart (50) celebrates after Woodstock Union High School’s 38-18 victory over BFA-Fairfax for the Vermont Division III state title and their second perfect season.<br/>Valley News - Ryan Dorgan

    Woodstock senior Jarred Stewart (50) celebrates after Woodstock Union High School’s 38-18 victory over BFA-Fairfax for the Vermont Division III state title and their second perfect season.
    Valley News - Ryan Dorgan Purchase photo reprints »

  • Woodstock's Nicholas Sprague (23) and Ty Anstruther (5) bring down Fairfax quarterback Chad Aiken (12) during the Division III Vermont high school football championship in South Burlington, Vt., on Saturday, November 10, 2012. Woodstock won, 38-18.<br/><br/>Valley News - Ryan Dorgan

    Woodstock's Nicholas Sprague (23) and Ty Anstruther (5) bring down Fairfax quarterback Chad Aiken (12) during the Division III Vermont high school football championship in South Burlington, Vt., on Saturday, November 10, 2012. Woodstock won, 38-18.

    Valley News - Ryan Dorgan Purchase photo reprints »

  • Woodstock senior Jarred Stewart (50) celebrates after Woodstock Union High School’s 38-18 victory over BFA-Fairfax for the Vermont Division III state title and their second perfect season.<br/>Valley News - Ryan Dorgan
  • Woodstock's Nicholas Sprague (23) and Ty Anstruther (5) bring down Fairfax quarterback Chad Aiken (12) during the Division III Vermont high school football championship in South Burlington, Vt., on Saturday, November 10, 2012. Woodstock won, 38-18.<br/><br/>Valley News - Ryan Dorgan

South Burlington, Vt. — In order to wrap up its second perfect season, the Woodstock Union High football team had to overcome a few imperfections against BFA-Fairfax in yesterday’s Vermont Principals Association Division III state championship game.

Having spotted the No. 2 Bullets a quick 12-0 lead and still trailing in the third quarter after their second lost fumble, the Wasps rallied with scores on four fourth-quarter possessions in a 38-18 win at South Burlington High School.

Junior running back Tom Baumann had a game-high 136 yards and two touchdowns as undefeated Woodstock finished 11-0, wrapping up its second straight title and 10th overall. Although the Wasps were dominant throughout the year, yesterday’s tight battle tested their will, but they responded.

“We haven’t had a lot of close games, and there were a lot of ups and downs today,” 31st-year Woodstock coach Jim McLaughlin said. “We weren’t physical enough in the first half, and part of that is psychological. When you get down (on the scoreboard), sometimes your heads go down. BFA is a good team and tested our football IQs today.”

The Bullets (9-2) — whose only two losses this year came against the Wasps — marched 81 yards on the game’s first series, going ahead 6-0 on Chad Aiken’s 23-yard QB keeper 4 minutes, 19 seconds into the game.

It was 12-0 just 23 seconds later, as BFA’s top back, Kris Wehner, exploded down the right side for a 45-yard score after the Bullets recovered a Ty Anstruther fumble at the end of a long kickoff return.

“They executed their offense really well with their ground game and took advantage of our miscues,” McLaughlin said of BFA. “Hats off to them because it was a tough start for us.”

The Bullets missed both of their PATs and Woodstock scored the next two touchdowns for a 14-12 lead. Baumann ran for a 34-yard gain before senior fullback Ed Doton (15 carries, 102 yards) capped a six-play drive with a 17-yard burst to make it 12-7, following QB Hunter Schmell’s extra point with 4:28 left in the first.

Anstruther made up for his earlier gaffe with a 36-yard punt return to midfield, helping set up Baumann’s 30-yard touchdown scamper on the first play of the second quarter.

Both teams turned the ball over on downs before halftime, BFA after maintaining possession for 12 plays and picking up four first downs.

“(The Bullets) played almost perfect in the first half,” said Doton, who doubles as a linebacker. “They hit hard and had us deflated a little bit. It was definitely the hardest game of the season.”

Senior Nicholas Sprague coughed up the ball for Woodstock on the first series of the third quarter, giving it to the Bullets at the Wasps 35.

Aiken converted a fourth-and-short with another keeper and BFA regained the lead on a 1-yard plunge by fullback Jared Demar. The Bullets failed on a 2-point conversion attempt to keep the score 18-12.

The Wasps punted before getting the break they needed on the next BFA series. Aiming to build off momentum, the Bullets instead turned the ball over, with Sprague pouncing on a fumbled exchange out of the snap.

Woodstock was virtually unstoppable from that point on, retaking the lead a Doton’s 17-yard scoring rush to begin the fourth quarter and for the first of four straight scoring drives.

“We definitely needed that (fumble recovery) Doton said. “That’s what we needed to get our foot on the gas.”

Baumann exploded down the left side for a 75-yard touchdown on the first play of the next Woodstock drive, put him over 100 yards for the second time this season against BFA (his only pair of 100-yard games).

Doton scored his third of the day on a toss sweep to the right to make it 35-18 with 5:13 remaining. Its defense having locked down — the Wasps allowed just one first down after Sprague’s fumble recovery — Woodstock clinched the win with Schmell’s 30-yard field goal, followed by Alex King’s interception and 20-yard runback with 3:28 left.

“We finally picked it up and got back to our old selves,” Baumann said. “We calmed down and picked it up.”

Jared Pendak can be reached at jpendak@vnews.com or 603-727-3306.