Hartford Senior Wins Top Honor

Hartford High's Michael Dulac was named Vermont Gatorade player of the year.
Valley News file photograph -- Tris Wykes

Hartford High's Michael Dulac was named Vermont Gatorade player of the year. Valley News file photograph -- Tris Wykes

— No matter how sturdy their efforts, the contributions of offensive linemen can get overshadowed by those of their teammates carrying the football.

The exploits of two-way Hartford tackle Michael Dulac were impossible to ignore.

Dulac yesterday was named the Gatorade Vermont Football Player of the Year, less than three weeks after helping the Hurricanes win their third straight Division I title with a 35-27 win over BFA-St. Albans on Nov. 10.

Dulac, a 6-foot-3, 270-pounder from Hartford Village, started all 43 games he played over four years with the Canes. According to team statistics, he delivered 26 “pancake blocks” — taking an assigned defender completely out of the play, usually via knockdown — while protecting a Hartford offense that gained 4,056 on the ground and scored an average of 37 points per game this season.

Dulac, who plans to play college football at one of several potential Football Championship Subdivision suitors, is now a finalist for the Gatorade National Player of the Year Award to be announced next month.

“I couldn’t be more excited,” Dulac said in a phone interview last night. “I knew I was (a candidate) and thought I deserved it, but I wasn’t sure if I was going to get it, being a lineman. So to get recognized is huge.”

So is the imposing Dulac, although he made a conscious effort to lose what he called “bad weight” last offseason. Trimming 20 pounds and adding muscle, the titan’s improved physique led to improved technique on the field.

“He’s a big kid, but that’s far from all he brings to the table,” said Pete Lynch, Hartford’s seventh-year line coach. “He’s got great feet (and) amazing speed and agility for someone his size. He’s a special kid.”

In 2009, Dulac became the first freshman ever to start on the offensive line under 26th-year coach Mike Stone. He went on to start every game over four seasons, becoming a three-time first-team All-State selection and helping the Canes win their last 26 games dating back to October 2010.

“Anyone who’s a football person, who watches the game and not just the ball, knows what kind of an impact Mike made for us,” Stone said. “(Assistant coaches) Lynch and Bill (Schellong) get credit for pushing him along, seeing that he had a great motor and keeping him motivated.

“The thing about Mike is that he’s a great team guy; he’s intelligent and he’s got a great work ethic between the lines and in the classroom.”

Dulac, who carries a 3.71 grade-point average, has drawn interest from several FCS programs. Albany, Holy Cross, Bryant, Dartmouth and Brown are all on the list, he said.

Dulac is the second Hartford athlete in as many years to be recognized as their sport’s Gatorade Player of the Year, joining 2011 girls basketball selection Sarah Illingworth. He’s the fourth Hartford football player to receive the honor, following running back Randy St. Peter (1996), quarterback Teddy Mock (2003) and running back Mick Wong (2009).

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