Eagles Convert a Win Over Jacks

Windsor High running back Ethan Hill eludes Mt. Abraham tackler Josh Cyr during the first half of Saturday's Vermont Division III game against the visiting Eagles. Valley News - Tris Wykes

Windsor High running back Ethan Hill eludes Mt. Abraham tackler Josh Cyr during the first half of Saturday's Vermont Division III game against the visiting Eagles. Valley News - Tris Wykes Purchase photo reprints »

Windsor — It’s always a tough call in overtime whether to take the ball first if you win the toss or go on defense. Windsor won the toss in its key Vermont Division III matchup with Mount Abraham on Saturday, took the ball and scored easily, but missed the 2-point conversion.

The Eagles then took their turn from the 10 and scored easily, as both teams were wilting from the heat. Mount Abraham then won the game 34-32 after rushing for the 2-point conversion.

The loss is a bit of setback for the Yellowjackets, as they fell to 2-3 in a division that has several hot teams, including Mount Abraham (3-1).

The final 96 seconds of regulation and the overtime were a bit zany, as both teams were feeling the effects of the weather. Several players on both sides of the field got sick. Windsor took a 26-20 lead with 1:36 to play when Ethan Hill scored his fourth touchdown of the day, taking it in from the 6-yard line.

Windsor tired a squib kick, that turned into a big boost for the Eagles as they scooped it up at their own 47 with 1:29 to play. On the first play from scrimmage, Aaron Rowell tossed a 53-yard scoring strike in the corner of the end zone to tie the game at 26. The Eagles then tried to kick the point, after but Ryan Paquin’s kick was low and tipped away.

There was still 1:17 to play, but the Jacks couldn’t put anything together and it was off to overtime.

Windsor scored right away in the extra session, as quarterback Nick Kapuscinski found Hunter Patenaude all alone in the end zone to give the Jacks a 32-26 lead. Windsor tried to pass for 2-point conversion, but it was incomplete.

The tired Windsor defense didn’t have much left and it showed, as Tommy Lee Hodsden had an easy rush into the end zone on the first play and then duplicated the dash for the 2-point conversion to win the game.

Tommy Hodsden and Windsor’s Hill are in the midst of huge seasons. Saturday, Hill scored four touchdowns to give him 16 on the season. On a very hot day, he carried the ball 38 times for 181 yards. Hodsden had two touchdowns and rushed for 171 yards in 16 carries. Hill has rushed for 1,103 yards and Hodsden 1,178 this fall.

“I’ve got to get on the bus and take care of some of my players who got sick today,” said Mount Abraham coach Ernie Senecal.

Meanwhile, Windsor’s Tyson Boudro was receiving aid from the Windsor trainer because of the heat. Twice the game was stopped in the fourth quarter as Windsor players were ill.

While Windsor coach Greg Balch admitted he was disappointed with the loss, he was proud of his team’s resiliency.

“I think we turned some boys into men today,” the first-year coach said.

After Mount Abraham scored on a 64-yard run on its first play from scrimmage in the opening quarter, Windsor answered with two scores, both tallied by Hill on runs from the 1- and 7-yard lines. The Jacks converted the first score on a Kapuscinski to Patenaude pass to make 14-6 with 3:17 to play in the half. The Eagles made it a 14-12 game with just 19 seconds to go before the break when Austin Lafayette bulled his way in from the 1.

Windsor got the lead up to 20-12, Hill going in from the four, but Hill was stopped on the try for 2. The Eagles tied it with 9:02 to go in the fourth quarter as Lafayette took it in from in close. Joey Payea passed to Tyrus Keith for the 2-point conversion and a 20-20 deadlock, laying the groundwork for the dramatic finish by two physically drained teams.

“The scoreboard didn’t work in our favor, but we played a very good team very tough,” Balch said. “I’m not disappointed.”

Next for the Jacks is a Friday night game at Springfield.

As Senecal talked about the heat and the affect it had on his team he thought depth might have been the deciding actor. “We had some kids step up in very delicate situations,” he said.