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Late scores boosts Hartford over BFA-St. Albans

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    Shellisa Jones, right, talks with her daughter Dakarai, 10, before the start of the Hartford High football game on Friday, Sept. 10, 2021, in White River Junction, Vt. Dakarai, who was a cheerleader for the Hartford Minicanes youth football team when her brother played, now plays for the Minicanes herself. "I'm proud of my daughter, she's doing rather well," Shellisa Jones said. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Valley News — Jennifer Hauck

  • Hartford High football player Tarin Prior, left, celebrates his touchdown with teammates AJ Aldrich and Brady Olmstead in the first half of their game with Bellows Free Academy on Friday, Sept. 10, 2021, in White River Junction, Vt. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Jennifer Hauck

  • Hartford's Brody Tyberski breaks away from Bellows Free Academy's Cole Montagne in the first half of their game on Friday, Sept. 10, 2021, in White River Junction, Vt. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Jennifer Hauck

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 9/11/2021 12:35:41 AM
Modified: 9/11/2021 12:35:52 AM

WHITE RIVER JUNCTION — Hartford High’s football team cruised to victory in its opening game last week, but the Hurricanes found themselves in a tougher battle Friday.

Hartford capitalized on critical second-half miscues by BFA-St. Albans, and the Canes pulled out a 20-6 victory in their annual Patriot Game at the Alumni Athletic Complex.

Hartford (2-0) dealt with snapping issues all game and made various other mistakes, especially in the first half. Head coach Matt Trombly was proud of the resolve his players showed to put those plays behind them and grind out a win.

“It’s very easy to get hyped up and play well when things are going your way, but when they don’t, it takes a lot of maturity to stick to your guns and keep grinding it out to the end,” Trombly said. “And I think that that does show a lot of maturity, especially for these young guys, that they didn’t hang their heads when they made a mistake. They stayed with it and then played the whole thing out.”

Tied at 6-6 late in the third quarter, BFA (1-1) was forced to punt after a third-down sack deep in its territory. Sophomore Seneca Durocher shanked the kick, netting only seven yards and giving Hartford possession at the 17-yard line.

Two plays later, sophomore Brody Tyberski gave Hartford the lead on an 11-yard touchdown run. Tyberski finished as Hartford’s leading rusher with 61 yards on 10 carries.

The Bobwhites nearly tied the game at 13 midway through the fourth quarter. Durocher reached the end zone on a 10-yard run, but a flag for a block below the waist took the points off the board. The penalty created a difficult long-yardage situation, and on fourth and goal from the 19-yard-line, the Bobwhites dropped a pass in the end zone that appeared catchable and would’ve leveled the score.

Hartford took over possession with around four minutes to play, in good shape to run the ball and work the clock. But after a one-yard run, Trombly dialed up play action, and sophomore quarterback Brayden Trombly — the coach’s son — hit senior receiver Tarin Prior over the top on a fly route. Prior stiff-armed a defender and took it all the way for a game-sealing 80-yard touchdown.

Prior knew his coach might take a shot and prepared himself for the opportunity. He said after the stiff-arm, his focus was simple.

“I was just thinking, ‘Don’t get caught, and just get in the end zone,’ ” Prior said. “Because at that point, I knew if I got in, we would have probably seal the game. It was a hard-fought game, so I really wanted to do that for my team.”

The touchdown was Prior’s second of the game. His first came late in the first quarter to tie the score at 6-6. He totaled 126 yards on three receptions.

Hartford’s first blunder came on its first possession. After going three-and-out, a high snap to Prior on a punt led to a block by Durocher, who ran it back 25 yards for a touchdown.

The younger Trombly threw two interceptions and lost a fumble but added 149 passing yards and the two touchdowns along with 17 rushing yards on nine carries.

The Hurricanes’ defense came up with several key stops and was a major factor in the win. Junior Trenton Bird picked off BFA senior quarterback Cole Montagne twice — the first of which came in the end zone on a first-and-goal. The second was on BFA’s first play after Prior’s 80-yard touchdown.

Coach Trombly was pleased with his defense, which pitched a shutout.

“They played solid,” Trombly said. “(Assistant coach) Marc Bucklin put together a really good game plan for tonight. We knew it was gonna be a grind and gonna have to be won in the trenches. And, fortunately, we ended up coming on top.”

Hartford will play at Burlington-South Burlington next week for its first road game of the season.

Seth Tow can be reached at stow@vnews.com.




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