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Hurricanes drive to be better

  • Hartford quarterback Cole Jasmin, 16, warms up with the team during a practice at Hartford High School in White River Junction, Vt., Monday, August 19, 2019 ahead of a preseason scrimmage with Woodstock on Tuessday. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Hurricanes Head Coach Matthew Trombly reviews a play with running back Cole Shambo, 15, right, during practice at Hartford High School in White River Junction, Vt., Monday, August 19, 2019. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Running back Cole Shambo, 15, tosses the ball to himself while waiting for the next play to be called during offensive line practice at Hartford High School in White River Junction, Vt., Monday, August 19, 2019. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.



Valley News Staff Writer
Monday, August 19, 2019

WHITE RIVER JUNCTION — Coach Matt Trombly used the offseason to fully digest Hartford’s season-ending defeat last fall to St. Johnsbury. The 30-0 loss in the first round of the Vermont Principals Association Playoffs marked the second-straight season the Hurricanes exited the postseason at the hands of the Hilltoppers.

He watched the film multiple times. He admitted that the Hurricanes didn’t play good football. He used the game to motivate players in offseason conditioning. But Trombly, entering his fifth season as the Hurricanes’ head coach, knows he can’t live in the past.

So on Monday morning, with the second week of preseason camp underway, he’s turned his attention fully to a new season filled with new questions and different hurdles.

“The past two years we’ve literally gone back and forth with them,” Trombly said. “Beating them the first week of the year was a big win after losing to them in the state title game. Going in we knew it was going to be a battle, we just didn’t play well and they played great. That’s what it came down to.”

Cole Jasmin learned from the St. Johnsbury loss, too, and used it in the weight room. Always the first one in, the junior quarterback transformed his body.

He’s lost significant weight since last October to become faster in the pocket.

With the weight loss, Jasmin helped Trombly lead the quarterback practices twice a week.

In the spring, his work in the winter started to show against Hanover and Lebanon in 7-on-7 workouts.

This preseason he’s become a leader on the field, helping younger players get in position and working closely with his wide receivers. That’s why he’s been named a captain in his junior year, one of the only juniors Trombly can recall earning the title during his 17 years of coaching at Hartford.

Not many sophomores start at the varsity level, but Jasmin did. While the Hurricanes had to deal with the bumps that come with it, Trombly’s confident that it will pay off this season and next.

“I think that loss was always in the back of our heads. It’s definitely a low blow to us, we didn’t expect to exit that early,” Jasmin said. “I’m excited to get out there and show guys what I’ve worked on. It’s been a really big help for my coaches to help me and give me the opportunity to get in there (weight room).”

Jasmin has shown growth and command of the Wing-T offense, and presents Trombly with the hope of a strong passing game. Still, the running attack that Hartford prides itself on will be leaned upon heavily.

The departure at running back of Nick Porter — who suited up for Vermont in the Shrine Game — opens up a larger role for Zach Burek, who shared the carries with Porter and Reece Thompson.

Burek was a part of the 2016 Hurricane team that won the Division I state title over St. Johnsbury. With that experience, he’s expected to be the leader of the backfield along with Jasmin.

“What I remember (from 2016) was the whole entire team being committed, whether you were on the field or just standing on the sidelines” Burek said. “Obviously our numbers are slim, and we need everyone to have their hearts into the game and we’ll have a winning season.”

Sitting on the end of a golf cart as players filter out of the locker room for lunch, Trombly seems at ease with his football program.

With Jasmin and Burek leading the offense, he feels confident that the Hurricanes won’t be shut out as they were at the end of last season.

His defensive front seven is experienced, which should allow for his young secondary to adjust to life under the bright varsity lights.

And around him, Hartford’s making sure its program remains known. An Alumni Arch is being built at the entrance of the stadium, an ode to the program’s foundation that Mike Stone built.

A new press box has been put in and a new scoreboard should be installed before the Hurricanes kick-off their season on Friday, Aug. 30 against Rice Memorial.

Like every season in Hartford, the expectation is to play football in November and contend for a state title. That’s how it’s supposed to be, Trombly said because Hartford’s a football town.

“I don’t think it’s any secret that Hartford’s a football town and has been for a really long time,” he said.

AUDIBLES: Thirty-five players practiced for the Hurricanes on Monday morning, but Trombly says the number is closer to 40 due to injuries and a few with a stomach bug.

They’re set to take on Woodstock and Springfield on Tuesday night at 6 p.m. at Hartford in a scrimmage-style meeting.

On Saturday, Hartford will play in the Hanover Jamboree. Varsity is set to start at 6 p.m. at Merriman-Branch Field.