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Jacks go on the attack

  • Ben Gilbert, of Windsor, middle, lands after a catch with Hartford’s Alex Bushway, right, in his path and Colin Vielleux on his heels during their game in Windsor, Vt., Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020. Windsor won 57-36. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to Valley News photographs — James M. Patterson

  • Windsor and Hartford football meet for their first game under pandemic rules in Windsor, Vt., Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020. Each team could field only seven players with plays limited to passing only and no tackling. Windsor won 57-36. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to James M. Patterson

  • Athena Efstathiou, left, her fiance Erik Sheffield, middle, and Laura Efstathiou, right, cheer Athena’s son Logan Goad and his Windsor teammates during their game with Hartford in Windsor, Vt., Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to

  • Windsor teammates Caden Lockwood, left, and Dalton Clifford, right, celebrate after Lockwood scored on a two-point conversion early in the Yellow Jackets’ 57-36 win over Hartford in Windsor, Vt., Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020. Cole Withington, middle, runs to join his team for their possession. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to James M. Patterson

Valley News Correspondent
Published: 9/26/2020 10:18:11 PM
Modified: 9/26/2020 10:18:08 PM

Seven-man football made its Upper Valley debut Saturday at MacLeay-Royce Field with Windsor defeating Hartford, 57-36.

Vermont’s pandemic-induced format is a style of play the Yellowjackets were unaccustomed to before this season, according to their coach, Greg Balch.

“We’ve had a chance to enter 7-on-7 tournaments in the past, but we usually don’t have the numbers to do it,” Balch said. “Usually the kids are playing baseball or summer basketball, so we have not done it before.”

Balch’s bunch parlayed their preseason instruction into Saturday’s upset of the Hurricanes. The two local teams don’t normally face off because of their discrepancy in size, but the VPA has established regional schedules for this abnormal season.

Both schools played linemen in the first and third quarters and non-lineman in the second and fourth.

Windsor started the game on offense with senior, Jordan Place, as the starting quarterback. With no kickoffs, the offense took possession at its own 30-yard line. Everyone except the center was an available receiver for Place, who found Caden Lockwood on four passes for a total of 74 yards, including the touchdown and two-point conversion.

Hartford’s first series didn’t materialize as Lockwood intercepted QB Colin Veilleux’s second pass of the afternoon (the first was incomplete) and ran it in for a TD before catching the two-point conversion from Place.

Veilleux’s next drive was more successful with the Canes driving 41 yards before turning the ball over on downs.

Place threw a 52-yard completion to Lockwood for the third TD of the quarter and the guests found themselves in a 24-0 hole (courtesy of another conversion by Lockwood) when Cole Jasmin came in to quarterback Hartford for the remainder of the contest.

Jasmin got things going quickly for the Canes, leading a drive that culminated with a 30-yard touchdown bomb to Alex Bushway. Devon Sinclair completed the two-point conversion.

Maison Fortin took over at quarterback for the Jacks in the second quarter and promptly drove the team to four first downs before tossing a 5-yard TD to Logan Worrall. Kaleb Swett kicked the extra point for Windsor, which featured its two quarterbacks equally on Saturday.

“They’ve both been real competitive with each other through the early part of the season,” Balch said. “So we struggled with exactly what to do. They’re two different styles of quarterback. … They’ve both have a good arm. Jordan’s maybe a little bit more of a manager and Mason’s a little bit more of a gunslinger, but they’re both very good and they both play with both groups.”

Hartford finished off the second quarter with some much-needed momentum.

Jasmin led the Canes on an efficient drive that included a 29-yard touchdown completion to Nic Larose. Kobe Peach added kicked the extra point to make it 31-15.

Windsor’s final drive of the half was thwarted when Jasmin intercepted Fortin in the red zone with 21 seconds remaining.

The second half saw Windsor touchdowns by Owen Rhoad, Austin Gauld, Owen Abrahamsen and Jackson Davis; a two-point conversion by John Cook; and interceptions by Kaleb Smith and Lockwood (tipped by Dalton Clifford).

The Hurricanes got second-half touchdowns from Jacob Dwinell (two) and Jacob Seaver; a two-point conversion from Dwinell; and an extra point from Peach.

The visitors were understandably disappointed by the loss, though happy to be playing competitive football during the pandemic, according to Bushway.

“It feels very good to have the season going,” Bushway said. “We have a lot of work to do. We’ve just got to keep working hard and hopefully it will come around.”

Bushway, who played tailback last year for the Canes, was asked if ever could have ever imagined playing Windsor with no pads and only 14 players on the field.

“No,” he said. “It was kind of a shock to us at the beginning, but (we’re) working with what we got, and hope to make the best of it.”

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