Hartford football secures playoff spot

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 10/18/2019 10:08:23 PM
Modified: 10/18/2019 10:19:05 PM

WHITE RIVER JUNCTION — With its season on the line on Friday night, Hartford High football delivered. The Hurricanes blew past visiting archrival Rutland, 28-14, behind 192 total rushing yards, and punched their ticket to the VPA Division I playoffs.

After a scoreless first quarter, Hartford strung together three straight scoring drives.

Lining up in a wildcat formation with Kyle Hamilton in the shotgun, the Hurricanes ran the ball 11 straight times over five minutes.  Zach Burek capped it off with a 13-yard run while carrying multiple Raiders on his back. The score put Hartford up 7-0 with 5:33 to play in the first half.

Rutland answered on the ensuing kickoff when Ethan Coarse ran the return back 70 yards.

Hartford took the lead before the half on a 29-yard pass from Cole Jasmin to Cole Shambo. The Canes got in the red zone on a 21-yard connection between the two.

Receiving the ball to start the second half, Hartford only needed three plays to extend its lead to two scores. Shambo took off up the right sideline for a 62-yard touchdown.

Along with the much-needed offensive production, the Canes’ stingy defense made key stops. They forced a Rutland punt or turnover on downs on eight straight possessions. The Raiders didn’t score their only offensive touchdown of the game until the fourth quarter.

On their senior night, Burek and Hamilton stole the show.

Hamilton racked up 19 rushing yards and had two receptions for 11 yards, but it was his poise in the wildcat which gave Hartford an edge. He also tallied a sack. 

Burek rushed the ball 13 times for 90 yards and a score. 

Shambo collected 90 rushing yards on 10 carries. 

Cole Jasmin was a perfect 9-of-9 through the air for 143 yards and two scores; the second was on a 20-yard throw to junior running back Alex Bushway. 

The win puts Hartford in the playoffs. The Canes faced the prospect of waiting out games involving Champlain Valley and Mount Mansfield over the weekend had they lost. Instead, Hartford’s headed to the postseason again.

Last year, Hartford lost in the first round to St. Johnsbury. The Canes’ last state championship came in 2012.

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