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Throwing a Change-Up: Run-Heavy Woodstock Knows How to Pass, Too

  • Woodstock quarterback Trevor White runs a passing play during practice in Woodstock, Vt., Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018, ahead of their championship game with Poultney on Saturday. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Woodstock assistant coach Zach Scott calls a play to quarterback Trevor White as head coach Ramsey Worrell, right, makes a point to Gage Lory at practice in Woodstock, Vt., Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018. Woodstock will play Poultney in the state championship on Saturday. (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
Friday, November 09, 2018

Woodstock — It’s hard to imagine Woodstock Union High’s high-powered football team jealously guarding some secret weapon. The Wasps are the only undefeated team remaining in Vermont, out-scoring opponents by both a wide margin and at an alarming rate in nine contests this fall. Their rushers are ruthless and quick, their linemen are disciplined and powerful.

All of it has been too much to handle for those in VPA Division III.

And yet Woodstock head coach Ramsey Worrell still has an ace in his back pocket named Trevor White, the Wasps junior quarterback with a strong, accurate arm and a newly mastered ability to read opposing defenses. The Wasps haven’t needed White to throw much this season; their senior-heavy running corps has done plenty of damage.

But Worrell knows he’s there, just in case. Woodstock may need all of its tricks when it takes on No. 2 Poultney in Saturday’s D-III championship game at Rutland High.

“We spend a lot of time in the summer working on our passing game,” Worrell said after practice on Wednesday. “We’re such a run-heavy team, it’s hard to spend as much time on it as possible. … We certainly have thrown more this year than we have last year.”

White, a Brownsville native who started playing quarterback with Windsor’s development program as a third-grader, honed his craft over the summer, attending a quarterback development camp with National Football Academies and, later, a quarterback competition in Atlanta. It was there that his game took off, developing both his reading of defensive formations and his confidence. He returned the Upper Valley a different player.

“Last year, I was a little shaky,” White said. “I was a sophomore, a young kid. I wasn’t the big dog on the team yet. … (The development camp) was a great experience. You meet quarterbacks from all over the place.”

He’s turned that preparation into a strong season under center for Woodstock — 24-for-42 passing for 563 yards and 11 touchdowns. He’s the only Upper Valley quarterback with double-digit touchdown passes, assisted largely by Woodstock’s plethora of versatile weapons.

White’s numbers also are a jump from last year — a season in which White admitted he was still transitioning into varsity football. White was 21-for-49 in 10 games as a sophomore in 2017, throwing for 291 yards and four touchdowns.

“It’s good. It feels like you have more control of the offense than in previous years,” White said. “I just love throwing the ball. I love that coach trusts me, to give me the ball and make those decisions. I trust my receivers and my line to give me the time. I’m not worried about it. Obviously, it’s worked for us.”

The Wasps took defending champion Windsor to overtime in last year’s D-III title game, eventually falling, 13-7. White managed only one completion for 22 yards in the loss.

One year later, Worrell said his team is better prepared for the atmosphere.

“It’s a long week,” Worrell said. “There is definitely urgency. I’ve done this as a player and a coach, you get anxious. With this group, they’re definitely getting anxious.”

Woodstock’s offense is a well-oiled machine, out-scoring opponents, 327-55, in nine wins. Only two Vermont teams, D-II’s Burr & Burton (7-1) and Fair Haven (6-2), have scored more points.

And yet none of Woodstock’s most prominent weapons have managed more than 1,000 rushing yards, a tribute to the number of standouts who share time in the Wasps’ backfield. Caden White leads the group with 830 yards on 87 carries and 14 touchdowns, Ben Marsicovetere has rushed for 630 yards on 32 carries and 12 touchdowns and Micah Schlabach has carried for 343 yards on 21 carries and three touchdowns.

Schlabach has also developed into Trevor White’s favorite receiving option, putting up 211 yards and two touchdowns on seven completions.

“One of the things Trevor has done well at is he’s matured as a mental quarterback,” Worrell said. “He’s reading defenses; last year I think a lot of it was repetition on what we coach and less about when he walks up to the line of scrimmage, getting a pre-snap read and anticipating what someone might do based on his study of the week. He’s done a better job of that this year.”

Woodstock racked up 103 points on rival Windsor in back-to-back games over the last three weeks, including a 55-13 win over the Yellowjackets in the D-III semifinals last week. The Wasps beat Poultney, 50-13, on Oct. 5 in a regular-season contest.

But the Blue Devils seem to have righted the ship since the last time they faced the high-speed Wasps. Poultney, which lost starting quarterback Levi Allen to a season-ending knee injury the week before the Woodstock game, enters Saturday’s championship game having won three straight. It defeated No. 3 BFA-Fairfax, 14-6, in the semifinals and will make its first D-III title appearance in 11 years.

“Man, it’s hard to tell. (Poultney head coach Dave Capman) does a lot that’s different,” Worrell said. “He does some funky formations. … They have a really tough fullback. He’s really tough, hard to tackle. I expect a heavy dose of him. And their quarterback is pretty good.

“(Allen) was really quick, I was more worried about him than anybody else,” he added. “Since then, they’ve had five weeks to adjust. … I expect a more confident team.”

The championship appearance will be Woodstock’s 17th, a D-III high, since the level was established in 1991.

Woodstock graduates 12 from its roster in the offseason, a group that includes some of its biggest contributors. White, however, will return for his senior season in 2019; his development may be key to next year’s young squad.

“I think there’s going to be a lot more pressure on me to make a good call and make the right decision — to run, to throw or bail out,” White said.

“I’m going to have to make a lot more decisions. I’m hoping my team can trust me enough to make those decisions. Hopefully I’ll make good decisions when I get the chance.”

Kickoff for Saturday’s D-III final is set for 11 a.m.

Josh Weinreb can be reached at jweinreb@vnews.com or 603-727-3306.