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Woodstock Pulls Snow Job on Olympians

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 10/29/2016 12:12:11 AM
Modified: 10/29/2016 12:12:24 AM

Woodstock — The year’s first snowfall blanketed James T. McLaughlin Field prior to Friday night’s Vermont Division III football quarterfinal between Oxbow and Woodstock, the removal of which decorated its perimeter with modest banks of the white stuff. After kickoff, the only thing piling up were Wasps touchdowns — nine of them — in a 58-0 win over the Olympians.

Fullback Ezra Astbury rumbled for 141 yards and two scores on just nine carries and senior Dan Robinson needed just four rushes for 97 yards and a touchdown as the No. 2 Wasps (8-1) bounced back from a loss to archrival Windsor in a battle for the top seed a week ago.

Woodstock advances to host the winner of today’s game between No. 6 BFA-Fairfax and No. 3 Otter Valley next Friday night.

Against a team that gave it fits last season — Woodstock won in the 2015 regular season against Oxbow on a last-second score, then needed an Olympians fumble at the Wasps’ 6-yard line to secure a playoff win — Woodstock wasted little time asserting itself in the teams’ first meeting this season, leading 27-0 after running only eight offensive plays. 

Ball security was again an issue for the Olympians (3-6), who fumbled on their first two possessions before Woodstock’s Luc Issa intercepted Oxbow’s Noah Johnson on their third. 

Also the team’s QB, Issa found Robinson for a 23-yard touchdown, Astbury ran for 26 down the left side for another score, and Patrick Potter went in from 29 to give the Wasps 21 points — all off turnovers — 6:37 into the game.

“Coming in, we wanted to jump out fast and take control of this one as quickly as we could,” said Woodstock coach Ramsey Worrell. “The turnovers certainly helped. We only forced one of them (the interception), but we were able to take advantage.”

Potter finished with 76 yards on six carries and Ora Astbury went for 43 yards and two scores for Woodstock, which used nine running backs to accumulate 437 yards and eight scores on the ground despite playing without speedy starter Bill Wood (concussion).

Johnson finished 9-of-16 for 61 yards and the Olympians amassed just 52 yards on the ground (33 including sacks) in an unceremonious final game for Oxbow coach Sean Murphy, who announced his departure after three years with the program.

The Olympians replaced 19 of 22 starting positions from last year’s team, Murphy noted, and carried 10 freshmen on a roster of 22 this year.

“I knew it was a long shot to beat this team, but what I wanted to see was a lot of effort,” Murphy said. “I saw that at times. At other times, we self-destructed.”

Robinson scored on a 64-yard dash late in the first quarter and again from 18 yards out to make it 34-0 in the second quarter. Ezra Astbury bulldozed in from the 34 before halftime, and Caden White and Ora Astbury added scoring runs during running time in the second half.

Robinson and Ezra Astbury looked untouchable, the latter resembling previous fullbacks such as Oliver Kaija and Ed Doton who have helped the Wasps to championships in the past while excelling in Woodstock’s traditional wing-T offense.

“If you play fullback in this offense over the years, whether for (retired longtime Wasps coach Jim McLaughlin) or myself, you’re going to get a lot of touches,” said Worrell, whose brother, Temple, was a fullback for the program in the mid-1990s. “Ezra has been doing a great job in that role for three years now.”

Extra Points: Wood is expected to return for Friday’s semifinal. The Wasps defeated both the Otters (41-14) and Bullets (42-14) during the regular season. … Woodstock sophomore Jed Astbury was 4-for-6 on extra points. He also kicked five Woodstock kickoffs out of bounds for penalties, which Worrell attributed to technique work. … Johnson started the last five games at QB for the Olympians after Dametres Perry suffered a season-ending leg injury. … Woodstock knelt on 2-point conversion tries following its final three touchdowns. … Murphy, the director of guidance at St. Johnsbury Academy and a father of four boys, is stepping down to “watch my kids play,” he said. … Oxbow graduates six seniors: Perry, Jake Stimson, Johnson, Kyle Pittman, Trevor MacAloney, Richard Rosten and Josh Walls. 

Jared Pendak can be reached at or 603-727-3225.



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