As I sit at home with a gallon of tea in front of me due to a serious case of laryngitis and a nasty cold, my first time calling out sick in over a year has given me time to reflect on what was one heck of a football season. If I have my count correct, I did something like 35 games in between Middlebury College, the Ice Storm, UVM and high school. There are days in which I would think, "Gee Fells, you are insane for keeping up this pace." The reality of it is that man alive, this thing some would call work sure beats working for a living.
Middlebury College wins its first ever NESCAC title with a 21-19 victory over Tufts down in Boston. The team this season was simply outstanding, and was a blast to watch. Freshman quarterback Donald McKillop played more like a senior, and the defensive unit was simply unreal this season. Credit Coach Ritter for opening up the playbook a little more and really making things exciting. The Middlebury parents as always were wonderful to me. They more or less ordered me to join them in the post-game tailgate parties, and their warmth, kindness and allowing me to get to know them and their kids meant the world to me. This is one of the many reasons covering the NESCAC and the Panthers is so much fun for me.
UVM saw their season end on Sunday with a 28-0 loss to the Ravens on a frigid day in Barre. Credit Ravens coach Mike Salmon's defense and Warren Bombardier for getting open for a couple of huge touchdowns. Don't credit the officiating crew who as always were simply awful. When Darren Haynes gets upset about a series of calls, you know the officials are bad. Darren is about as laid back as the day is long, and he actually had to be restrained by his coaching staff after another typically abysmal series of calls that went against the Cats. Also, when someone as equally laid back in Mike Salmon gets upset, you know there is something wrong. Darren, thanks for your kindness, insight, and humor this year. Let's do it again next season. To Mike and the Ravens, bring home the title next week!!!!
The Ice Storm this season gave us more thrills than can be described. Not only did they go 15-0, but Rob Joy showed us all what it means to have guts. For those who were not at the EFL title game, Rob took one of the most sickening shots to the knee I have ever seen. The entire crowd could hear him screaming, and no one expected he would come back into the game again, much less walk without a limp for the rest of his life. What did Rob do? He only caught the game winning TD pass with four seconds to go in the game on one leg. Way to go Rob, and congrats to the Ice Storm.
High school action saw guys like Taylor Devarney run wild, South Burlington upset Middlebury to get to the state finals, and more thrills than I can even remember right now. Vermont does not get enough credit for their play on the gridiron. Man alive, in between South Burlington, Essex, Middlebury and all of the other teams I covered this season, people should take notice and do so now. We may be a small state, but we have athletes here that are as good as there are in the country. Coming from California and seeing some great football in my day, this is saying something.
To stray from football for a second, I would like to thank the Vermont Frost Heaves for inviting me to play in their fan fest. Being on the court again was a blast, and hitting a nice little 22 footer was even better. My final professional line: 1-2 from the field, 1-2 from three point land, no boards, no assists, no fouls, and 248 shirt pulls telling Lafftery to get my butt out of the game before I needed oxygen.
This may sound like a goodbye, but trust me, it isn't. This week we start our coverage of Saint Michael's college basketball, both men's and women's as well as hockey as well. Saint Mike's is a tremendous school with amazing people. I cannot wait to do the broadcasts of the games, as well as doing PA this coming weekend. High school hockey and basketball is coming too, and I still can't believe I get paid to do what I do for a living.
Now to take my second nap of the day............
I would be remiss if I did not send my best to my father-in-law Erik who is in the ICU at Dartmouth. Get well soon old man...........