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Tuesday September 23, 2008 Edition
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Tigers Just Short At St. J 13-6
MUHS Looked To Rebound After Two Tough Outings

Tuesday September 23, 2008

By Mike Cameron

   The Saint Johnsbury Hilltoppers have always been very difficult to defeat at home and like the Tigers they have a long-standing legacy of fielding some very good high school football teams.  Saint J. is also one of the oldest high schools in Vermont with many scholastic and athletic traditions.

   Known locally as “The Academy,” Saint J. is always prepared and well coached, Their traditional rivalry game with Lyndon Institute usually held in early November is truly one of the great small town sporting events held in New England every year and has been written about in major publications.

   Middlebury was coming off a loss at Rutland and was ready to regain some momentum for the 2008 season.  This would be the Tigers third road game in a row after defeating Otter Valley in the first contest of the year.  After the OV win, it has been a downhill slide for the Tigers and much of that due to injuries to key players and inexperience at many positions.

   Regaining some Team strength with healthy players would be a key issue for Middlebury as they approach the midway point of the high school football season.  This year that schedule has featured no less than 5 of their 9 regularly scheduled games on the road.

   The Tigers graduated almost two dozen players last year. They have been getting some solid work from Seniors Troy Audet and Dylan Newton, with Ryan Foley and Jimmy Danyow.  Tiger quarterback Dane Lilgistrand is also an excellent athlete for Middlebury and led the Tigers to a win against Otter Valley early in the year.

    St.J. had all they could handle against Essex in their most recent home game against the Hornets.  The Hornets scored 4 first half touchdowns and had the “Toppers” on the run the rest of the game finally taking the contest by a score of 27-6.  St. J. was also looking to get back on track against the Tigers.  Shoring up their pass defense was key for Saint J.  They have a strong running game with Edgario Curling.  Ryan Dustin and Travis Samuels had the potential to be a potent pass combination for Saint J.  Josh Waldner is also a very capable player for the Hilltoppers at quarterback.
Tiger Fall Short in Comeback Bid 13-6

   After a defensive battle for the first quarter, rugged running-back Edgario Curling  cracked into the endzone for the first touchdown of the game early in the second quarter.  The point after was booted true and the Hilltopper crowd was into this one on a sunny Saturday afternoon in St. Johnsbury.

   Knowing this was a key Division 1 contest for them, the Tigers never let up.  With big Sean Harrison back in pads Middlebury had some new spark.  Harrison threw a TD pass to Ryan Foley to end a two game scoring drought after St. J notched another TD in the action filled Third Quarter.  Josh Waldner had just thrown a 28 yard strike to Ben Price for a 13-0 Hilltopper  lead.  The visiting Tigers snuffed the extra point,  returning the favor from having their point after blocked moments earlier.  Cooper Quenneville had seven carries for 44 yards helping to keep the Tigers within winning distance until the final gun.

   The Tigers were much more productive in this one picking up 202 yards in total offense.    St.J notched 258.  Saint Johnsbury was able to control the tempo of the game with Curling who gained 152 yards rushing and had a TD to his credit.  The Tigers are now 1-3 1-2 overall and league and will meet a very strong Essex Hornet team at Doc Collins Field on Friday night September 26, 2008 for a 7:00 p.m. kickoff.

   This will be the Tiger's homecoming game for 2008 with plenty of festivities and introduction of some of the past Tiger football greats.  The big hometown crowd will be a welcome change after a long road schedule for Middlelbury.      


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