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Tiger Football 2010 Underway MUHS To Battle Lyndon In The Kingdom

Monday September 6, 2010

By Mike Cameron

    Is it that time of year already? You bet...the pads are poppin and the air is filled with High School football mania.  Who will be king of the hill and top of the heap when November arrives in sadly just a few short months from now?  One thing is for certain; the MUHS Varsity Football Tigers will be in the thick of it.  After all is said and done, Tiger football has a great record in the months of October and November.  Will 2010 be any different?  

    Coaches Dennis Smith who runs the Varsity football program at MUHS, along with Jed Malcolm and John Nuceder his capable assistants will be taking their troops to Lyndon Institute for game number one of the 2010 campaign on Saturday afternoon September 4th.  They will be taking on the Vikings and one of Vermont's oldest  and most respected high school football programs.  

    Lyndon enjoys incredible fan support and especially alumni support from all over the world.   The Lyndon verses Saint Johnsbury Academy football game late in the schedule is a state rivalry football classic that is one of the oldest in the country.  Over the years this small but popular sports community  situated in a classic Vermont country community has gained legendary status as a Mecca for student athletes.

    The Tigers have created a few traditions and legends of their own.  An evening at Doctor Ray Collins Field in the fall, under the lights is one of the best sports values available today and the Tiger fans respond in droves.  Competitive program, great venue and great hot dogs in the food booth are always anticipated and never disappointing.  Tiger pride reaches deep into the local community here in Addison County.

    It could be a good year for the Tiger faithful.  Graduation did not decimate the ranks this year and Dennis Smith's use of underclassmen last year out of sheer necessity has built a solid corps of experienced talent on both sides of the ball.  “We weren't hit as hard as usual at graduation time this year and with  the amount of kids we were able to put in game situations last year, that should help us down the road,” Smith explained in an interview with the Valley Voice this past Tuesday August 31st 2010.

    Gone are the likes of big Jimmy Danyow a co-captain who had a heart as big as his considerable stature and skills.  After suffering a terrible ankle sprain early in the year, Jimmy fought back to play in the stretch run all the while hobbled by the injury.  Ryan Foley has also departed.  A sleek and versatile talent with a great mind for the game has also  moved to the college level.  There were others too.  Names like Billings, Doria, Bradford, Hobbs, Rouse, Odell and Swinhart, now graduated but who played some great football during difficult and challenging times can be proud of their contributions to the 2009 season.

    As of this issue of the Voice, the Tiger football program had 86 players in the program from the Freshmen on up.  The numbers are impressive and speak volumes to the many people who work behind the scenes to keep the interest in football high in this community, the positive results are bound to follow.  Asked about the Tigers recent scrimmage held in Montpelier, Coach Smith was cautious but optimistic.  “There a good group and the same group has been together since JV's.  No one got hurt and that's always a plus early in the year.  They know our system.  We have a good core of Senior experience on both sides of the ball and that's always a good way to start the season.  Now we build from here,” he explained.  Players to watch early are last year's standout offensive machine Sr. Bryan-Ashley-Selleck who will more than likely see duty on both sides of the ball. Selleck is fast and aggressive.  Sr. Brendan Burrell will assume the QB duties once again this year.  He is a sponge for football  knowledge and a tough, gritty signal caller who will take a big hit to make something happen out of the Tigers wishbone attack.  Sr. Patrick Fifield  is the latest edition of the talented Fifield football family.  He loves the contact and is capable of making a big play that can turn a game around from either side of the line of scrimmage.  Sr. Jarrod Ashley will come into the 2010 campaign with plenty of turf-time under his belt as well.  What he lacks in size he can more than makes up for in quickness and strength from his center and line-backer spots and Ben Doria will uphold a family tradition that dates back to the 1960s if the now Senior dons the Tiger Black and Orange this fall.  Smith is looking for   good things from Jr’s,  Austin Quesnel,  Jr. and Tyler Malloy Jr. speedster Marshall Hastings, and others who we hope to be able to report good things about in our weekly column.  This is only a small sample of what Smith will be working with in developing talent.  More cream will rise to the top as the season unfolds.

    It is also important to note that Coach Smith subscribes to the Peter Brakeley philosophy of coaching.  Brakeley once told this reporter over 15-years ago when I started covering MUHS football for The Voice.  “We're teachers Mike, we are here to teach,” he remarked after a pre-season practice in the early 90's.
Coach Brakeley now works with the JV's along with Carl Ciemniewski.  Under Head  Coach Dennis Smith the “teaching” continues for the 2010 edition of the MUHS Varsity Football Tigers.  We look forward to covering them each week during the season.

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