Middlebury Tigers Fall To Hartford In Semi Finals

By Marcie Bolton

Tyler Provencher Airs it out against Hartford in semi-final game.
photo by Marcie Bolton
Tyler Provencher Airs it out against Hartford in semi-final game.

    Talking with a few fans pre-Friday night football game about the match-up between the Hartford Hurricanes and the Middlebury Tigers, I asked them to predict the outcome.  Two of the three fans quickly came to their conclusion that Hartford would win.  One fan extolled upon Middlebury’s virtues before she admitted the undefeated Hurricanes would win. 

   As it turned out, on a 50 degree night with no rain, Hartford kept their record flawless and won overwhelmingly.  Hartford took control as they swatted, scratched and totally dominated up front. The Middlebury Tigers’ game was played with heart and they did not back down until it was over falling to the Hurricanes 34-0. 

   Four minutes into the game, Hartford took advantage of their field position as Josh Claflin scored from four yards out.   After a Middlebury fumble Claflin scored again and brought the score to 14-0.  In the second quarter it was Josh Claflin again for two more touchdowns leaving the score  28-0 at the half  after Middlebury had a few more costly errors with the ball.

     Hartford was relentless as they marched down the field.   Unstoppable Hurricane running back Josh Claflin had 17 carries, 62 yards and owned all four touchdowns in the first half. 

   Hartford’s defensive line was a wall with their physical size and athleticism being key components in their win.  By the end of the third quarter the score was still 28-0 with Middlebury’s defense in gear.  Hartford’s final decisive fourth quarter touchdown was an afterthought in a win on both sides of the ball.  The Tigers played hard but could not capitalize, due to the swarming Hartford defense.

   The Tigers had a tough time at the season’s start but by the end of the season they definitely were at their peak.  Tyler Provencher was able to put his quarterback skills to the test and Middlebury’s defense was a well-oiled machine.   Walter Odell, who earlier in the season spoke of the Middlebury community and how it was such a point of inspiration for him, spoke of the people who support Tiger football; “Our community is the best thing about our program.  Everybody cares.  Everybody gives it their all –in the stands, on the field and the coaching staff.”  It was a great season for the Tigers, ending their regular season with two consecutive wins and a post-season win against Rutland. 

   I know Coach Smith is proud of the continual progress his team conveyed week after week on the field.  They put it all out there and were rewarded with a great season.  There are not many teams out there where coaches and players work together as seamlessly as the Tiger team.      


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