Football has reached postseason play for Division I and III with a slate of quarterfinal matchups tonight and Saturday.
Here’s a brief look at some of those contests:
In the Division I playoffs for the third straight season, No. 3 Champlain Valley plays host to No. 6 Rutland on Saturday afternoon. It’s the Redhawks’ first home playoff game as a D-I program.
But that was just step one, CVU coach Jim Provost said.
“We accomplished our first goal and that was to be in the top tier of playoff teams,” Provost said. “We did a really good job (beating BFA) and we have to build off that. In the playoffs, you can’t take anything for granted and Rutland is a very capable team.”
Bennett Cazayoux, Steele DuBrul and Jason Cora lead a CVU offense that plays an uptempo style. Alex Bulla is among the defensive standouts that will try and slow quarterback Nick Boles and Rutland’s offense.
Top-seeded and unbeaten Middlebury has been a model of consistency, with a balanced offense and a stout defensive side that has allowed only 52 points this season. Middlebury has racked up 252 points, with 116 of those coming in the opening quarters.
Jakob Trautwein (712 rushing yards, eight touchdowns) and Austin Robinson (543 yards on the ground, 12 total touchdowns) pace Middlebury’s lightning-quick starts, according to Dave Sears, the team’s play-by-play radio radio voice for WVTK-FM.
No. 4 Essex at fifth-seeded Hartford might be the weekend’s most intriguing matchup. The Hornets had their five-game winning streak halted in last week’s loss to South Burlington while defending-champion Hartford has won four of its last five contests.
It’s also a matchup of contrasting styles — Essex likes to spread it out in a no-huddle attack while the Hurricanes run a Wing-T style approach. This is the first playoff meeting between these proud programs in a dozen years.
No. 2 South Burlington and No. 7 BFA-St. Albans square off in a rematch from September. In the 46-10 Rebels’ win, Tanner Contois rushed for 233 yards and three touchdowns. A similar outcome might pan out, especially with BFA nursing some injuries.
In the teams’ regular-season meeting against BFA-Fairfax, U-32 was up only 24-21 midway through the fourth quarter before pulling away with a couple late scores.
How teams and coaches adjust in the rematch might determine the outcome tonight.
“They have the best stable of backs we’ve faced all year and you can’t just focus on player,” BFA-Fairfax coach Mike Williams said. “We are hoping our game plan works and I’m sure they are hoping their game plan works, too.”
The Raiders, using a variation of a Wing-T offense, have averaged more than 45 points per game. Fairfax has not been as prolific but its triple-option attack has picked up momentum since rallying from a 1-3 start.
Woodstock is on a march toward a second consecutive undefeated season and a third straight D-III crown. The Wasps open their title defense against Oxbow tonight.
Saturday, Windsor and Mill River meet in North Clarendon and Mount Abraham plays host to Otter Valley.