The Middlebury Tigers methodically wrapped up an undefeated Division I high school football regular season Friday night by overpowering Burlington 41-6 at Buck Hard Field.
With that 8-0 mark in the record books, now the Tigers can turn their energy toward their year-long goal, a state championship.
“Eight-and-oh is nice but this is a great group that’s had one goal in mind. We never talked about going undefeated,” said Middlebury coach Dennis Smith. “It’s nice to have the No. 1 seed and home field. We’ll enjoy that tonight but tomorrow, it’s back to work.”
Friday night, the Tigers needed little time to take command. Two plays into the game, Burlington fumbled, Middlebury recovered on its own 45 and four plays later had a 6-0 lead after quarterback Austin Robinson threw the first of this three touchdown passes, this one a 26-yarder to Samuel Smith.
On its next possession, Middlebury took three plays to cover 59 yards with Robinson’s pass to Sam Holmes covering the final 23 for a 14-0 lead.
Before the half, Joshua Stearns booted field goals of 22 and 27 yards and Middlebury led 20-0.
The rest of the Tiger points came in the third quarter. Nathan Peck went 11 yards for a 27-0 lead, Cullen Hathaway rumbled 45 yards for a score and Robinson hooked up with Ian Gill for a 5-yard TD pass.
Burlington averted the shutout midway through the fourth quarter when Malcolm Huesman pulled in Peter Labracio’s 17-yard pass.
“I think we’re ready,” said Robinson of the Tigers going into postseason. “We’ve played well all season. There’s never been a time when we were flat. Now we’ll see who we play.”
Robinson completed 6-of-11 passes for 105 yards and the three touchdowns as well as 45 yards rushing. Jakob Trautwein gained 72 yards on 10 carries as Middlebury picked up over 400 yards in total offense.
“They gave us fits defensively,” said Smith of the Seahorses. “We practiced all week for one look and they threw us a curveball with a few wrinkles. The kids and the coaches made some adjustments. For me, it was to simplify our play calling and call the plays we know we can run no matter what we see defensively.”
Labracio had a strong fourth quarter to finish with 10 completions in 12 attempts for 138 yards.
Shaquane Cooperwood ran 13 times for 33 yards and Montell Kirkland added 28 yards on seven carriers for the 2-5 Seahorses.