Thursday November 14, 2013
South Burlington squared off against Middlebury this past Saturday with the Division 1 State Championship in the balance. In the end, the Tigers capitalized on three South Burlington turnovers and an injury to star running back Tanner Contois to up-end the Rebels 26-6 at Rutland High School. It was a heartbreaking turn of events for South Burlington and Contois when the senior went down injured on the Rebel’s first play from scrimmage and was forced to leave the game, after leading South Burlington to the championship berth with an incredible 2,200 yards rushing this season. However, quarterback Hunter Riehle and the rest of the South offense refused to give up. Riehle led his team on an eight play, 57 yard drive, and capped it off with an 11 yard scoring strike to Jeremy Clements.
Turnovers, which have plagued South Burlington throughout the season, continued to hamstring in the championship game. Middlebury recovered a South Burlington fumble in the second quarter, and on the following play, Tigers quarterback Austin Robinson sliced through South Burlington’s defense for a 55 yard score to even the game. The Tiger’s Bobby Ritter picked off a Riehle pass and after a speedy 1:55 drive, Robinson found teammate Cullen Hathaway with a pass for a two yard touchdown score to put Middlebury up 13-6 at the half. The Tigers played stingy defense throughout the game and South Burlington was unable to fill Contois’ vacancy in their backfield. A costly third quarter fumble by the Rebels inside their own twenty-yard line set up another rushing score by Robinson, who would also rush for a 12-yard score in the fourth quarter extending Middlebury’s lead to the final score of 26-6. Riehle finished 21-32 in the game for 178 yards and a score. Cam Nolting led South Burlington in receiving, hauling in seven passes for 61 yards, while teammate Max Smith had five catches in the game. South Burlington wraps up their season with a 9-2 record, while Middlebury finished off an undefeated 11-0 season.