Storm advance to NEFL semifinals

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BENNINGTON — The No. 1 seed in the New England Football League playoffs, the Southern Vermont Storm advanced to the Maritime division semifinal with a 23-6 win over No. 4 seed Seacoast Warhawks at Mount Anthony Union Middle School on Saturday afternoon.

Mike Woodson had a pair of scores on the ground and the Storm defense added a pick-six and a safety.

The Storm received the opening kickoff and were stalled, but punter Will Cole pinned the Warhawks down at their 3-yard line. Two minus plays later, the Storm sacked the Warhawk quarterback, Vito Colaneri, in the end zone for a 2-0 lead.

Early in the second quarter, the Warhawks reached the Storm red zone after a completion on fourth down but the next snap was over the quarterback's head and the Storm recovered.

On the next possession, the Storm extended the lead to 9-0 on a 23-yard touchdown run from Woodson.

On the ensuing kickoff, there was a stoppage for an injured Warhawk and three plays later, Nate Sweet jumped a route and returned an interception to the house to put Southern Vermont ahead 16-0 with 4:39 remaining in the first half.

The Warhawks put some points on the board in the final minutes of the half when a pass went off Perry Snyder and to the Warhawks receiver for a touchdown. The PAT was blocked to keep the lead at 10, 16-6.

In the third quarter, the Storm kept the clock and the chains moving, but Cole missed a field goal with 1:52 left in the third and another with 3:54 left after an illegal formation penalty. But the defense, which was stout all day, forced a turnover on downs. After a Storm fumble, the Warhawks quarterback threw another interception, this one caught by Jimmy Zupko to set the Storm up and Woodson sealed it with a 1-yard touchdown run with 1:53 left.

Zupko then had a second interception in the final seconds to end the game. Billy Demers had 2 1/2 sacks, combining for one with Joanel Lopez, as the defense had six sacks and forced four turnovers.

The Storm move on to face No. 7 New Haven Venom on Saturday, Sept. 30 at 7 p.m. with the game at Tamarac High School. The Venom upset the No. 2 seed New Britain Brawlers, 12-6, on Saturday. The Storm faced the Venom once this season, winning 18-6 in Connecticut.


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