Football matchups to watch for this fall

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BENNINGTON — With the Vermont Interscholastic Football League officially releasing the 2019 game schedules, it means the fall season is right around the corner.

The four teams in our coverage area all have an intriguing season ahead, so let's take a look at some matchups to circle on your calendars for 2019.

Mount Anthony vs Burr and Burton, Sept. 27, 7 p.m. (at MAU)

No matter the records, a matchup between Mount Anthony and Burr and Burton, regardless of the sport, is something to watch. The stakes are always high when these two teams compete and there is sure to be some added physicality on that early fall night in Bennington. BBA, who moved up to Division I, should still be a force this fall even with graduations to guys like Jake Baker and Olivier Cazaudumec, among others. MAU returns a young, yet experienced group, that should take a step forward from the 3-6 mark last fall. A position matchup I'll key on for this game is Bulldogs wide receiver John Morgantini against Patriots defensive back Gavin Johnson. Morgantini torched defenses with the help of quarterback Joey McCoy last year, but the size of Johnson could be a challenge for him.

Cambridge/Salem vs Hoosick Falls, Sept. 28, 1 p.m. (at Cambridge)

The Ken Baker Jug, in honor of the late coach of both programs, is back up for grabs this fall with Cambridge set to host the festivities. Both teams are coming off successful seasons, so this one is bound to be fun. The Indians made it back to the state tournament last fall and the Panthers saw their season ended by Cambridge in the sectional semifinals. Last year, Cambridge scored 26 points in the second quarter en route to a 57-31 win.

Hoosick Falls lost quarterback Sam Richard, along with some key lineman, to graduation, but return a stout duo of Liam McGarvin and Max Kipp at running back. Cambridge is practically a running back machine, so expect guys like Kaedin Ogilvie and Gabe Sgambettera to step up nicely with the loss of Tommy English and Tyler Linendoll to graduation. This game should be decided on the ground.

Burr and Burton vs Mount Mansfield, Sept. 21, 1 p.m. (at BBA)

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You have the defending Division I champions, MMU, against the defending Division II champions, BBA - talk about a marquee matchup. Both teams are in D-I now and this game is one I have circled for the Bulldogs. Cougars' coach Marty Richards retired this offseason and they graduated a lot of their best offensive players, especially at skill positions, along with the leader of their defense, linebacker Patrick Burke. Whether they can fill those holes is yet to be seen and BBA's relentless offense led by McCoy, Morgantini and a stable of strong backs will test MMU big time.

Mount Anthony vs Brattleboro, Oct. 18, 7 p.m. (at MAU)

For the first time in a few years, the Elwell Trophy will be up for grabs in a matchup of two teams in the same division. Much like BBA, whenever MAU plays Brattleboro, the stakes are always high. The teams played to a 10-7 Colonels win last year when kicker Jack Price made a late field goal for the winning points. The Patriots haven't taken home the trophy in five years. With a majority of its key contributors back, MAU will definitely be looking to change the course of the rivalry and bring home the hardware.

Cambridge/Salem vs Holy Trinity, Oct. 5, Time TBD (at Cambridge)

Of the teams on Cambridge/Salem's schedule, Holy Trinity could provide the Indians one of their tougher matchups. Other than Cambridge's season-ending loss in the state quarterfinals, the Pride held the Indians to the least points in a game last year. Holy Trinity graduated its top running backs, but its quarterback, Joe Tortello, who threw for more than 1,500 yards last year, is back for his senior season. The Pride were one of the biggest competitors to the Indians in Section II last year and I would expect them to be strong again this fall.

Hoosick Falls vs Hoosic Valley, Oct. 18, 7 p.m. (at Hoosick Falls)

Competitors in every other sport, it's good that Hoosick Falls and Hoosic Valley will square off on the gridiron this fall. It's been three years since they last played with Valley coming out on top that game in 2016. Valley was a Class D sectional finalist last year, falling to Warrensburg, and move back up to Class C this fall. Much like the return of the Cambridge game last year, having a natural rival like Hoosic Valley on Falls' schedule will be a fun one to watch out for.

Adam Aucoin can be reached at aaucoin@benningtonbanner.com and followed at @AAucoin_Banner on Twitter.


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