Southern Vermont Storm earn trio of NEFL honors

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BENNINGTON — The Southern Vermont Storm semi-professional football team received multiple New England Football League North Atlantic Conference (AA) honors as announced on Tuesday.

The Storm, who move up to the AA division this year, took home three of the four conference year-end awards, which are voted on by all the team's in the league.

Storm defensive end/defensive tackle Billy Demers received the North Atlantic Conference Defensive Player of the Year award. The accolade was Demers' second defensive player of the year of his Storm career.

"Billy just leaves it all out there. He's just an emotional player," said Storm general manager Chris Cipperley, who also serves as the team's defensive coordinator. "He doesn't take any plays off and he fights through any injury he's ever had. I can count on Billy to get the job done and I think his teammates feed off his energy. He's a big part in what we do."

The Storm's coaching staff took home the best coaching staff award from the league.

Cipperley (defensive coordinator), Patrick Seaver (head coach/offensive coordinator), David Post (offensive line coach), Bill McLoughlan (assistant offensive/defensive line coach), Josh Purvinis (wide receivers/special teams coach) and Lias Levin (assistant coach) make up the group that brought home the coaching award for the second time in three seasons.

Cipperley specifically highlighted the efforts of Post, who did so much to bring the team together.

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"This group was an absolute pleasure," Cipperley said. "Coach Post was probably the coach that made it all work. We had a little adversity early on, and in the end, he's the one who really made the difference. [The coaches] got along real well and communicated well. Everyone was open to constructive criticism, so it was a great team effort."

After making the jump to AA, the Storm had a significant challenge on their hands to compete with a whole new list of opponents. The team made the transition look seamless, going 9-2 and making it all the way to the AA championship game, where they fell to the Worcester Wildcats.

While the loss still stings the Storm and motivates them for next season, their peers recognized them as the North Atlantic Conference Organization of the Year.

"It does ease the pain of not winning the championship," Cipperley said. "From an organizational standpoint, it is a tremendous honor. I know the kind of work that we put in and the support we have. At the end of the day, I'm really proud of what we've done and what we'll continue to do. Getting the honor from your peers is very humbling and I'm very proud of it."

Wildcats running back Zander Givins-Perry was awarded the AA Offensive Player of the ear award.

The Storm will send a group of players to the NEFL all-star game on Saturday and they have a regional sign-up event for the 2020 season on Friday, December 13 at The Ruck in Troy, N.Y.

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


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