Storm kick off season with rival Brunswick Bearcats

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BENNINGTON — This one means a bit more.

The Southern Vermont Storm's season-opening game has a little more of a personal touch than usual as they prepare to play the Brunswick Bearcats Saturday afternoon at Storm Stadium.

The Bearcats enter their first season in the New England Football League, joining the North Atlantic Conference, which the Storm will also be in after moving up from the A Division to AA for the first time since 2012.

Brunswick became a team last year, when former Storm general manager Justin Morris decided to create the team, bringing along coach Guy Changa and a handful of former Storm players in the process.

As both teams enter the AA Division this season, they have a natural rival in each other, based solely on the fact that there is history between the players and team personnel.

"A lot of former coaches and players are on the Bearcats, so it's almost going to be a border battle of New York and Vermont," said Storm coach Patrick Seaver. "There's a personal factor and we just want to beat them. Guys are going to play extra hard. We're going to come out victorious."

With the move up to AA, the Storm were allowed to expand their roster from 40 players to 55, and with that, a lot of exciting additions came into play for a team who fell in the Maritime Conference semifinals a season ago..

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"We have a lot of great leaders on this team, a lot of new faces and a lot of skill," Seaver said. "I think we're on track of our goal for a championship."

The Storm brought in a handful of quality additions on offense, among them, former college standout Jordan Wilcox at running back.

With the always dependable Will Cole at quarterback once again this season, the Storm are excited for the prospects of what they have offensively, believing this group has potential to be special.

"We have good receivers and good running backs. We're very solid offensively," Seaver said. "We just have to make it happen. I think this is one of our best offenses we've had since the [Maritime Conference] championship. It's very strong and determined."

Defense has been the calling card for the Storm for many years and they expect to be just as strong on that end of the field as well.

"We have youth on our side, so we're going to have endurance and strength," Seaver said. "Guys are communicating really well. The defensive line is strong. I would fear us."

Kick off is set for 4 p.m. at Storm Stadium at Willow Park.

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


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