South Burlington running back Tanner Contois was named Vermont’s Gatorade player of the year for high school football.
Contois, a senior, is the second Rebel to earn the honor — Randy Morin, a running back/safety, won the award in 1988-89.
The award, which recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field, is selected in collaboration with USA TODAY High School Sports. The honor means Contois is now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Football Player of the Year award announced in December.
The speedy 5-foot-11, 165-pound tailback rushed for 2,357 yards and amassed 29 total touchdowns this past season, leading the Rebels (9-2) to the Division I state title game against Middlebury. Contois also caught 21 passes for 563 yards.
Contois has maintained a 3.81 GPA in the classroom.
He has volunteered locally on behalf of multiple fundraiser walks to benefit ALS and breast cancer research and has served as a student-athlete representative on the Concussion Task Force in association with the Vermont Department of Education. Tanner Contois was by far the best running back that we played against all year,” Mount Mansfield coach Marty Richards said. “There were numerous times when we had him bottled up and he would somehow scamper free for 50 plus yards. He has great balance and strong legs which constantly move.”
The All Marble Valley League High School Field Hockey Team Has been announced. Named to the team from the Rutland area are:
In the “A” Division: Jenna Elliot, Olivia Bloomer and Brittany Bushey of Otter Valley, Natalie Poljacik, Catherine DiPalma and Natasha McPhee from Rutland High.
In the “B” Division Fair Haven’s Marissa Lamoureux, Anna Fabian and Morgan Brown.
Otter Valley’s Brittany Bushey and Fair Haven’s Anna Fabian have been named to the Vermont Twin-State Field Hockey Team. Mt. Anthony’s Laura Paro will be the Vermont head coach assisted by Rutland High’s April Cioffi and Hartford’s Heather Scudder.
The All Marble Valley League Cross Country Team has been announced as well. Named to the team from the Rutland area on the boys side are:
In the “A” Division Rutland High’s Tim Hughes, Isaac Wright, Sam Ligon and Brendan Wright.
In the “B” Division Fair Haven’s Matt Clark and Otter Valley’s Emmet Thurston
In the “C” Division MSJ’s Darrius Brown and Spencer Potter and West Rutland’s Shane Stacy.
On the girls side:
In the “A” Division Rutland High’s Brynn Cairns, Meghan Keefe and Marsha Goodspeed.
In the “C” Division MSJ’s Sally Hogan
The Rutland High boy’s hockey team is off to a quick start with victories over Brattleboro and Middlebury. The Raiders will have an early season test on Wednesday night as they host BFA at the Spartan Arena. The game will be broadcast at WSYB AM 1380 and on line at wsyb1380am.com.
BJ Collamore and Max Major have been named captains and Jordan Godfrey has been named as the alternate captain.
Katie Stames of Peoples Academy in Morrisville is in the latest Sports Illustrated “Faces In The Crowd”. Katie, a senior forward scored twice in Peoples’ 4-1 win over Thetford to lead the Wolves to their third straight Division 3 state title. She had 35 goals to surpass the century mark for her career.  Stames is the 2013 Vermont Girls Gatorade Player of the Year.
In the it’s a small world department, in the same “Faces In The Crowd” section is Abbey D’Agostino from Topsfield, Massachusetts. She is a cross-country runner at Dartmouth and won the Division 1 6K national championship, the first Ivy League runner, male or female to win the event. Topsfield, Massachusetts is where I grew up and Abbey is the granddaughter of my 3rd grade teacher.
Catch you next week!
Back to top
See You Next Season!
The Finish Line by Matt Keith is done for this year. We'll see you again next season!
Back to top
There have been many memorable birthdays in my life so far, but this one has got to take the cake (oh, my God, did I really use that pun?). It has always been real easy to remember the season of my entry into life by being mindful of both the day after the infamous invasion of our country by the Japanese on Dec 7, 1943 at Pearl Harbor, and also as the celebration of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus Christ. Believe me, I got many a ribbing about this from a lot of my classmates at St. Peter's Parochial School and MSJ over a lot of years. With a middle name of Joseph and born on Dec 8 I sure had a lot to live up to according to my faith. Have I done so? Probably not, but I just keep trying. What else can one do?
I have always shied away from the stories about the "great white hunter" mystique, and, as you all know, have been pretty humble about my hunting prowess. I have always been a great believer in being prepared, being a marksman (from my military background), and knowing my habitat and terrain and deer movement. All that being said, it still has been my experience over the years that luck, the wind, and sometimes some pretty strange but fortunate circumstances have had as much to do with my success as any other factor---including skill. What it all comes down to is the fact that when the opportunity presents itself, however that happens, you still have to be prepared to make instantaneous decisions as to shot timing and placement, and foremost---you have to possess the marksmanship to carry it off. We leave all the rest of the "mystique" to the hunting gods and just continue to have a great time out in the woods. So I really had to think long and hard whether I would share this weekend's stories, as most of the "Boone and Crockett" crowd would probably just let them slide, unheralded, into the oblivion of "short memory". But, ahh, what the heck, readers need a good story sometimes, even if it is at the cost of the great woodsman's exploits. So, just what did Dec 8 weekend bring to the table?
It is the first weekend of Muzzleloader season and I have always liked this season for a number of reasons. First, it is usually colder and there is usually snow. second, although there are many hunters out there, it is not as crowded as Rifle season, and Muzzle hunters are usually a bit more cautious---they have to be---as they have but one shot to get the job done. I chose to hunt in an old favorite spot pretty close to my humble cape home that I call "Camp No More Mortgage". Nestled, not in any swamp, but in the beautiful foothills of Rutland Town, all the area near our home is great deer habitat, even if pretty close to residential areas. Most of the homes are on at least 10 acres or more, and some quite a bit more, but one still has to exercise the greatest of caution and hunting skill when population is close. I have a spot near some scrapes and rubs that I pretty carefully tuck myself into very early in the morning---say 5:30 ish, and use that early time to get settled, put out some scent, and brace for the sunrise about 45 minutes later. There has always been something special about being in one's spot , first of all getting there in the dark without using a light, and then being there, pitch black, and waiting for the approaching sunrise. Many times that is accompanied by the sounds of the night---coyotes howling in the distance (sometimes not even too distant), screech owls piercing the still of night with that eerie call, and many times the unmistakable sound of deer hooves 60, 80,or 100 yards out, either in the crisp leaves of fall or the crusty frozen leaves of early winter.
So I am tucked away, waiting patiently, and as dawn arrives I wait for the movement of deer from feed to the bedding areas west of me. It is very faint dawn, not quite light enough for safe or legal shooting, and I need to stand and stretch a bit. As I stand up slowly and look to my north, along a runway, I can make out the faint sillouette of a lone deer, just standing there, and obviously heading toward me. I don't think the deer saw me, as I was in pretty good cover, but it seemed to just wander to the spruce thicket out ahead of me, and just out of sight where i could make out figures of a couple more deer. It wasn't another 15 or 20 minutes and the silence was broken by a very loud "kabamm" just to the northeast of my position. This was close----probably no more than 2 to 3 hundred yards---but through some thick cover, and so I waited for perhaps a group or a straggler, or maybe the horny one, but saw nothing until I spotted a hunter coming up the trail to my north. Looking like he was on a mission, he faded to the east and it was not 10 minutes later and I heard another loud boom from a muzzleloader. Starting to investigate and ID myself (always good for safety) I found it to be a fellow board member, in fact a contractor who had built my second home in the town, Stan Rhodes, who was hunting with his son Nolan. They had hit a deer and were tracking a trail trying to pick it up again. After a brief conversation, I left them to start their circling to pick up the trail and headed out of the woods (old guys need morning coffee before 10) figuring that I wasn't going to see "mr. big" in that area, at least not the rest of that morning.
As strange things sometimes happen, on my way out I came across some faint blood and shortly thereafter spotted the deer in a heap ahead of me. I whistled them up since they were but a hundred yards or so away and let them know I had found the deer. They surely would have found it anyway after a couple of circles, but I may have saved them a half hour or more of tracking. Kind of a neat story in "small town America".
So now to Sunday's hunt. What would you think? Back to the same location since I know there are deer there, in hopes of catching the brute in his search for does. And, not a sighting of a deer that morning, so back to "camp no mortgage" for some coffee. My wife welcomed me with a "happy birthday" greeting and rustled up some bacon and eggs as a special morning treat. After breakfast and a quick read of all the "swampy news", I took a little power nap and decided to watch the first half of the Patriots game. Not too happy with that, I DVR'd the second half and started to get my duds on for the PM hunt. While I am starting to put on my jacket, I take one last look out through the sliding glass door to the deck. Although the deer don't typically run around my home in the daylight---you never know---I shot a nice five at noon coming off the ridge to my east the year before I built my home here---also in muzzleloader season. Well, if I didn't perk up just a bit when I looked out that door and saw a whole flock of deer just blazing up the trail heading to the opposite ridge just west of my brook valley. Five as I counted them, all bald and mature does, on a mission to flee from someone who had spooked them from somewhere to the east. I grabbed my trusty 50 (pretty quickly), capped it in a flash, and slowly opened the slider ever so carefully. There were three more behind the main bunch and the last one was a pretty good size doe. that group headed to the ridge opposite the house and she stopped---in exactly the wrong spot for her---and right between the two 4 inch maple saplings, I touched off the trusty Firehawk and put a perfect double lung shot right where the crosshairs said it should be. Most expensive deerstand I ever shot a deer from. "Happy Birthday" Don, from the deer gods----and by the way---the DVR turned out to be an extra birthday present from Tom Brady and the crew.
After well over 40 or 50 hours in the woods, many of them in the pitch black this year, it certainly is an exercise in ironic marksmanship that I should bag a "deck deer" for this year's first venison stew. and the watchword----be always vigilant! Good luck to you all through the rest of the season, and until next week, good sports.
Back to top