D-II teams muscle into football rankings

Fair Haven running back Aaron Szabo makes a reception and is headed towards the end zone late in the second quarter while playing Mount Anthony Union at home on Friday night. (Photo by Jon Olender)

While most of Division I is playing knockoff, Division II remains steadfast in the model of recent history. No wonder all three 2-0 strongboys stake claims to top-10 spots in the first edition of the Rutland Herald / Barre Times Argus football power rankings. Defending D-II champion Fair Haven debuts at No. 4, followed by Burr and Burton at No. 6 and Bellows Falls at No. 10. No one has come close to beating any of them in the first two weeks. Rice, 2-0 so far in topsy-turvy D-I, claims the top overall spot while Rutland, absent most of last year from the top 10, debuts at No. 8 with its 2-0 start. A special tip of the hat goes out to Poultney for its big victory over Windsor that shook up things in a D-III loop long dominated by the Jacks and Woodstock. Here is this week’s overall top 10, along with the top five teams in each division. 1. Rice (2-0). The Green Knights beat preseason favorite Mount Mansfield, and the Burlington/South Burlington combine. This week they have a telling game at Hartford. 2. Middlebury (1-1). Tigers got off the mat from close loss at Colchester and beat Hartford. 3. Hartford (1-1). The Hurricanes are going to be dangerous again this year. Their game this week is their first at home. 4. Fair Haven (2-0). Brian Grady gets a lot of credit as an offensive mastermind but his Slaters have given up only one score so far. 5. Mount Mansfield (1-1). Cougars won at BFA last week and finally get to play at home. 6. Burr and Burton (2-0). The game of the week in D-II has Bellows Falls at BBA on Saturday. 7. St. Johnsbury (1-1). Jake Cady threw for 359 yards last week in win over Essex. 8. Rutland (2-0). The Raiders are taking baby steps to prove themselves; they host BFA on Friday in the best test so far for their defense. 9. Colchester (2-0). Yes, the Lakers beat Middlebury but a close win over a struggling Brattleboro program tells a different story. 10. Bellows Falls (2-0). Terriers will need to work the clock against a BBA team that has scored 113 points already. On the bubble: BFA-St. Albans, Burlington/South Burlington. Division I Top 5 1, Rice; 2, Middlebury; 3, Hartford; 4, Mount Mansfield; 5, St. Johnsbury. Division II Top 5 1, Fair Haven; 2, Burr and Burton; 3, Bellows Falls; 4, Mount Anthony; 5, North Country. Division III Top 5 1, Woodstock; 2, Poultney; 3, Windsor; 4, Mill River; 5, BFA-Fairfax.

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