Many have said that when the Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl, the annual all-star football game between Vermont and New Hampshire, is over on the first Saturday of August, they regard that as the end of summer and the beginning of the fall sports season.
Similarly, the annual North-South All-Star Football Game that was played Saturday, closes out the fall sports calendar and gets everyone thinking about the winter sports campaign.
This year, the high school winter sports season is late. The first day on the Vermont Principals’ calendar for teams playing basketball games is Dec. 13.
But our wait just got a little shorter. The Proctor High School boys basketball team has received permission to launch the season on Dec. 12 with the Bob Abrahamson Tip-Off Tournament.
Proctor athletic director/boys basketball coach Jake Eaton secured permission for the early opener to accomadate Twin Valley. It allows the Wildcats to keep their longstanding spot in Green Mountain’s tournament.
Eaton is excited about the Bob Abrahamson event because of the field comprised of Twinfield, Twin Valley, Poultney and Proctor. Eaton’s Phantoms will play Twinfield on the first night.
“There are probably seven teams that can win it (the Division IV state title),” Eaton said.
He believes four of them are in this tournament.
“Three of the four teams were in Barre last year,” Eaton said in a reference to the Division IV’s final four staged at Barre Auditorium.
Eaton figures the Phantoms will get a stern test from Twinfield right out of the gate.
“Any team coached by Chris Hudson is going to be scrappy, tough and well coached,” Eaton said. “He doesn’t run and hide and neither do his players.”
The Phantoms have the Abrahamson and then their third game of the season comes against a West Rutland team that Eaton regards as one of those seven contenders.
“We have three tough games right away. We will know a lot about ourselves after that,” Eaton said.
The Abrahamson should be a grand showcase for Division IV boys basketball.
The best part of it is that we don’t have to wait until Dec. 13 for it.
Another couple of early-season tournaments of note in boys basketball are Rutland High’s North-South Classic and Hazen Union’s Dave Morse Tournament.
The North-South Classic will give Rutland fans a chance to check out their Raiders at College of St. Joseph on Dec. 14 against CVU and on Dec. 21 against Essex.
The Dave Morse Tournament will be held on Dec. 18 and Dec. 20 at Hazen Union High School in Hardwick in front of some of Vermont’s most passionate fans.
The Wednesday card has Lamoille battling Williamstown at 5:30 p.m. and Hazen taking on Randolph at 7 p.m.
It is hard to believe the beloved Hardwick Gazette sports scribe Dave Morse has been gone since 2015.
The tournament is played in his name in the same gym where there was an outpouring of love at his memorial service from not only the Hardwick sports fandom but from the entire Vermont sports community.
Carter Pelzel, who played for the North squad wearing the U-32 helmet, in Saturday’s North-South All-Star Football Game, is the younger brother of Quintin Pelzel who was the voice of the Vermont Mountaineers on the New England Collegiate Baseball League’s radio network.
Quintin also played football for U-32 and went on to play for Ithaca College.