Some thoughts on the 7 vs. 7 high school football format that we will be watching this season:

I wonder how much carry over there will be to the 2021 season when we begin regular tackle football, hopefully.

Since linemen will be the receivers in the first and third quarters, will some coach discover a dangerous offensive weapon for the next season in the package of a 6-foot-3, 290-pound tight end?

Think about a kid who comes in these dimensions and exhibits velvet hands and uncanny elusiveness. You never know.

Or will run-oriented coaches like Bellows Falls’ Bob Lockerby and Poultney’s Dave Capman become enamored of the effectiveness of certain pass plays, altering their run-pass ratio for 2021?

The quarters will no longer be 12 minutes, but 15. All four quarters, however, will have a continuously running clock. My guess is that the actual time a game takes to be played will be less.

I still feel strongly that there should be a tournament at the end of the year without a state championship being awarded.

All the other fall sports teams have state championships to play for so it seems football should at least have some type of round robin affair at season’s end with a trophy presented to the champion.

I do understand why you can’t have a football state championship. It is such a different game that it would mar the integrity of the sport’s history.

A quarterback will have 4 seconds to release the ball and if the ball is not released in the allotted time, the ball is returned to the line of scrimmage after the play is over. It will be interesting to see how quickly quarterbacks are able to get the “release clock” in their heads.


A lot of people did a double take when they saw some of the matchups on the 7-on-7 schedule. Did you ever think that you would be seeing Poultney taking on Rutland in football?

You won’t have to wait long for that one. The Blue Devils open the season at Rutland on Sept. 25 at 7 p.m.

It will evoke special memories for Poultney fans who celebrated on that field in November when their Blue Devils defeated BFA-Fairfax for the Division III state title.

The reason for these unusual matchups is that the virus has not only given us the 7-on-7 game devoid of blocking and tackling, but it has also created regional scheduling. Poultney and Rutland are in the region that also includes Burr and Burton Academy, Fair Haven, Middlebury, Mill River, Mount Abraham, Mount Anthony and Otter Valley.

The new-look schedule also has Windsor opening the season at home against Hartford on Sept. 26. Windsor has not played the Hurricanes in a number of years but there was a time when this I-91 series was was a great rivalry.

The Northeast Kingdom will have rivalries as a theme for this COVID football season. Lyndon is playing Kingdom rival North Country three times and will also meet neighboring rival St. Johnsbury twice.

Lyndon and North Country play for the barrel in a game that is called the Barrel Bowl. Lyndon and St. Johnsbury first met in 1894 and this year will be playing the 116th and 117th game in the series.


There is plenty of hoopla around the enhancements of Applejack Field as there should be. They have done a beautiful job and when Manchester Town Manager John O’Keefe calls it the best small stadium in New England, it’s tough to argue with the assessment.

You can see for yourself soon enough. There will be a grand opening Thursday evening at 6. It will include a ribbon cutting and a Burr and Burton Academy soccer practice.

A real treat for high school soccer fans comes on Sept. 25 in the form of a doubleheader. BBA will meet Fair Haven in a boys game at 5 p.m. and then, at 7 p.m., BBA hosts Woodstock in a girls contest.

There is plenty of great stiff on tap like this in the high school sports world. I just wish more people were going to be able to see it all. This 150-spectator limit is going to be difficult when it comes to marquee events.

Maybe someday? Maybe someday soon?


Follow Tom on Twitter: @RHSportsGuy

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