For The Essex Reporter
The winter sports season is officially underway. Basketballs bouncing in the gym; cheerleaders performing routines; gymnasts flying and flipping through the air; the rink jammed everyday, including Saturdays (Sundays too, but that’s a bit beyond my scope); track and field athletes scrounging out space in nooks, crannies, stairwells, hallways and the SFE track; cross country and downhill skiers praying for snow and hitting the trails and slopes; and the weight room filled with athletes just about every day. It’s going to be an exciting winter! Don’t forget about the SATs this Saturday.
I hope your Thanksgiving Day and weekend was enjoyable and restful. We hosted a smaller than usual number of family members (13) and it was fantastic. Everyone contributed to the feast. We had light appetizers of cheese, crackers, salsa and nacho-dippers, a stuffed turkey with some sausage stuffing on the side, mashed potatoes and squash (yes, mashed), cranberry sauce (jelled, of course, and the sour whole berries), a side of corn, a beautiful fruit salad, pumpkin and chocolate cream pies, and some crème brulee the was out of this world. After the family left, we popped a 20lb. turkey in the oven and scooted to my mom’s house, where she was hosting her brothers from Florida and Connecticut. We watched the Dallas game there (WIN!) and retired back home to pack for Connecticut to see my beautiful, two-week old granddaughter, Gianna. Grandma made turkey sandwiches for the trip and brought down some bird for my son and incredible daughter (in-law). We left Essex at 9 a.m. and pulled into Stamford at 2:15 p.m. More turkey for dinner and lots of baby holding made for a great visit. MacDonald’s coffee for breakfast, Uncle’s grinders in Darien for lunch and PF Chang takeout for dinner. I’m getting to know my way around down there. We left Sunday at 8:30 a.m. and pulled in to the driveway at 2 p.m., unpacked and then flew over to Adams’ to cut down our Christmas tree. My wife is amazing! After all that, she made turkey and squash soup for dinner. She reminds me of Betty Crocker! I even had time to type up this column, watch some football and track my fantasy football teams. Our tree should be up and decorated lights in the window by the time you read this. Great weekend!
The 2013 Turkey Bowl was a bit of a bird itself. Reports from multiple sources and stringers reported that despite losing the varsity field yet again, having a number of regulars unable to attend (yours truly included) and a near death experience with an intern, it was a very enjoyable and successful game for the winners. This year’s game was better than the trash talking leading up to it, but there was not a ton of that.
Rich Celia was an awesome addition to the game and limped away with ROY (Rookie of the Year) honors. The Hockenbury Family gets the MVP vote. Though she did not play, mom and wife Stephanie had a huge impact on the game, as her genes were incredible out there on Thursday. The family accounted for four of the six Blue team touchdowns. AD Ed Hockenbury was a workhorse on the O-line blocking and connected with SB’s Eddie for at least two scores. Jeff Goodrich and the hoop team coaches helped dominate the game from all over the field. He connected with self-proclaimed Jesse “Slash” Coutrayer for a score. On the Gold side, old reliables Justin Norris, Leo “Gunslinger” LaBonte, Kerry LeClair and, after a two-year hiatus, music man Ace Ali tried their best to keep the game close. Olympic marathoner Kevin “Legs” Barber was yet another Blue team draft choice and will be invited back again next November.
Very specific stats from the game include: Eddie and dad connected on two TD passes early in the game to give Blue the lead it never relinquished. Ryan Hock had two TD catches and an interception. One of Ryan’s TD catches was off a bullet thrown by Coutrayer, intended for Kevin Barber, tipped up in the air and hauled in by Ryan, who took it to the house. AD Hock also threw TD passes to Barber (two TD catches) and Nick Hendry and totaled four TD passes in game. Hendry and Coutrayer each had a couple interceptions also. On the injury front, Jim Svarczkopf played for Gold but left early in the game after what I’m sure was termed a legal tackle in the flag football game. Daughter, Karyn, filled in admirably. Kevin Svarczkopf played well, as did rookie sensation Celia, a great addition to the game. The former Detroit Lion, who played with Alex Karras threw a beautiful lefty spiral TD pass to Jake “the Snake” Orr. Celia played tough as an offensive lineman as well. Orr shined bright in his first-ever TB appearance: three TD catches, great speed, great hands….oh to be in our 20s once again. Easily the Gold MVP. Justin Norris played his usual solid game with one TD pass and outstanding pass coverage. Kerry LeClair made a mean TE. He caught a bunch of short gain catches over the middle, although a highlight of the game was when he made a nice catch and cruised up the sideline toward the end zone when he suddenly, with no contact, dropped the ball. Either slippery conditions or groundhogs. The LaBonte clan was in full force. Youngsters Nick and Chris each made a few good catches. Leo pulled a George Blanda and was a good offensive coordinator. Ali was great for Blue. He had at least three sacks and was tough on the line on both sides of the ball, while breaking the TB norm as a very positive and enthusiastic presence throughout the game. Final score may have been Blue: eight TDs, Gold: four TDs. So in real football numbers the score was either 56-28 or 48-24, and the Blue team’s GM-in-charge claims teams will be the same next year. Oh what fun it is to play…
In other news, the EHS Alumni Hoop Game was played last weekend. Special thanks to vet Dennis Barcomb ‘92 for his organization and support. Once again Chris Macfarland and Mike Lubas officiated and were in mid-season form. Longtime booster Bob Ward won the 50/50 raffle and graciously donated his share to the program. (Nice gesture Bob, but we should talk). Final score: Blue beat Grey 105 – 98. Blue was led by Demir Smajovic ‘10 with 45 points, five dunks, and one ridiculous two-hand reverse. The boy should be a walk-on at UVM. Recent grad James Olsen ‘13 had a career night, dropping in 21. Also on the winning squad was Rick Norton ’90, Barcomb ’92, Matt McAuliffe ’99, Alen Turan ‘08 (17 points) and Joey Picard ’13. Leading the way for Grey in the tough loss was Class of 1978’s John Willey with 21 points. Rumor has it Willey was heard quoting Toby Keith after the game (after scoring 13 points in the closing four minutes), “I’m not as good as I once was, but I’m as good once… as I ever was.” For that last Carmelo Anthony stretch, he was on fire going 5-5 with three threes and two twos and, unlike Anthony, he was also key on defense and the glass to close the gap to the final tally. Teammates included Brad Luck ’99, Nick Hendry ‘03 (who dropped in 17 points), Jesse Coutrayer ‘03 (four threes and 14 points), Rusmir Dzanko ‘08 (10 points), Chris Bogue ‘10 (13 points), Corey Carlos ’10 and Ryan Mitchell ‘10 (17 points).
Just in case you were asleep the last few weeks or hibernating in a cave somewhere, here is a reminder to all winter sports athletes to use the electronic log-in on the EHS athletic website at www.ccsuvt.org/ehs/athletics/.
Pats barely win. NYG win? Nice ref move at the end. Cowboys won on Turkey Day. Hot Stove heating up…