Game pics, courtesy of

Linda Salmon

 Vermont Ravens semi-pro football - 12th season

 New England Football League’s 25th Anniversary season.

 7-21-18

 Staff report

 S. Willow Park Bennington, VT

 Vermont Ravens - 21

 Southern VT Storm – 26

The Ravens opened the 2018 season by traveling to Bennington, VT for a match-up that included teams that faced off last October for the Maritime Conference Championship.  This game ended the same as the championship game did, with a Storm victory snatched from the Ravens claws seconds before time ran out.  Last season the Storm and #7 QB Will Cole did it on the last play of the game with a successful Hail Mary to receiver Marcus Anderson for the title.  This years was a tad less dramatic as the winning play happened with a time left of 19 seconds.  After the Storm successfully re-gained possession with an onside kick Cole found his receiver #6 Sweet alone for the Storm down the left sideline and the fleet receiver beat everyone to the corner of the end zone to put the last points on the scoreboard.  26-21 was the final.

The game started on a high note for the Ravens as on their first offensive series they were able to move the ball down the field with two good size plays.  First on a run by Fb #24 DeEric O’Neil who gained 20 yards left side.  Then RB #3 Akeem Williams broke off a nice run slicing his way down the right sideline from 30 yards out going the final 5 yards through the air and stretching to reach the pilon with the ball.  6-0 Vermont. 

O’Neil’s point after was good and Vermont had a 7-0 lead at the 12:04 mark first quarter. 

The score remained that until Cole hooked up with veteran Storm receiver #11 Mike Waters for 40 yards making it down to the 10-yard line before being tackled.  With 11 seconds left in the first half Cole passed to #81 TE Pat McLoughlan who caught the pass and walked into the end zone with the first Storm score.  Cole, also the Storms kicker, was good on the extra point tying the score at 7’s and that is how the first half ended. 

The second half started with the Storm with the ball first and wasting not much time Cole passed to WR #6 Nate Sweet catching the pass and rambling into the end zone from 25 yards out.  Storm up 13-7.  Cole again was good with the point after and at 10:03 3rd quarter it was 14-7 Storm.

The 4th quarter was a lot of action for both sides.  With the score 14-7 Storm, Vermont rallied and scored with 7:49 left with QB #8/14 Clayton Torres finding WR/DB #31 Jeric Tyler from 25 yards out and he made his way to pay-dirt.  K/P/DE Juju Ayida’s extra point was wide and it was 14-13 Storm.

The Ravens defense held and with 1:06 left in the 4th quarter Torres would again look for Tyler.  Throwing a strike Tyler caught and twirled around making defenders miss and sped the 24-yard distance for his second score.  Going for two the Ravens RB #25 Ricky Powell pulled up and passed to WR #81 Sean Lamphere successfully for a 2pt conversion attempt making the score 21-14 Ravens with 1:06 left in the 4th.

This would set up the now familiar heroics of the Southern VT Storms QB #7 Will Cole.  Like in the championship game last year Cole did what he does best.  Create more time for himself as he moves in the pocket looking for his receivers to get open enough for him to deliver passes accurately.  The 22-yard pass completion for a touchdown to #14 Kristopher Briggs, made it 21-20 Ravens. The Storm attempted a two-point conversion but were not successful and the score was 21-20 Ravens with 30 seconds left setting up the dramatic finish for the Storm with their successful onside kick and Coles pass for the game winner to Sweet.   

For Vermont O’Neil had a fumble recovery and the one extra point   DE #58 Juju Ayida had a blocked punt.  Torres threw two touchdown passes while Williams had the 30-yard run.  Tyler caught two touchdown passes.  Lamphere had the reception for 2pts.

The Storm are 1-0 and play the Monadnock Marauders who had a first week bye.  The Ravens are 0-1 and host the 1-0 Seacoast Warhawks at Norwich University Saturday July 28th at 4PM.  A concession stand will be put on by the Lady Ravens with refreshments, t-shirts, and game worn jerseys for sale.

For more information www.vermontravens.com