Quarterback Christian McCormick produced a season’s worth of highlights during the final week of his high school football career.
A week after he led Rice Memorial to the Division II state championship, McCormick guided the North to a 74-48 victory over the South on Saturday in the 10th Annual Vermont Senior All-Star Game.
McCormick completed 19 of 28 passes for 347 yards and six touchdowns in the victory, even though he played a little more than half of the game. The teams set a record for points scored in the all-star game (122).
“I had a lot of weapons and that made it a lot of fun,” McCormick said. “There were a lot of guys out there who can make plays. It makes it a lot easier when you can just throw it up there and you have guys who can go get the ball.”
The North also received a strong performance from Burlington quarterback Grady Breen, who completed 9 of 17 passes for 167 yards and three touchdowns. Burlington’s Ben Vachereau caught five pass for 98 yards and three TDs.
The North’s Mike DiMambro (Essex) and Nicky Elderton (Rice) each had two TD receptions.
South running back Tyler Wood (Hartford) rushed for 111 yards and two touchdowns on 18 carries, but the South had five passes intercepted, including four in the second half.
South quarterback Troy Davine completed 16 of 32 passes for 293 yards and three touchdowns. Fair Haven’s Nick Bruno, the South’s other QB, was 20 of 34 for 170 yards and two TDs.
Mac Stannard (Fair Haven), Lance Elithorpe (Mount Anthony), Mike Marino (Burr and Burton), and Brendan Hacket (Bellows Falls) each had a TD catch for the South.
The North has a 6-4 edge in the series.
Highlights from Vermont’s three state championship football games:
Division I: Second-seeded Hartford claimed its third championship in four years by posting a 33-0 triumph over top-seeded BFA-St. Albans. Jackson Young (181 yards) and Wood (158 yards) led Hartford’s rushing attack. Each scored two touchdowns. Hartford (9-2) controlled the ball for nearly 38 minutes. BFA-St Albans (10-1) didn’t get a first down until the third quarter. The game couldn’t have been more different from the regular-season contest between the teams. BFA-St. Albans won that matchup 42-0. Hartford turned the ball over nine times in the loss. The Bobwhites were trying to win their first state championship since 1960.
Division II: McCormick passed for 303 yards and four touchdowns to lead third-seeded Rice to a 38-20 victory over top-seeded Middlebury. Austin Robinson caught seven passes for 108 yards and two touchdowns for Rice, which had 403 yards of total offense. Rice (10-1) has 19 seniors on its roster. Middlebury (10-1) trailed 16-14 at halftime, but surrendered the first 22 points in the second half. Robison caught two touchdown passes in the third quarter. Marshall Hastings scored two touchdowns for Middlebury.
Division III: Ryan Hayward scored four touchdowns to help top-seeded Bellows Falls (8-3) defeat second-seeded Windsor 39-22. Hayward rushed for 104 yards on 17 carries, and returned the second-half kickoff 92 yards for a score. The Bellows Falls program has won 10 state championships. Mount St. Joseph is the only Vermont program with more. Windsor (9-2) turned the ball over four times in the first half (three interceptions). Running back Matt Rafus ran for 177 yards and three touchdowns for Windsor, which won last year’s Division III title. Bellows Falls beat Windsor 20-0 during the regular season.
GROWTH AT THE TOP
The Champlain Valley, Colchester, Mount Mansfield and Middlebury football programs will move from Division II to Division I next season. Division I will have 14 teams and will expand its playoff format from four to eight teams.
Each Division I team will play an eight-game schedule to determine the playoff field. The six teams that do not qualify for the playoffs will meet in Week 9, when the Division I quarterfinals will also be played.
Divisions II and III will each have 10 teams, four of which will advance to the postseason.
Bellows Falls and Springfield will also change divisions next season. Each program will move from Division III to Division II.
Roger Brown has covered high school sports in New England since 1992. He currently covers high school and college football in the Northeast for ESPN/Scouts Inc.