The Otter Valley Otters and Middlebury Tigers faced each other last Friday night in Middlebury for the final game of the regular season. But it was more than another high school football game for both squads. With both teams needing a win for any hopes of securing a Division II playoff made the game virtually a playoff contest, and that is how exciting the game was.
The Tigers led 6-0 after one period on a Brendan Burrell 8-yard touchdown pass to Devin Bradford. But the visiting Otters answered just seconds before intermission when junior running back Peter Bautista scurried into the end zone from one yard out. A successful extra point gave the visiting Otters a 7-6 halftime lead, but they wouldn't hold it. Middlebury reclaimed the lead in the third quarter when Kaden O'Dell intercepted a Williams pass and returned it 25 yards for a touchdown. Burrel followed by hooking up with Bryan Ashley-Selleck for a successful two-point conversion and a 14-7 Tiger lead with 9:25 left in the third.
The Tigers held that lead until the final minutes of the game when the Otters put together a game tying drive. With just ninety seconds left OV quarterback Zakk Williams connected with fellow junior Nate Fitzgerald for a 25-yard touchdown, appropriately sending the game into overtime with the two squads knotted at 14-14.
The Tigers took care of business in OT when Ryan Foley ran it in from 5-yards out to put Middlebury on top 20-14. The win was secured when Marshall Hastings intercepted another Williams pass on OV's answering drive. The win secures a Division II playoff spot for Middlebury who finish the regular season at 7-2.
The Mill River Minutemen finished their regular season last Friday night too, falling in Manchester 49-12 to the hometown Bulldogs. Burr and Burton quarterback Patrick Jordan fired three touchdown passes while Jared Bove scored three for the Dogs who wrapped up their 2009 campaign at 3-6. Mill River finished winless at 0-9.