For another season, the Storm reach the postseason, only to be one-and-done - this time with a 14-8 defeat at the hands of the Brass City Brawlers in the New England Football League's Class A division.
"Overall, it crushes you to come that far and work that hard and lose by six," said quarterback JC LeBarron. "They're a hell of a team and so are we." After a scoreless first half, the Storm took their first possession of the second half and capitalized. A 24-yard strike from LeBarron to Marcus Anderson gave the Storm good field position on the Brawlers side of the field. On second-and-7 from the Brawlers' 45, LeBarron found Mike Waters on a seam route for a 45-yard touchdown to give the Storm a 6-0 lead.
"After coming through the half 0-0, we were looking for the score," LeBarron said. "I saw Waters beat his defender and it was huge for momentum, but we couldn't carry it for the rest of the night." A long punt by Mike Dunham on the Storm's ensuing drive backed up the Brawlers inside their 15-yard line and after a holding penalty and a block in the back, they had second-and-19 at the five. Brawlers quarterback Tanner Bachand was sacked on the next play by Gary Hewson then brought down in the end zone by Sean Willette for a safety to make it 8-0.
The Storm couldn't do anything on offense on the next series, going three-and-out and the Brawlers took advantage.
Aided by a couple of Storm penalties, the Brawlers drove 89 yards in 12 plays, capped off by Bachand's five-yard keeper to make it 8-6. He kept again on the 2-point try and was successful, tying the game at 8-8 with 8:13 left.
"There was no give up by anyone, but it comes down to a couple of plays," LeBarron said. "Everyone gets fatigued and banged up, but there's no excuses, we have to put points on the board. Offensively we shot ourselves in the foot." On the next drive, LeBarron was intercepted by Jessie Thomas on a tipped ball in Storm territory. Five plays later, Rich Ambro ran in from 26 yards out to take the lead.
"It was kind of a breakdown, Marcus tried to read me but I can't throw that ball," LeBarron said. "We need to overcome those mistakes." The Storm had one final chance to score, but three straight penalties took them out of range.
"The defense was awesome, but the offense was flat," said guard John Cross.
"We couldn't make the plays and when we did, we were penalized. [The Brawlers] wanted it more than us, I guess."
Southern Vermont finishes the season at 6-3.