Club football captures win in last game

The UVM club football team finished their year off strong with a 36-0 victory over the visiting Holland College Hurricanes, Nov. 10.

Fans gathered at South Burlington High School’s Munson Turf Field for the Catamounts’ season finale, and they witnessed the catamounts explosive passing attack.

“We excelled in almost every asset of the game,” sophomore offensive tackle Julian Kilicarslan said. “On offense we kept them off-balance by running a no huddle and our fast pace allowed us to really control the tempo of the game.”

The 36-point downing of the Hurricanes, who hail from Prince Edward Island, Canada, marked the first shutout of the year for the UVM club.

“They played well today,” junior quarterback Jack Leclerc said. “But in the end we made every defensive play and offensively we dominated.”

The Cats didn’t make the playoffs, but they were still able to finish the season above .500 as Sunday’s blowout victory made their final record a respectable 4-3.

The club plays in the Yankee Collegiate Football Conference, a league that includes teams such as Boston University, University of Hartford and Clarkson University, among others. This was the first year in the club’s history that they failed to qualify for postseason play.

“We were definitely the most talented team whenever we stepped on the field,” Kilicarslan said. “Everyone on our team, including the coaches, knows we should have had a better season than we did.”

Kilicarslan went on to say that, while he saw the season in a positive light, a combination of injuries and a couple of off games by the team left them on the outside looking in come playoff time.

“Although we didn’t accomplish our goal of a Championship,” junior defensive end Jason Paul said, “I would still consider our season a success because we all improved, and had fun doing it.”

Paul, Leclerc, and junior wide-receiver Jake Bielecki served as co-captains this year, and will return for next season as the teams looks to get back to the postseason. “Next year the goal will still be the same: to win all of our games and win a championship,” Leclerc said. “It all starts with recruiting talent from our university and working hard in the offseason.”

“We have a big group of very talented returning players,” Paul said. “We are all extremely excited for improving this offseason to accomplish our goals.”

The continuity of returning the trio of captains should help the Cats rebound from this season’s premature finish. While the outcome was not the ideal one for the squad, no one could question the team’s chemistry.

“I’m never going to question the heart that [the players] have on this team,” Head Coach Steve Sheeler after an October matchup against Southwestern Connecticut. “Each one of those guys works their tail off.”

“When we look back on this season, we have to take the good out of it,” Leclerc said. “Our team had a lot of fun. This group of guys gets along better than any other team I’ve been on.”

With the end of the 2013 football season, the club will set its sight on recruitment and getting ready for the upcoming year. While it will be without varsity status, the club will continue to be the next best thing for Vermont.