Monday, June 23
SOUTH BURLINGTON — The Southern Vermont Storm of the New England Football League opened the 2008 preseason against the Vermont Ice Storm on Saturday, ending up on the short side of a 30-6 final at South Burlington High School.

It was the nevertheless a strong showing for Single-A Southern Vermont, competing two divisions up against the Triple-A Ice Storm of the Empire Football League.

The Ice Storm finished the 2007 regular season undefeated, and barreled through the playoffs before coming up eight points shy in the USA Bowl to the Detroit Black Ravens by a final of 22-14. The Ice Storm finished the year with an overall record of 15-1.

Ice Storm quarterback Matt Paul threw for two touchdowns in the first half - a 31-yarder to Austin Partain and an 8-yarder to Rob Joy. Corey Belida's 61-yard punt return in the second quarter made it 20-0 before the half.

Ice Storm quarterback Brad Ruderman took over in the second half, and hit Ray Hershenhorn on a 42-yard score, and Aaron Pyer's 24-yard field goal capped scoring for the Burlington squad.

Paul led the Ice Storm with 9-for-17 passing for 129 yards and two touchdowns. Ruderman was 8-for-16 for 144 yards and one score.

Storm quarterback Sean Lennon connected with fullback Steve Zakrzewski for a 12-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter, and the two-point conversion failed.

Lennon finished the day 10-for-23 for 104 yards and one touchdown. Halfback Ben Lackey ran for 83 yards on nine carries, and halfback Shawn Morrison ran for 21 yards on eight carries.

Southern Vermont head coach Ken Laumann said there were a number of benefits to pitting his players against a higher-caliber football team.

"I think we learned a lot about ourselves from this game," Laumann said. "I'm hoping that they saw that they really do need to practice in order to be a better football team. ... Having said that, our defense played a very good game."

Wes Dewey led the Southern Vermont defense nine solo tackles and cornerback and team owner Tighe Stratton made six tackles and deflected two passes.

Laumann also credited the offensive and defensive play of Ed Bushee, a defensive end and offensive guard.

"The opposing coach told us that he was proud of our team," Laumann said. "Our weak point right now is the line position; that's why we're soliciting to get linemen."

Southern Vermont will play a second preseason game on Saturday at Applejack Field in Manchester when the Northern Berkshire Kings of North Adams, Mass., visit for a 2 p.m. scrimmage.