I guess that a holiday dedicated to thankfulness is a good time to give a special shout-out to three athletic teams that made the last week of the season so pleasurable for me and all Hyde fans.
After thorough domination of the MAISAD (Maine independent school league) meet followed by a 2nd-place finish among 24 teams at the New Englands — missing 1st place honors by a single point – the Hyde-Bath cross-country team wasn’t ready to stop running. So, they organized the Flight of the Phoenix: Bath to Woodstock Relay, a 208-mile odyssey involving guys, gals, and a few grown-ups. Beginning in the dark in Bath on Friday (11/16) at 5 AM, each runner committed to four 5-mile legs. 29 hours and 48 minutes later – 7 hours ahead of their goal — they arrived on the Woodstock campus. They also raised over $3000 for Bath’s Good Shepherd Food Bank. The runners concluded their run by hanging a medal around The Wolf (bronze sculpture) on the Woodstock campus, placing a note issuing a challenge to their sister school for next year in the mouth of the Wolf. Stay tuned.
Meanwhile, in a game held at Kingswood-Oxford School (W. Hartford) on Saturday (11/17), the Hyde-Woodstock Wolfpack football team squared off against St. Luke’s School (New Canaan) for the New England Prep School Championship in the small schools division. This marked the first time that any Hyde team has been invited to a post-season bowl game. Befitting two 7 & 1 teams, the game was a nail-biter with St. Luke’s pulling out a 28-26 victory.
While this football team will live long in Hyde lore, its last minute is how I will remember them. With the ball on our own 40-yard line, no time-outs left, and 53 seconds left on the clock, Dan Palmer ‘13 and Tyquan Ekejiuba ’13 got down to business as passer and receiver, respectively. After a series of sideline passes between the two advanced Hyde into the red zone, the two connected for a touchdown with less than 1 second remaining on the clock. All that remained between Hyde and an overtime opportunity for victory was the 2-point conversion. At that point, the St. Luke’s defense buckled down, stopping Jay Watkins ’13 just inches from the end zone. Although it was a heart-breaking finish, it was one of the greatest performances I’ve ever seen a Hyde football team conduct.
Finally, on Sunday (11/18) I joined scores of Hyde fans, including former head coach Jeff Burroughs and two of his sons, on the campus of Middlesex School (Concord, MA) where the Hyde-Bath men’s soccer team took the field against MacDuffie School (Granby, MA) for a chance at Hyde’s first ever prep soccer championship.
The Phoenix got off to a great start with a goal by Wondo Shaw ’13 off a perfectly placed corner kick by Kiefer Cundy ’15. While Hyde dominated play for the next 30+ minutes, the boys were unable to again find the back of the net. Unfortunately, thanks to a penalty kick, MacDuffie did exactly that and regulation ended with the teams tied, 1-1. At that point, the game transitioned to 2 10-minute sudden death overtimes with the proviso that co-champions would be crowned should neither team score. After a scoreless first OT, Ethan Morrow’s ’13 perfect lead pass was slammed home by Wilson MacMillan ’14. The crowd went nuts! (And I was right there with ‘em.)
Congratulations to all our players and coaches.
Onward… to winter! Malcolm Gauld