Essex looking to return to the top

Hornets reached second straight state semifinal last year
Hornets reached second straight state semifinal last year
Published: Aug. 15, 2023 at 11:19 PM EDT
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ESSEX JUNCTION, Vt. (WCAX) - High school football practices are underway around the state of Vermont, with everyone chasing state titles.

One school that knows how that’s done is Essex. The Hornets have seven state titles to their name all time, the most recent coming with an impressive senior class in the Fall of 2021.

There were a lot of questions of Essex going into last Fall, with many key pieces from the previous year’s championship team gone and Ethan Curtis taking over as the Hornets’ new head coach. But after an 0-2 start to the 2022 season...Essex caught fire.

Essex won six of their next seven games, five over playoff teams as they made it back to the state semifinals. The Hornets would bow out to eventual state champion CVU there, but they’re confident the lessons learned and hunger developed from falling a bit short last year can help in their pursuit of another title this year.

“It’s definitely never easy to lose, especially in a game like that,” senior tackle Max Spaeder said of the semifinal loss. “We’ve basically just been out here working, working our tails off every single day and getting better.”

“Motivating,” Curtis added to describe the end to last season. “I don’t think we’ve had as many guys in the weight room, talking football, out here having their own practices without coaches. These guys are ready to go. They’re amped up, it’s a lot of unfinished business from last year, and we’re hoping to finish that this year.”