Middlebury Tigers prepare for new era
Jed Malcolm takes over for Dennis Smith
MIDDLEBURY, Vt. (WCAX) - The Middlebury Tigers have long been one of the best high school football programs in the state of Vermont, and Dennis Smith was a large part of that success.
Smith spent the majority of the last 40 years prowling the Midd sidelines, first as a player, then as an assistant, and from 2008-22, as head coach. Smith’s Tiger teams won more than 100 games and two state titles during his tenure, qualifying for the playoffs nearly every year. But last December, Smith announced he would step down after 15 seasons in charge.
In comes another former Tiger player and longtime assistant, Jed Malcolm. Malcolm played during Smith’s tenure as an assistant and has served as defensive coordinator for more than a decade. He acknowledges he has some pretty big shoes to fill, but says fans shouldn’t expect the Tigers to look much different from the way they always have.
“It’s an honor to take over for him and keep coaching with this staff,” Malcolm said. “It’s a great group of guys with a lot of experience too. We’re gonna keep most of Middlebury football the same, in terms of, ‘Let’s play good defense and run the ball well.’ We’re not looking to get in high flying shootouts with spread offenses. We would rather get the clock moving and then control the ball.”
As for the players, Malcolm hasnt had to do much to get his group motivated. After a slow start last year, the Tigers rallied to another playoff appearance and downed Hartford and Burr and Burton en route to the D1 title game. But in the shadow of the CVU endzone, Midd’s last ditch effort came up just a bit short in a 24-19 state championship defeat.
That loss has lingered with this group, and they’re out to finish the job this time.
“Yeah, it doesn’t leave our minds,” said senior quarterback and defensive end Jacob Kemp. “Constantly, we’re talking about what we could have done that last play. It all came down to that one last play and we were just a few yards short. And it hasn’t left any of our minds. We all know we want to go back there.”
“Everybody wants to get right back there,” added senior lineman Tim Whitney. “Everybody’s fired up. All summer that’s all everyone was talking about, we just want to get right back there.”
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