"The Game" Is Back

St. Johnsbury - The Lyndon Institute Vikings faced off against the St. Johnsbury Academy Hilltoppers in their 116th game.

Both Lyndon and St. Johnsbury entered the game with three wins and three loses on the season. With fans packed in the bleachers and around the field, it had a different feel than a year ago when the game was impacted due to COVID-19. Students, alumni, and fans were all in attendance cheering on their respective teams. Toby Lussier who is a Lyndon Institute Alum, Class of '94 said "We all grew up with it, our parents were involved with it, it's just one of those things you learn as a small child that it only happens once a year. It's bragging rights for the whole year, it's a huge things for the community and it brings everyone together."

With the 127 year tradition back in full capacity it set yer stage for a great day for all. The first touchdown of the game came with 6-minutes left in the first quarter when Hilltoppers quarterback, Quinn Murphy ran it into the end-zone. The Division I Hilltoppers defense then forced a fumble, and the offense scored again 30 seconds after their first tally when Gavyn Kenney-Young caught a pass from Murphy. The Division II Vikings cut the lead in half with their first score 9 minutes into the 2nd quarter. St Johnsbury scored again before the half ended. The score was 21 to 7 at halftime.

During halftime St. Johnsbury recognized their senior class athletes, as well as their alumni with a christening of the academy's renovated field. Frank Empsall, a St. Johnsbury Academy alumni, class of '83 said "It just seems great to celebrate on this field again with a lot of alumni here, and a lot of fans both from Lyndon and St. Johnsbury...it brings a lot of memories back."

The Vikings cut the lead to seven with a touchdown with only 87-seconds to go in the 3rd quarter. However it was all St. Johnsbury in the 4th. A touchdown with 9-minutes and 21 seconds left in the game and a field goal sealed the 31 to 14 victory for the Academy, and many memories for both sides of the long running rivalry.

Empsall says, "It's awesome reflecting back for almost 40 years from winning our state championship that we played on this field." Hilltoppers quarterback Quinn Murphy who is currently a junior at the Academy reflected back after the game "I've been watching it since I was little, I grew up in St. J and not having it last year...I was bummed." Followed with his experience during the game "I loved it, I was really excited for it."

With this win St. Johnsbury Academy is the No. 5 seed and will be facing the No.4 seed Essex next Friday. Lyndons season continues into the playoffs as well as they are the No. 5 seed and will head south to face the No. 4 Brattleboro team.