High school football preview: St. Johnsbury Hilltoppers

High School Huddle

2019 D1 runner-up looks to make its way back to the top

Indoors or outdoors, the St. Johnsbury football team wants to make sure everything is in order ahead of game one.

“We’ve spent most of the first week on technique, and now it’s all schematic,” head coach Rich Alercio said.

Alercio, now in his ninth year as head coach, has turned the Hilltoppers into one of the top teams in D1 in the last half-decade. The team won the state title in 2017, and made it to the championship game in 2019, 2016 and 2014.

Now, as the team gets ready to make a return to full-contact football, St. J will also set its sights on another championship. Leaders on the Hilltoppers roster want to make sure underclassmen know what to expect.

“We’re just trying to acclimate people to contact again, because seven-on-seven is nowhere comparable,” St. Johnsbury senior Sam Begin said. “We’ve just been doing training camp, and that’s two-a-days so we have a two hour practice in the morning and a three hour practice in the afternoon. That’s something we couldn’t do last year, so it’s a big change for a lot of these guys.”

The Hilltoppers will try and put the preseason prep to the test when they go on the road for a week one matchup against Hartford on Friday, Sept. 3 at 7 p.m.

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