HANOVER, N.H. -- It’s seven months before strong legs run so that weak legs may someday walk and plans for the 61st annual Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl are well underway with the announcement of the head coaches for the two Shrine teams. Mike Williams of BFA- Fairfax will serve as head coach for Vermont, while David Jackson of Merrimack Valley will lead the New Hampshire Shrine team.
The summer classic brings together the finest high school football players in New Hampshire and Vermont where the real winners are the children in the Shrine Hospitals. The 2014 game will be played Saturday, Aug. 2 on Dartmouth College’s Memorial Field.
With the announcement of head coaches, General Chairman Kristi Morris said, "We welcome both coaches to our Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl family for 2014. The Board of Governors appreciates their dedication to football and the selfless time and commitment that this position requires as they prepare their teams for next summer’s game."
Coach Williams is a graduate of Winooski High School and played in the 1982 Shrine Bowl. He attended UVM and Castleton State College where he played baseball. He served as an assistant football coach at Milton High School for eight years and took over the helm of a brand new program at BFA-Fairfax in 2006. In eight years at BFA-Fairfax he has compiled a record of 37-28, including 7-4 this past fall. He served as an assistant coach for the Vermont Shrine Team this past year.
In accepting the Vermont Shrine coaching position, Williams said, "This is more than a simple game between neighboring states -- it offers an opportunity to raise money for the most worthy of causes. The care that is provided by the Shriner’s hospitals is unrivaled and to be able to assist, in even the smallest way, is humbling. We are all looking forward to the game, but beyond that our focus should be on the young people who are the recipients of the benevolence of the Shriners."
Coach Jackson is a 1987 graduate of Nashua High School and Chadron State College in Nebraska. As a player he was a defensive end and tight end. Before taking over the helm as head coach at Merrimack Valley in 2011, he served as an assistant coach at Nashua South, St. Anselm College and Manchester Memorial. In three years Jackson has taken MV from 1-8 to 7-3 and was honored by the NH Football Foundation with their "Most Improved Award" for 2013.
Over 200 players from Vermont and New Hampshire, all graduating high school seniors, have been nominated by their respective head coaches. Screening committees, chaired by the two head coaches, will select the two 36-man teams in January.
The Shrine Game has raised over $5 million for the Shrine Hospitals in 60 years. The hospitals, which benefit from the Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl, are the Shriners Hospitals for Children in Springfield, Mass. and Montreal and the Shrine Burns Institute in Boston.
The game is sponsored by Bektash Shrine Center of Concord, Cairo Shrine Center of Rutland and Mt. Sinai Center of Montpelier.
The Granite Staters won last year’s contest, 43-0. It was their 13th consecutive victory and they now have a 45-13-2 record versus Vermont in the series.
Trinity’s Romeo Masuku paced New Hampshire with 113 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Exeter’s Tyler Grant carried the ball 10 times for 75 yards.
The Green Mountain Boys were held to 162 yards of total offense, turned it over six times and were sacked on six occasions. Quarterback Jake Stalcup went 12-for-26 through the air for 117 yards. Chris Reddig had five receptions for 53 yards.