HANOVER, N.H. -- Tyler Higley didn’t start playing defense until his senior year at Brattleboro Union High School.
He was good enough to be named All-State as a cornerback and was recently named a starter for Vermont in today’s 60th annual Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl football game against New Hampshire that will take place on Dartmouth College’s Memorial Field at 5:30 p.m.
"He was too valuable to only play one way last season," said former BUHS coach Mike Hatt of Higley, who started at quarterback and defensive back as a senior. "His strength is as a cover corner. In one-on-one situations or man, he is extremely good."
Higley, who will go on to play at Castleton State College, is one of three local players on Vermont’s Shrine team. The others are Zachary Tarvit and Zachary Rawling of Bellows Falls.
"He has an understanding of the game. He is like a quarterback on defense," added Hatt. "He developed into a leader. Our kids really looked up to him."
Vermont gave up 62 points in the last meeting and has lost the last dozen Shrine Bowl games.
"Our defense is coming along nicely and is actually hungering for more information," said Vermont coach Jason Thomas. "They’re flying around and making our offense earn everything out there."
The Green Mountain Boys, who have a 13-44-2 record in this series that began in 1954, will be relying on Burr & Burton’s Jake Stalcup to get them a long overdue victory over New Hampshire. The 6-4 QB threw for 2,640 yards, 31 touchdowns and was picked off nine times.
The Granite Staters will start Goffstown’s Connor Benjamin under center. And why not? He threw for 306 yards and ran for 162 more in the 2012 D-3 semifinals -- a 54-53 overtime victory.
The Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl is played for the benefit of the three Shrine Children’s Hospitals here in the northeast and in its first 59 years has raised over $5 million.
Shane Covey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 802-254-2311, ext. 163.