BRATTLEBORO -- In 1955, the high school football teams on Brattleboro's schedule were afraid to wear red uniforms.
They knew of the 5-11, 190-pound fullback that was also known as "Bull" and the last thing they wanted to do was anger him.
"I remember coach Andy Natowich getting on me during one practice because I let a freshman tackle me. After that, I got mean and started running people over," said Maynard Bush, who grew up in Brookline and now works at Bond Auto Parts in Brattleboro.
And the nickname given by former Reformer Sports Editor Ken Campbell stuck.
Bush was mainly a blocking back for the Colonels, helping them go undefeated in 1954 and then 6-1-1 the following year. But it's one pass play that he remembers best.
"Our quarterbacks, Bobby Warwick and John Turner, were good passers. I ran an out pattern one game, but when I turned around the sun was right in my eyes and I couldn't see a thing. Turner put the ball right in my hands and I was able to catch it," recalled Bush.
Some of his other Brattleboro teammates were Steve Sargent, Joe Tatro, Franny Lane, Pete Beebe, All-State tackle Larry Bueb, and fullback Phil Kemp -- the fastest man in the state.
Natowich, who also coached the Vermont Shrine team in 1955, needed extra players when a polio epidemic left him shorthanded. One of his additions was "Bull" Bush, who was talented and also knew the plays.
"I was happy to be on the team. It felt good," stated Bush.
Vermont won that Shrine Bowl, 12-6, in Manchester, N.H. Montpelier's Joe Woods scored on a 13-yard run and Bennington's Fran LaCross won the game with a one-yard plunge to paydirt.
"We were two or three touchdown underdogs in that game -- probably because of the polio epidemic and only having one week of practice," said Bush, who went on to play three years of varsity football while at the University of Vermont. "And New Hampshire always has a really good team."
The Granite Staters won last year's showdown 43-0 and now lead the series 45-13-2 over the Green Mountain Boys. Some highlights for Brattleboro through the years have been: Duane Holmquist's record 70-yard punt in the 1968 game, a 21-yard TD pass from Joe Shield in Vermont's 9-7 victory in 1980, and a couple of scoring strikes by Ben Gilbert during the 802's 21-13 decision in 1998.
And Bush has some stories of his own, which may have been shared a time or two during his games of cribbage with the Wheelocks, occasional family poker nights in Brattleboro, and with the BINGO regulars in Newfane. Like that time one of Vermont's tailbacks motioned out to the wing by mistake and "Bull" covered for him by taking the handoff and running off-tackle.
Thirty-six other Vermont players will get their chance to make some memories on Saturday, Aug. 2, when the 61st annual Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl takes place at Memorial Field in Hanover, N.H. The parade will begin at noon and kickoff is set for 5:30 p.m.
Tickets will be sold for $15 each at the gate. The games have already raised $4.5 million for the Shriners Hospital for Children.
The two teams will practice at Castleton State College for seven days starting July 27. The roster for the Vermont team, which will be coached by Mike Williams of BFA-Fairfax, is as follows:
Isaac Ryea of BFA-St. Albans; Montell Kirkland of Burlington; Dalton Blackwell of Burr and Burton; Jason Cora and Tim Halvorson of CVU; Peter Henry of Essex; Tyler Rice of Fair Haven; Patrick McGrath and Greg Shinn of Hartford; Lyndon's Dakota Ball, Kyle Cipollone, James Shufelt and Miguel Collazo; Middlebury's Sam Smith, Joshua Stearns, Jakob Trautwein and Sam Usilton; Mill River's Dan Blanchard, Jimmy Collins and Mark Goyette; Cody Boyson of Milton; Mike Winslow of Otter Valley; Sean Shepardson of Poultney; Rice's Tommy Fitzgerald, Jonas Hastings, Matthew Maynard, Michael Morrissey and Allen Vincent; Joseph Couture of Rutland; South Burlington's Tanner Contois, Malik Hines and Paul Valgoi; and Woodstock's Tom Baumann, Zack Cole, Sam Cole and Oliver Kaija.
Shane Covey can be reached at email@example.com or by calling 802-254-2311, ext. 163.