CASTLETON -- The Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl is celebrating its 61st anniversary and for 72 of New Hampshire and Vermont’s finest high school football players, there was an undercurrent of excitement as they arrived at Castleton State College on Saturday morning.
Players from both Vermont and New Hampshire shuffled in and out of the Castleton Pavilion as they picked up their equipment and then went to find their rooms. This is the second time that both Shrine teams have trained in the Green Mountain state.
All 72 players are accounted for and are ready to go.
The 61st annual Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl will be played on Dartmouth College’s Memorial Field on Saturday, Aug. 2, with kickoff at 5:30 p.m. The two Shrine teams will work out at CSC until Friday morning, when they will be bused to Hanover, N.H.
The high spirits extended also to the coaching staffs, including Vermont head coach Mike Williams from BFA- Fairfax.
"It’s great to be at Castleton. They really have done so much with this place in recent years and I’m looking forward to being here for the week," said Williams.
New Hampshire head coach David Jackson from Merrimack Valley High School echoed Williams feelings.
"It’s a great honor to coach all these kids from different schools and to see how all the players from different levels of football come together as a unit during the week," he said.
Saturday’s two practices, one in the afternoon and one in the evening, gave the coaches the opportunity to get to work, as they used the day to install what they plan to do both offensively and defensively and then hopefully spend the rest of the week refining the game plan and getting reps for everyone.
Both coaches were looking forward to being out on the practice field, but they understood that the real lessons for the players came during the teams’ trip to the Shriner’s Hospital in Springfield, Mass., yesterday.
The Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl is played for the benefit of the three Shrine Children’s Hospitals in the northeast and in its first 60 years has raised over five million dollars.
Tickets for the Bowl Game can be purchased online at shrinemaplesugarbowl.com or by calling 603-448-1042.