Monday July 1, 2013

Hanover, N.H. -- For 60 years, the Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl has been a summer tradition. For the 4,200 men who have participated in the game as players, coaches and officials, it has been an athletic event filled with memories that have lasted a lifetime.

It has been an athletic experience like no other. It has been the coming together and bonding with teammates who were once opponents. It’s the smile of a small child in which the real meaning of Shrine Football is learned and lives are changed forever. It is the fulfillment of a dream for every high school football player in New Hampshire and Vermont.

One of those players was Philip Lanoue from Plymouth High School who played in 1974 and later graduated from the University of Vermont. Today, he is Superintendent of the Clarke County School District in Athens, Ga.

As Lanoue has said, "I quickly realized that it was more than just a game of football; it was about giving to those who did not have what you had. In many ways this has shaped my life and why I continue to work with children and young adults to make a difference."

The 60th annual Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl will be played on Dartmouth College’s Memorial Field on Saturday, Aug. 3 and again "Strong legs will run, so that weak legs may someday walk."

The game, as always, will feature 72 of the finest high school football players from New Hampshire and Vermont that graduated this year. Among those playing for the Green Mountain State will be Brattleboro’s Tyler Higley, along with Zachary Tarvit and Zachary Rawling of Bellows Falls.

The two teams will practice at Castleton State College for seven days, starting July 27. On Sunday, July 28, they will make the traditional trip to the Shriners Hospital in Springfield, Mass., where in the smile of a small child they will learn the real meaning of Shrine Football.

In its first 59 years, the Bowl Game has raised over five million dollars for the Shrine Hospitals.

The Granite Staters have a 44-13-2 record in the series that dates back to 1954. New Hampshire defeated Vermont, 62-24, last year.

Kick-off for the 60th Bowl Game is set for 5:30 p.m. on Aug. 3. And, as always, at noon there will be a spectacular Shrine Parade through downtown Hanover. The parade will feature Shrine units from around the Northeast and an incredible display of miniature vehicles, motorcycle groups and brass bands.

And, for the eighth year, the parade and halftime show will feature a 110-member all-star high school band with musicians from high schools throughout New Hampshire and Vermont.

The Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl is sponsored by Bektash Shrine Center of Concord, N.H. and Mt. Sinai and Cairo Centers of Montpelier and Rutland.

Note: Brattleboro’s Duane Holmquist, who played in the 1968 game, holds two Shrine Bowl records -- longest punt (70 yards) and highest punting average (43.0 yards).