Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl moved to prime time

Friday January 11, 2013

HANOVER, N.H. -- Dartmouth College and the Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl Board of Governors have announced that the 60th annual Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl will be played on Memorial Field, Saturday, Aug. 3, as an evening game, with kick-off scheduled for 5:30 p.m.

This will be the first time in Bowl Game history that the game has been played at a time other than early afternoon.

Richard Ellis of Lebanon, the President of the Board of Governors, said, "The Board is sincerely grateful to Dartmouth College for not only hosting the 2013 game at its beautiful stadium, but allowing us to play the game as an evening game. This change should certainly help our attendance and the amount of money we’re able to raise for the Shrine Hospitals."

The traditional Pre-Game Shrine Parade is expected to still be held at noon.

"Dartmouth is extremely proud to be hosting the Shrine Game for the 50th time," said Dartmouth athletics director Harry Sheehy, "and we hope that the later start will help make it one of the most successful events in its history. It is truly an honor to partner with the Shriners in support of such a great cause."

Of the 30 Shrine Football games played every year across the country, the Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl ranks third in terms of money raised for the Shriners Hospitals. The event is sponsored by the three Shrine Centers of New Hampshire and Vermont -- Bektash (Concord, N.H.), Cairo (Rutland, Vt.) and Mt. Sinai (Montpelier, Vt.) and has raised over $4.5 million since it was first played in Nashua in 1954.

The Shriners Hospitals provide care to children up to the age of 18 with special health care needs, and conduct research to discover new knowledge that improves the quality of care and quality of life of the children and their families.

Vermont and New Hampshire, the latter of which leads the all-time series 44-13-2, each select 36 of the top graduated high school senior football players from their respective states to square off on the gridiron every year since the game’s inception. More than 4,000 players have participated in the event, of which about two-thirds still live in the Twin States.

Brattleboro receiver Soren Pelz-Walsh played in the last one -- a 62-24 victory by New Hampshire in Hanover on Aug. 4, 2012. Those that were there likely remember the extended weather delay and Jerickson Fredrick of Salem running for 140 yards and three touchdowns.

This year, Jason Thomas of Burr & Burton Academy will serve as head coach for Vermont while Ray Kershaw from Mascoma Valley High School will lead the New Hampshire Shrine team.

In announcing the head coaches, Wayne Shepard, the game’s General Chairman, said, "We welcome both coach Thomas and coach Kershaw to our "team" for 2013. The Board of Governors appreciates the selfless time and commitment that this position requires as they prepare their teams for another challenging game."

Coach Thomas is a graduate of Poultney High School and the University of Massachusetts and played football at both schools. Following graduation from UMass he was an assistant coach at Middlebury, University of Buffalo, UNH and Randolph-Macon College. He has served as head Coach at B&B for five years, his teams have made the state playoffs three out of the five years and have an overall record of 28-21.

Coach Kershaw graduated from Coventry High School in Rhode Island where he played football and was all-division his senior year. He and his wife Carolyn relocated to New Hampshire to raise their family. He started his coaching career with the Pop Warner Wildcats and served as a coach from 1992 to 2008. He also served as an assistant coach at Proctor Academy in Andover, N.H., from 2005 to 2009. As head of the JV program at Proctor, he led the JV’s to their first undefeated season in 2009.

Kershaw was named head coach at Mascoma Valley in 2010 and he took what was a new and struggling program from 0-9 in 2009 to 7-2 in 2012 and the No. 1 seed in the Division 6 playoffs.

Reflecting on the Mascoma program and the Shrine Game, Kershaw said, "I feel the Mascoma football team had to push through adversity and challenges to stand as one, to compete to the best of their ability, and I would like to bring this experience to the Shrine Game where it is all for the benefit of the shrine kids (in the hospital) who face a form of challenges and adversity in everyday life."

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. The two teams will be announced in February.

Formal practice for the summer classic will begin Saturday, July 27.


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