The Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl Game is a sure sign that high school football season is not many weeks away. The annual regional bowl game was held at Windsor High over the weekend with New Hampshire defeating Vermont 45-21. The Vermont side the game followed an all too familiar theme with the boys from the Granite State pulling away for a lopsided win.
Same old, same old—even my adult Sunday school teacher indicated as much on Sunday. Now don’t get me wrong, this is in no way pointing a finger at the coaching staff or the team effort of this year’s Vermont squad.
It seems to me this year’s game indicates it’s time for a change. It might be time for Vermont and New Hampshire to part ways over this annual game.
This event has been a tremendous way to raise funds to help kids in the Shrine hospitals. “Strong legs run, so that weak legs can walk.” So, believe me, it’s a worthy cause.
I know a few years ago there was talk of New Hampshire taking on an All-Star team from Maine instead in an effort to make this a more competitive game.
Maybe this is something that needs to be revisited. I love the Shrine game as much as anyone in Vermont. I looked forward every summer to going to Hanover, N.H., to watch the two teams square off at Dartmouth College’s Memorial Field—but times have changed.
The game has moved from a college town, and being played in a college football stadium, to a small town in Vermont and a high school football field. I’m not knocking the town or people of Windsor, I’m sure they do a terrific job hosting this game, but come on.
Maybe a more competitive venue would bring the game back to a setting where a contest like this really belongs. As for Vermont fans, maybe the annual North vs. South game could be moved from dreary late November to summer? Another thought: rotate it between the three in-state colleges that have football programs. And the funds raised from this game could go towards the Shrine hospitals, too. Just my two cents.
MUHS pre-season football
It’s Addison County Fair & Field Days week here in Addison County, another indication that the kiddies will be heading back to school soon. In fact, area high school fall athletic teams will start pre-season practices in just over a week. It should be an exciting autumn, sportswise. One of the more interesting stories to follow will be the return of the Middlebury Union High School football team to a revamped Division I level.
Two years ago, the Tiger program that was struggling with numbers dropped back to Division II.
The Tigers surprised many fans by making the Division II Playoffs the first year; last season the team went undefeated before losing to Rice Memorial High School in the Division II Finals.
With its numbers bouncing back up to around 90 players in the program, Middlebury—along with Colchester High, Mount Mansfield and Champlain Valley Union High School—will have an expanded eight team post-season playoff format.
This change now gives the Tigers a chance to renew acquaintances with old rivals Essex and Rutland while maintaining new rivals with the three schools that moved up the division with them.
UVM vs. Harvard?
I saw on the Internet that caught my interest. While the University of Vermont coaching staff hasn’t released its men’s basketball schedule yet, I did notice a post that listed non-league games that has Vermont hosting Harvard the beginning of December. There was a time when that was a competitive game, but not a big deal made about it. But over the last few years, however, former Duke standout Tommy Amaker has started turning Harvard into a good mid-major ball club. In fact, it could be argued the Crimson is the best college basketball team in Boston (with Harvard knocking off Atlantic Coast Conference member Boston College the last two years in a row).
The Crimson hasn’t won an Ivy League title yet (they lost to Princeton in playoff last season) or shocked anyone in the NCAA tournament (like Ivy compares Princeton, Penn and Cornell have). But that might not be too far down the road.
You can’t believe everything posted on the Internet, but if the UVM-Harvard game is going to happen, it could be a real treat for local fans of college hoops.