Shrine football team wins third straight

CASTLETON — The Vermont team of recent high school graduate all-star football players on Saturday picked up the state’s third win in a row over New Hampshire, 24-13, in the 65th annual Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl, which was played at Castleton University.
Strong defense and running sparked Vermont, which cut New Hampshire’s all-time lead in the series to 47-16-2 in front of 5,229 fans at Spartan Stadium. Proceeds support Shrine hospitals for children.
Middlebury Union High School senior defensive lineman Tyler Hotte, who was moved from nose guard to defensive tackle in a four-man front, helped Vermont hold New Hampshire to 209 yards of total offense, included 51 yards rushing.
Hotte’s Tiger teammate Cody Pomainville, a defensive back, was also set to play. But Pomainville missed the contest after being injured in an automobile accident on the Friday before the week of practice leading up to game day, according to MUHS Coach Dennis Smith.
Before Vermont’s three-game winning streak, Green Mountain teams had lost 15 straight. An intrastate New Hampshire football all-star game founded seven years ago, the CHaD NH East-West High School All-Star Football Game, appears to be syphoning off Granite State talent and helping Vermont become more competitive.
This year’s CHaD game, played on June 30, featured 86 N.H. high school football all-stars, none of whom played in the Shrine Game. Rules do not allow high school all-stars to play in two summer contests.
New Hampshire struck first this past Saturday at Castleton after an early Vermont fumble. That turnover set up a 29-yard touchdown pass from N.H. quarterback Matthew Harkins to Matt Simco that made it 7-0.
But Vermont turned three N.H. interceptions into two touchdowns. Jay McCoy made it 7-6 at the half by returning a pick 35 yards for a score.
As the second half opened Tyler Hamilton picked off another New Hampshire pass, and Vermont moved 58 yards for the lead, with the key play a 22-yard pass from Seth Balch to Will Fischer on third and long. McCoy ran in the score from 10 yards out to make it 12-7.
Vermont made it 18-7 at 8:42 of the fourth quarter. Balch capped a long drive with with a 3-yard run.
New Hampshire answered with a 34-yard TD pass from Harkins and Simco at 4:54, but Vermont moved 81 yards for the clinching score, a 6-yard Balch run.
Hamilton, from Hartford, led Vermont with 67 yards rushing and Balch, from Windsor, added 59. Harkins completed seven of 16 passed for 102 yards.

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