July 2009 Archives

Is this Vermont's year?

56th Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl
New Hampshire vs. Vermont

 When and where: Saturday (2:30 p.m.) at Windsor (Vt.) High School's MacLeay-Royce Field.
Team records: New Hampshire leads the series 40-13-2.
Head coaches: Franklin's Greg Husband is the New Hampshire head coach. Springfield's Mike Hatt will be guiding Vermont.
2008 result: New Hampshire won, 42-0.
Last Vermont victory: 2000 game (47-40).
Tickets: Tickets are $10 (general admission) and $20 (reserved seating). Tickets will be available at the gate.
Noteworthy: New Hampshire may have a fight on its hands this yearIt usually requires a high-powered offense to upset New Hampshire, and Vermont may have the right ingredients at the skill positions. It all starts with quarterback Grant White, who played for Hatt and will be running the same offense he ran throughout his high school career. White has good size (6-3, 200) and holds the Springfield record for career TD passes (52)White, who also played baseball and basketball for Springfield, will play for Kimball Union Academy in Meriden in the fall. ... Hatt said he will use a four-receiver set that will feature James Durham (Spaulding), Allen White (Mill River), Mark Comstock (Rutland) and Adam Farmer (South Burlington). ... Putting pressure on White may be the key to a New Hampshire victory. The Granite State will also need a strong performace from its defensive secondary, which features Andy Vailas (Bishop Guertin), Jake Tremblay (Manchester Central), Tyler Long (Dover) and Andrew Kukesh (Exeter). ... Vermont running back Mick Wong was bothered by as bruised shoulder in training camp, but is expected to start. Wong was named Vermont's Gatorade Player of the Year last fall, after he helped Hartford win its second consecutive Division I title. ... New Hampshire doesn't have as many offensive weapons as it did a year ago, but shouldn't have a problem moving the football. Vailas, New Hampshire's starting quarterback, may be the most elusive player on the field. Husband said Nick Barnes (Plymouth) and Ray Boulay (Keene) will both see time at tailback, but Pinkerton Academy fullback Chris George may prove to be the No. 1 problem for the Vermont defense. George is a power runner who can also make defenders miss. He averaged 5.9 yards per carry last season. ...  Each head coach guided his team to a state championship last fall. Husband's Franklin team won the Division VI championship, and Hatt's Springfield team went undefeated en route to winning the Division III title. Hatt was the varsity basketball coach at Stevens High School from 1984 to 1990. ... New Hampshire has 55 varsity programs. Vermont has 34. ... Prediction: New Hampshire 28, Vermont 27.

UNH, Dartmouth make it official

The University of New Hampshire and Dartmouth College have agreed to postpone the final two football games of the current series between the two Granite State rivals.

The teams were scheduled to meet in 2010 and 2011. Those contests will now be played in 2014 and 2015.

This year's UNH/Dartmouth game will be played in Durham on Sept. 26.

The all-time series between the two FCS schools is tied, 17-17-2.

For Vermont, eight is enough

Roger Brown
nhfootballreport.com

Shrine logo.jpgVermont football fans should be familiar with the game plan Mike Hatt will use in Saturday's Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl. It's pretty much the same game plan Vermont uses every summer: Open up the offense and hope to outscore New Hampshire.

"We're gonna have to score to win," Hatt said. "It's not gonna be a 10-7 game."

Vermont may have the weapons to win a shootout this year. Vermont's chances may rest with quarterback Grant White, who holds the Springfield High School record for career touchdown passes (52).

White helped a Hatt-coached Springfield team cap an 11-0 season with a victory in the Division III championship game last season. He completed 109 of 165 pass attempts for 1,821 yards and 26 touchdowns last fall. He also ran the ball 103 times for 466 yards and 16 TDs.

He'll be throwing to a receiving corps that includes Rutland's Mark Comstock, Spaulding's James Durham, Mill River's Allen White and South Burlington's Adam Farmer.

Continue reading For Vermont, eight is enough.

Media Blitz: Shrine players ready for test

High School: Receivers fill Vermont lineup >> Burlington Free Press

High School: Hogan can play Shrine hero >> Portsmouth Herald

High School: Local rivals join forces >> Laconia Citizen

High School: Exeter duo eager for Shrine Game >> Seacoastonline.com

High School: Vermont may have deadly combination >> Rutland Herald

High School: Sanchez gets starting nod >> Seacoastonline.com

High School: Two of three isn't bad >> Concord Monitor

af2: Wolves will rely on old/new QB >> Des Moines Register

af2: Wolves hope to start postseason run >> Manchester Union Leader

College: A Chip off the granite block >> Rivals.com

Shrine Camp: Day 9

Roger Brown
nhfootballreport.com

Don't be surprised if Plymouth's Nick Barnes trots onto the field when the New Hampshire offense takes the field for the first time in Saturday's Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl.

One day after he announced that Keene's Ray Boulay would be his starting tailback, New Hampshire coach Greg Husband said he may insert Barnes as the starting tailback instead.

"It's just a last-minute change we're thinking about," Husband said. "We started out working him (Barnes) on both sides of the ball, but lately he's been focusing on offense. You'll see him as a kick returner as well. Either way Boulay will play a lot."

New Hampshire will be trying to extend its winning streak to nine games when it meets Vermont in Saturday's contest at Windsor (Vt.) High School. The opening kickoff is scheduled for 2:30 p.m.

Each team will go through final preparations Friday. Husband said his team exchanged helmet decals Thursday night.

Souhegan linebacker Ian Ginnard returned to the team Thursday. Ginnard hasn't been able to play because of an ankle injury and won't play Saturday.

"The kids have had a good week of practice," Husband said. "At this point it's up to them. I feel pretty good with what we've done."

Tickets for Saturday's game are $8 in advance and $10 on game day. Reserve seats are $20. For more ticket information, contact the Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl football office by calling (603) 448-1042.

New Hampshire Football Report will post a game preview on Friday.

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Shrine fact: New Hampshire's longest winning streak in the series is nine games (1989-1997), a mark that New Hampshire can tie with a victory on Saturday.

Media Blitz: No time to worry

High School: Morgan gets last-minute invite >> Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

Shrine Camp: Day 8

Roger Brown
nhfootballreport.com

Shrine logo.jpgIt appears as if the Vermont team that will face New Hampshire in Saturday's Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl will get a heavy dose of Bishop Guertin's Andy Vailas.

New Hampshire coach Greg Husband announced his starters Wednesday, and Vailas is the only New Hampshire player starting on each side of the ball. Vailas, who guided BG to the Division II championship last season, will start at quarterback and defensive back. The New Hampshire starters:

OFFENSE

QB: Andy Vailas (Bishop Guertin)
TB: Ray Boulay (Keene)
FB: Chris George (Pinkerton Academy)
WB: Austyn Turner (Franklin)
SE: Kile Stetson (Merrimack)
LT: Dan Herrick (Concord)
LG: Ryan Raymond (Pinkerton Academy)
C: Matt Janetos (St. Thomas)
RG: Kyle Endyke (Bishop Guertin)
RT: Thomas Foote (Goffstown)
TE: Rick Fosher (Trinity)

DEFENSE

DE: Peter Evans (Laconia)
DT: Peter LaBreck (Plymouth)
DT: Bill Helliwell (Pelham)
DE: Phil Laflamme (Plymouth)
OLB: Alex Thurston (Merrimack Valley)
MLB: Eric Rajkowski (Exeter)
OLB: Brett Sanchez (Winnacunnet)
CB: Jacob Tremblay (Manchester Central)
CB: Andy Vailas (Bishop Guertin)
S: Andrew Kukesh (Exeter)
S: Tyler Long (Dover)

UNH lands in top spot

Toman.jpgThe University of New Hampshire football team was picked to finish first in the North Division of the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) preseason coaches' and media poll, and junior quarterback R. J. Toman (pictured) was named one of three CAA Preseason Players of the Year. The announcement was made Wednesday by the CAA during its annual Media Day at the ESPNZone in Baltimore.

The Wildcats, who recorded 12 first-place votes in the poll, were followed by Massachusets (seven first-place votes), Maine, Hofstra, Northeastern and Rhode Island. Richmond and Villanova were picked as the preseason favorites to win the CAA and the South Division, as each had nine first-place votes, followed by James Madison (1), Delaware, William and Mary, and Towson.

The Wildcats are coming off their fifth consecutive trip to the NCAA FCS Tournament and have advanced to the quarterfinals four of the last five years. UNH also won the CAA North Division title in 2008.

Toman, who was named a first-team preseason all-conference selection at quarterback, was selected as the CAA Preseason Offensive Player of the Year. He passed for 3,110 yards and connected for 28 touchdowns as a sophomore. 

Joining Toman on the first team was senior tight end Scott Sicko, who returns as UNH's leading receiver after making 50 receptions for 660 yards and seven touchdowns last season.

Also named to the first-team defensive all-conference squad was UNH junior cornerback Dino Vasso, who led the Wildcats in interceptions (five) and tackles (99) last season.

The Wildcats will open the 2009 season on Sept. 5 vs. St. Francis (Pa.) at Cowell Stadium.

Media Blitz: CAA releases preseason poll

College: UNH, Toman honored at media day >> Portsmouth Herald

College: UNH picked first in North >> CAA official site

CFL: Northern route >> Concord Monitor

Media Blitz: Wolves find a leader

af2: Meet the new QB >> Manchester Union Leader

Shrine Camp: Day 6

Roger Brown
nhfootballreport.com

Shrine logo.jpgAlthough New Hampshire coach Greg Husband said he has at least three capable quarterbacks on his roster, it's unlikely Exeter's Andrew Kukesh will take a snap from center during Saturday's Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl.

After surveying his roster, Husband said it was clear that Kukesh, who also plays defensive back, would be more valuable on the defensive side of the ball.

"The decision was pretty much made before camp started," Husband explained. "He's an excellent defensive player. Not that he couldn't play quarterback, but we had other quarterbacks. From a team standpoint I just figured we'd be stronger if he was in the secondary."

Bishop Guertin's Andy Vailas will likely be New Hampshire's starting QB when the Granite State faces the Vermont all-stars Saturday at Windsor (Vt.) High School. Milford's Jeff Agnew has been working with the second offense.

"Vailas is very elusive," Husband said. "He's got great agility. He's very smart and he's not afraid to put his head down."

Kukesh and Vailas are two of the captains on this year's New Hampshire team. Exeter linebacker Eric Rajkowski and Bishop Guertin offensive lineman Kyle Endyke are the others.

"The Rajkowski kid is just a defensive animal," Husband said. "Both those Exeter boys are very well coached and know exactly where to be."

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Vermont running back Mick Wong has seen limited practice time because of a bruised shoulder. Wong, who helped Hartford win the Division I state championship last season, did not play in Saturday's scrimmage and did not work with the first offense Monday.

"We're hoping he'll come along," Vermont coach Mike Hatt said. "(Tuesday) will be a big day for him."

Wong rushed for 1,427 yards (he averaged 9.7 yards per carry) and 18 touchdowns as a senior. Hartford also won the Division I title during Wong's junior season. He was named Vermont's Gatorade Player of the Year last year.

If Wong can't play Saturday, Mount Mansfield's Brian Wilcox will likely be Vermont's primary ball carrier.

Wilcox was a four-year starter and is a much more physical runner than Wong. Wilcox (6-foot-1, 225 pounds) was moved from the offensive line to the offensive backfield after his junior season, and rushed for 1,497 yards and 21 TDs last season even though he missed significant time in three games because of an ankle injury.

"I'll tell you what, Wilcox has looked pretty good," Hatt said.

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Husband said Manchester Central's Jake Tremblay and Concord's Colin Brown will be the kick returners in Saturday's contest. ... Souhegan's Jameson Luks, who was playing both center and offensive tackle, was scheduled to leave camp Monday because of a knee injury. Unless an exception is made, Husband won't be allowed to replace Luks on the roster. According to Husband, all Shrine replacements had to be selected by last Saturday. ... Husband said he has been impressed with the Division V and Division VI players on the New Hampshire roster.

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Shrine fact: Vermont's Michael Keenan holds the Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl record for TD passes (six), pass completions (30), pass attempts (49) and yards passing (352). Keenan, who played for Mount St. Joseph, guided Vermont to a 47-40 victory in 2000. 

St. Anselm looking for defensive help

St. Anselm logo.gifSt. Anselm College has posted the following coaching opening:

Saint Anselm College is seeking a defensive intern for its football program.

The internship program is designed to provide coaches with a blend of coaching and administrative experience at a competitive NCAA, Division II private college. This part-time position includes a stipend ranging from $6,000 to $8,000 and the following job duties: coaching a position, practice planning, scouting, video analysis, skill and team instruction, all phases of recruiting and responsibilities as assigned by the head coach.

Coaching and/or playing experience is preferred. Minority applications are strongly encouraged. Meals are included. There is no lodging at this point, but that may become a possibility at a later date.

There are no education/medical benefits. Those interested should send a cover letter, resume, and three references to St. Anselm head coach Patrick Murphy at pmurphy@anselm.edu. (No phone calls please).

Wolves earn trip to Iowa

Manchester Wolves.gifThe Manchester Wolves earned the No. 7 seed for the arenafootball2 league playoffs and will play at second-seeded Iowa in a first-round playoff game Friday night.

The Wolves (7-9) and the Barnstormers (12-4) have never met in the 10-year history of the league. Manchester entered the 2008 af2 postseason as the No. 7 seed and won two dramatic, come-from-behind, road games against the second- and third-seeded teams before falling to Tennessee Valley -- the eventual ArenaCup champions -- in the American Conference title game.

The Wolves have not named a starting quarterback for their game against Iowa. In last weekend's loss to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, the two quarterbacks on Manchester's roster were injured. Starter Mike Potts broke the pinky finger on his throwing hand and back-up Willie Copeland suffered a broken ankle.

Wide receiver Steve Savoy played QB for most of the second half.

The complete af2 first-round playoff schedule:

American Conference
First-round playoff schedule:
Friday, July 31
No. 7 Manchester (7-9) at No. 2 Iowa (12-4) 8:05 p.m.      
Saturday, August 1
No. 8 Albany (7-9) at No. 1 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (13-3) 7 p.m.
No. 5 Kentucky (10-6) at No. 4 South Georgia (11-5) 7:30 p.m.
No. 6 Green Bay (10-6) at No. 3 Tennessee Valley (11-5) 8:30 p.m.
 
NATIONAL CONFERENCE
First-round playoff schedule:

No. 6 Rio Grande Valley (9-7) at No. 3 Bossier-Shreveport (11-5) 8 p.m.
Saturday, August 1
No. 7 Oklahoma City (7-9) at No. 2 Tulsa (13-3) 8:05 p.m.
No. 5 Arkansas (11-5) at No. 4 Boise (12-4) 9:10 p.m.
No. 8 Stockton (6-10) at No. 1 Spokane (15-1) 10 p.m.

Shrine Camp: Day 5

Roger Brown
nhfootballreport.com

Shrine logo.jpgThe New Hampshire Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl team put football on the back burner Sunday, when it traveled to the Shriners Hospital for Children in Springfield, Mass.

It was a special trip for Jeff Davis, an assistant coach with this year's team. Davis, who served as a captain for the Franklin High School football team in 2004 and 2005, suffered severe burns in seventh grade and was treated at the Shriners Hospital in Boston.

Kirk Beattie, the EMT who responded to the emergency call when Davis was burned, is the trainer for the New Hampshire team.

"They both spoke to the kids during the bus ride down and told them what they could expect to see," New Hampshire coach Greg Husband said. "It was pretty emotional for Jeff. He was nominated for the Shrine team as a senior but didn't make the final cut. It was kind of special for me to bring him up here."

Husband said the team was split into four groups and took a tour of the hospital. The team also watched a video and gave gifts to the patients.

"I was very impressed by our kids," Husband said. "New Hampshire was well represented."

The New Hampshire team did not practice Sunday, but the team did elect captains: offensive lineman Kyle Endyke (Bishop Guertin), defensive back Andrew Kukesh (Exeter), middle linebacker Eric Rajkowski (Exeter) and quarterback Andy Vailas (Bishop Guertin).

"It's all Exeter and BG," Husband said. "The funny thing is the four of them have hung around together since they've been here.

"The team voted on the captains and it was confirmed by the coaches. We had 17 players receive votes. I'd say 80 or 90 percent of the kids up here were captains on their team."

Husband said he has scheduled three practices Monday and three more Tuesday.

"We'll see how it goes from there," he said.

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Shrine fact: Vermont has failed to score in 11 of the 55 Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl games. 

Manchester schools talking more turkey

Roger Brown
nhfootballreport.com

If Trinity High School coach John Trisciani gets his wish, Manchester will have two Thanksgiving football games this year.

Trisciani said Sunday night a proposal that would allow each of Manchester's four high school football programs to play a Thanksgiving game is awaiting approval by the Manchester school board.

"I was hoping to have it all done by now," Trisciani said. "All of the coaches have agreed on it. We're just waiting for the OK from the school district."

Manchester currently has one game on Thanksgiving Day. The city's three public high schools -- Central, Memorial and West -- are eligible to participate in that game, which is played at Gill Stadium.

Trinity used to be eligible for the Thanksgiving Day game, but it became a game for public schools when Trinity dropped out of Division I following the 2006 season. Trinity played an independent schedule in 2007, and competed in Division V last season.

The proposal would have Trinity play the Manchester public school that didn't qualify for the city championship game on the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving. That game would also be played at Gill Stadium.

"I was actually surprised at how quickly the other coaches said they were in favor of this," Trisciani said. "There was no balking or anything.

"We are very excited about this because it would give us a city game and allow our seniors a final game."

Trinity has been seeking a Thanksgiving opponent from within New Hampshire, but Trisciani said to this point no team has expressed an interest in playing his team. 
 
"Until this is settled, I'm interested in talking to anybody," he said. 

Media Blitz: Vermont has plenty of weapons

High School: Shrine talent showcased >> Rutland Herald

High School: Linemen in Shrine spotlight >> Lawrence Eagle-Tribune

Shrine Camp: Day 4

Roger Brown
nhfootballreport.com

Shrine logo.jpgNew Hampshire coach Greg Husband said he liked what he saw from Saturday's intra-squad scrimmage. Perhaps what he liked most was the fact that his team exited the scrimmage with no major injuries.

"Bumps and bruises, but no injuries," Husband said.

New Hampshire, which will face the Vermont all-stars in Saturday's Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl, ran 20 offensive plays with Bishop Guertin's Andy Vailas at quarterback, and 10 more with Milford's Jeff Agnew behind center. The scrimmage ended after a New Hampshire scout team ran 25 plays against the New Hampshire defense.

Defensive end/tight end Peter Evans (Laconia) and tackle Dan Herrick (Concord) were held out of the scrimmage because of nagging injuires. Souhegan lineman Ian Ginnard, who suffered an ankle injury earlier in the week. was the only other player who didn't participate.

"Overall the kids did real well," Husband said. "We probably threw the ball eight times. We looked at some different players on the offensive line. (Ray) Boulay and (Austyn) Turner ran the ball real well. I think (Dover defensive back) Tyler Long had a good day on defense.

"We ran our first offense against our first defense, so that showed us our strengths and weaknesses."

No practices are scheduled for Sunday, when New Hampshire will visit the Shriners Hospital in Springfield, Mass. Husband said he's planning to hold three practices Monday.

New Hampshire will select team captains Sunday, and starters for Saturday's game are expected to be announced Wednesday.

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Shrine fact: The following players share the record for most touchdowns scored in the game: Steve Schubert (Manchester Central)  1969; Les Wolfgram (Manchester West) 1970; Rick Brodowski (Mount St. Joseph) 1971; Ryan Lacass (Mount Anthony) 1995; Brian Holmes (Newport) 1997; Willey Kinley (Burlington) 2000; Mike Boyle (Plymouth) 2004.

Media Blitz: Hatt has run, pass options

High School: Vermont offense is versatile >> Rutland Herald

af2: Wolves suffer loses on two fronts >> Manchester Union Leader

Wolves lacking QB options

wolveslogo.jpgThe Manchester Wolves played most of the second half without the services of the only two quarterbacks on their roster and fell to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Pioneers, 63-38, at the Verizon Wireless Arena on Friday night.

The Wolves completed the arenafootballl2 league regular season with a 7-9 record and will be either the No. 7 or No. 8 seed in the playoffs. The Pioneers wrapped up their season with a 13-3 record and secured the top seed in the conference plus home-field advantage throughout the postseason. 

Manchester suffered some bad breaks in the game, none more damaging than the loss of starting quarterback Mike Potts to a broken finger on his throwing hand. The injury occurred in the first half. Potts tried to play at the start of the second half with his fingers taped and while wearing a glove.

Back-up QB Willie Copeland, who has not thrown a pass this season, broke his foot early in the first quarter on a special teams play.

Wide receiver Steve Savoy took over behind center with 8:02 remaining in the third quarter and the Wolves trailing 42-26. It was his first appearance as a quarterback in an af2 game. Savoy completed two of three passes for 14 yards and one touchdown. He also rushed 12 times for 97 yards and one touchdown.

Pioneers quarterback Ryan Vena, a former af2 Offensive Player of the Year, had a record-setting night. Vena entered the game tied for most rushing touchdowns by a quarterback in af2 history and added to that total by rushing for his 88th career TD in the first quarter. Vena completed 19 of 27 throws for 260 yards and eight touchdowns with no interceptions.

The Wolves will begin postseason play on the road next weekend.

Shrine Camp: Day 3

Roger Brown
nhfootballreport.com

Shrine logo.jpgThe New Hampshire and Vermont teams that will participate in next weekend's Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl will each take part in an intra-squad scrimmage at Kimball Union Academy on Saturday.

Each scrimmage is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. New Hampshire coach Greg Husband said the New Hampshire scrimmage, which is open to the public, will likely take place on the KUA practice field, which has a grass surface. KUA also has a field with a turf surface.

The scrimmage will feature 24 plays from the first offense, 12 from the second offense and then a scout team that will run Vermont's offense against the New Hampshire defense.

"I told the team that the guys in the first group are not necessarily starters, because the guys behind them are a step away," Husband said. "We'll be looking at both depth and execution during the scrimmage."

Husband said Bishop Guertin's Andy Vailas will be the quarterback working with the first group Saturday. The rest of the backfied will feature Newport's Jake Gingras at fullback, Keene's Ray Boulay at tailback, Franklin's Austyn Turner at wingback and Merrimack's Kile Stetson at wideout.

Milford's Jeff Agnew will call signals when the second offense takes the field.

"He'll get plenty of action because he could be a starer on defense as well," Husband said.

The players will be given the rest of the day off following the scrimmage. Husband said some players plan to spend time with their family. Others will travel with him to Windsor, Vt. -- the site for this year's game -- for a cookout. Husband grew up in Windsor and still has family members who live there.

"The kids are getting a break," Husband said. "I'll bring any player who's parents can't come up (for the scrimmage) to a cookout at my brother's house. He lives about two miles from the Windsor High field.

"I told the guys that after this it's like a reguar game week. I want them to enjoy every moment of every day they're here."

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Shrine fact: The Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl has been played at the following locations: Holman Stadium (Nashua), Athletic Stadium (Manchester), Memorial Field (Hanover), Centennial Field (Burlington, Vt.), Cowell Stadium (Durham) and Currier Field (Plymouth).

Media Blitz: Wotton linked to Lobster Bowl

High School: Game's memories don't fade >> Portland Press Herald

Shrine Camp: Day 2

Roger Brown
nhfootballreport.com

Shrine logo.jpgAfter two days of practice in preparation for this year's Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl, New Hampshire coach Greg Husband has learned at least one thing: He's not lacking versatile athletes.

Husband moved Keene linebacker Jermaine McDay to the defensive line Thursday, and also said it won't be a suprise if Exeter quarterback/defensive back Andrew Kukesh lines up at wide receiver when New Hampshire faces Vermont on Aug. 1.

"Then there's (Milford's) Jeff Agnew," Husband said. "Where do you play him? He's a quarterback. He can run the ball. He's been impressive as a defensive back, and he's got great hands as a receiver."

New Hampshire and Vermont each practiced three times at Kimball Union Academy on Thursday. The teams will have one more day of practice before Saturday's intra-squad scrimmages.

New Hampshire is scheduled to scrimmage at 10 a.m. The format will be up to Husband.

"We'll probably go 20 plays with our first offense and 12 with our second group," Husband said. "Then we'll have a scout team come out and run Vermont's plays.

"I feel pretty comfortable with our progress, but we're nowhere near game-ready. I don't think what you'll see Saturday is what you'll see in this year's game."

Husband said New Hampshire will begin to work on special teams Friday. Merrimack's Kile Stetson is expected to handle the place-kicking duties. Pinkerton's Chris George is among a handful of punters on the New Hampshire roster.

"We haven't focused on special teams yet, but we have some pretty good kick returners too," Husband said.

Contact has been limited to one practice per day, and, according to Husband, there have been no significant injuries.

Each team is scheduled to practice three times Friday, which is also media day.

"Right now we're trying to get ready for that scrimmage," Husband said. "We'll film the scrimmage and take a hard look at all the players. We have a lot of kids who can play a lot of places."

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Shrine fact: Former University of New Hampshire split end Mike Boyle holds the Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl record for yards rushing. Boyle, who played at Plymouth Regional High School, ran for 206 yards during New Hampshire's 41-14 victory in 2004.

  

Media Blitz: Shrine game slated for Windsor

High School: Vermont QB will play at KUA >> Times Argus

Shrine Camp: Day 1

Roger Brown
nhfootballreport.com

Shrine logo.jpgThe Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl experience requires those associated with each team to learn a lot in a short amount of time. Perhaps no one has more to learn than each team's head coach.

That's why New Hampshire coach Greg Husband spent Wednesday -- the first day of practice -- studying his players. Husband and his staff even had a meeting late Wednesday night to assess what they had seen earlier in the day.

"We're still unsettled in a lot of areas," Husband said. "It's too early to say for sure who's going to play offense and who's going to play defense. We came here with a basic idea of what we wanted to do, but after watching the kids we're going to change a couple of things around."

New Hampshire held two practices at Kimball Union Academy on Wednesday. Husband said the afternoon practice was used to start installing the offense, and the evening practice focused more on defense. New Hampshire's four offensive formations for this year's game are an I-formation with a wingback, an I-formation with a slotback, Spread and Bunch.

"Offensively we had quite a few kids who looked good -- the George kid from Pinkerton (Chris George), Ray Boulay (from Keene) and (Austyn) Turner from Franklin," Husband said. "Colin Brown from Concord was very impressive at running back, wide receiver and defensive back. He's a very versatile player.

"I like our depth at linebacker, and I like the way the kids approach things. You generally don't have to say things twice."

New Hampshire will carry a 40-13-2 advantage into this year's game, which will be played Aug. 1 at Windsor (Vt.) High School.

New Hampshire will hold an intra-squad scrimmage Saturday at 10 a.m. The scrimmage is open to the public.

Husband said three practices are scheduled for Thursday.

"We're still trying to figure out who to use where," he said. "It would be nice if we could put 11 on (offense) and 11 on (defense) to keep everyone fresh, but if there's a player who should go both ways he probably will."

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Shrine fact: The 42 points New Hampshire scored in last year's 42-0 victory were the most scored by a New Hampshire team in the game's history. The 1966 New Hampshire team prevailed 42-12. Vermont holds the record for most points in a game (47). Vermont won the 2000 game 47-40. The 87 points is the most scored in one game.

Morgan added to Shrine roster

Shrine logo.jpgCon-Val running back Justin Morgan will be among those in uniform when the New Hampshire team for this year's Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl begins practicing at Kimball Union Academy today.

New Hampshire coach Greg Husband announced that Morgan, who rushed for more than 2,000 yards and scored 25 touchdowns during his high school career. will replace Pelham's Bruce Vieira.

Morgan will play for Plymouth State University this fall.

New Hampshire will be trying to extend its eight-game winning streak in this year's game, which will be played Aug. 1 at Windsor (Vt.) High School's Macleay-Royce Field. Each team will hold an intra-squad scrimmage on July 25. Both scrimmages are open to the public.

New Hampshire won last year's game, 42-0, and has a 40-13-2 edge in the series.

New Hampshire Football Report will post updates from Shrine practice each night leading up to the game.

Sports Network honors UNH's Sicko

Sicko.jpgUniversity of New Hampshire tight end Scott Sicko has been named a Preseason All-American by the Sports Network.

Sicko (pictured) finished the 2008 season as UNH's second-leading receiver with 50 catches for 660 yards and seven touchdowns in 12 games. He averaged 13.6 yards per catch.

Sicko was named a first-team All-American by The College Sporting News and was a second-team All-American on the team released by The Sports Network at the end of last year's campaign.

Wolves secure playoff berth

Manchester Wolves.gifDespite losing to the Mahoning Valley Thunder last weekend, the Manchester Wolves are headed to the arenafootball2 playoffs for the fifth consecutive season.

"Making it to the playoffs is what you try to accomplish at the start of every season and what you work for as a team all year," Wolves head coach Danton Barto said. "I'd like us to be playing better football right now, but if you look at the history of arena football you'll know that all that matters is that you get to the dance because in this game everybody who is in the playoffs has a chance to win a championship if they are playing well."

Depending on the outcomes of this weekend's games, the Wolves (7-8) will be seeded either No. 7 or No. 8.

The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Pioneers can nail down the No. 1 seed in the conference and have home-field advantage throughout the American Conference playoffs with a victory over the Wolves at the Verizon Wireless Arena on Friday night.

The other division champions are the Tennessee Valley Vipers (11-4) and the Iowa Barnstormers (11-4). Both have earned the right for a home game in the first round of the playoffs.

Last season, which was Barto's first as Manchester's head coach, the Wolves entered the postseason as the seventh seed but made it to the American Conference championship game before falling to the Vipers on the road.

"The best thing now is that we'll be entering a new season where everybody in the playoffs will be 0-0," Barto said. "There is more parity in the af2 than ever before and this year any team can beat any other team on any given night."

The final seedings, playoff bracket and schedule for first-round playoff games will be announced at the completion of the regular af2 season this weekend.

Shrine stars about to align

  Shrine logo.jpgPractice for the 2009 Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl will begin Wednesday at Kimball Union Academy. New Hampshire Football Report will have updates each night leading up to this year's game, which will be played Aug. 1.

New Hampshire will have an intra-squad scrimmage at Kimball Union Academy on Saturday. Details about that scrimmage, including the starting time, will be posted later this week. Here's how New Hampshire's final roster breaks down by team and division:

Division I (8): Jacob Tremblay (Manchester Central), Colin Brown (Concord), Chris George (Pinkerton Academy), Alex Deyeso (Londonderry), Ryan Raymond (Pinkerton Academy), Justin Colvin (Manchester Central), Josh Nitso (Londonderry), Dan Herrick (Concord).

Division II (9): Kile Stetson (Merrimack), Andy Vailas (Bishop Guertin), Andrew Kukesh (Exeter), Ray Boulay (Keene), Brett Sanchez (Winnacunnet), Jermaine McDay (Keene), Tyler Long (Dover), Eric Rajkowski (Exeter), Kyle Endyke (Bishop Guertin).

Division III (5): Jeff Agnew (Milford), Gallagher Hogan (Portsmouth), Ian Ginnard (Souhegan), Thomas Foote (Goffstown), Jameson Luks (Souhegan). 

Division IV (5): Nick Barnes (Plymouth), Alex Thurston (Merrimack Valley), Peter LaBreck (Plymouth), Phil Laflamme (Plymouth), Peter Evans (Laconia). 

Division V (5): Cody Anderson (Kearsarge), Rick Fosher (Trinity), Bruce Vieira (Pelham), Matt Janetos (St. Thomas), Bill Helliwell (Pelham).   

Division VI (4): Jake Gingras (Newport), Austyn Turner (Franklin), Abe Muniz (Franklin), Mark McCartney (Campbell).  

Note: Nashua South is the only 2008 state champion not represented.

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St. Anselm names 2009 captains

St. Anselm helmet.gifLondonderry's Mark Colantonio has been selected as one of three captains for the St. Anselm College football team this season.

Colantonio, a defensive back who played at Londonderry High School, will join Dan Bohenek and Anthony Murray as tri-captains.  

Colantonio, who started all 10 games last season, was the team's leading kick returner with 21 returns for 409 yards. In addition, he recorded 49 tackles (30 solo) and led the team with three interceptions.

The Hawks open their season Aug. 29, when they will face Kutztown at Grappone Stadium.

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NHFR will provide Shrine coverage

NHFR logo.jpgNew Hampshire Football Report will have daily updates from Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl practice beginning July 22, which is the first day of practice for both New Hampshire and Vermont.

New Hampshire Football Report will speak will New Hampshire coach Greg Husband (Franklin) following practice each day and post an update each evening. Each team will practice at Kimball Union Academy.

New Hampshire will be trying to extend its eight-game winning streak in this year's game, which will be played Aug. 1 at Windsor (Vt.) High School's Macleay-Royce Field. Each team will hold an intra-squad scrimmage on July 25. Both scrimmages are open to the public.

New Hampshire won last year's game, 42-0, and has a 40-13-2 edge in the series.

Tickets for this year's game can be purchased by calling the Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl football office at (603) 448-1042.

Manchester's Isaac breaks team record

Manchester Wolves.gifManchester Wolves defensive back Brandon Isaac has established the team record for interceptions in a season.

Isaac, a rookie who has appeared in 11 of Manchester's 13 games this season, has intercepted eight passes. The former record of seven interceptions in a season was held by Allistair Sebastien, who is now the team's defensive backs coach. Isaac ranks fourth in the arenafootball2 league in interceptions.

"I had no idea that I broke the franchise record for interceptions, but it is an honor," Isaac said. "I've been working hard all season long to learn the arena game and play my best and it has paid off. Hopefully, I can keep going strong and help my team get into the playoffs and go on from there."

Isaac, who played both safety and cornerback for the University of South Carolina, had three interceptions against the Mahoning Valley Thunder on June 19. The team record for interceptions in a game is four.

"Brandon is a great player, a great athlete, and a great competitor," Sebastien said "He works hard every day and on every play. The more he learns about the game and the different routes and receivers, the better he's going to become."

In addition to his eight interceptions and 19 passes defended, Isaac has recorded 60 solo tackles and 64 total tackles this season.

"I'm happy to be here, and I want to do everything I can to help my team win," Isaac said.

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Sanborn now in Drouin's hands

Roger Brown
nhfootballreport.com

Matt Jozokos and Michael Drouin were teammates and roommates when both played football at Plymouth State College. Their friendship may get tested this fall.

Drouin was recently selected to replace Vincent Pettis as the varsity football coach at Sanborn High School. Sanborn's first regular-season game will be against a Kingswood team coached by Jozokos.

"I can't wait to call him and tell him I got the job," Drouin said. "It'll be nice having someone else I know out there."

Drouin spent the last two seasons as the head coach at North Shore Technical High School in Middleton, Mass. North Shore Tech finished 0-11 in 2008, but posted a 9-3 record last season.

"I felt good about where I brought that team in a short amount of time," Drouin said. "I had no intention of leaving, but when the Sanborn job opened up it was a chance to coach a new program, at a new school. I thought about all the potential that was there."

Sanborn finished 1-8 in Division IV last season, its first-year at the varsity level since the school revived its football program. Drouin said he also applied for the Sanborn job in 2006, when the school began two years of sub-varsity competition.

Drouin, 39, played at Methuen (Mass.) High School. He also served as an assistant coach at Central Catholic High School in Lawrence, Mass., and at Methuen before he accepted the varsity job at North Shore Tech.

Drouin said Sanborn will transition from a Wing-T offense to the Spread this season.

"We'll try to add a little more passing to the offense," Drouin said. "We graduated a lot of seniors. That opener should be interesting."

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Shrine teams schedule scrimmages

Roger Brown
nhfootballreport.com

Shrine logo.jpgThe New Hampshire and Vermont teams that will participate in this year's Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl will each hold an intra-squad scrimmage at Kimball Union Academy on July 25. Both scrimmages are open to the public.

Practice for the 56th Annual Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl will begin July 22 at KUA, which is located in Meriden. This year's contest will be played Aug. 1 at Windsor (Vt.) High School's Macleay-Royce Field. The opening kickoff is scheduled for 2:30 p.m.

New Hampshire won last year's game, 42-0, and has a 40-13-2 edge in the all-time series.

Tickets for this year's game can be purchased by calling the Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl football office at (603) 448-1042.

NHFR seeking writer for 2009 season

NHFR logo.jpgNew Hampshire Football Report is looking for a varsity football player to write the site's Varsity Insider column for the 2009 season.

The column will cover topics related to the player's team (comments on previous game, upcoming opponent, etc.) and will run once a week throughout the season. Each column should be between 300-500 words in length. For reference, check the archives for Reed Spiller's Varsity Insider columns from the 2007 season or Ben Stallman's Varsity Insider columns from the 2008 season.

This is a volunteer position. Those interested should contact Roger Brown at rbrown@nhfootballreport.com.

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Dartmouth swaps UNH for Sacred Heart

Dartmouth logo.jpgDartmouth College has announced the starting times for each of its 10 football games this fall. The Big Green will play five home games, beginning with the season opener against Colgate on Sept. 19. The first three home games will begin at 1:30 p.m. The final two will start at 12:30 p.m.

In addition, Dartmouth has added Sacred Heart to its 2010 and 2011 schedule. Dartmouth will play Sacred Heart at home in 2010, and in Fairfield, Conn., the following season.

Sacred Heart replaces the University of New Hampshire on Dartmouth's 2010 and 2011 schedule. The final two years of the Dartmouth/UNH series have been suspended.

Dartmouth's 2009 Schedule

Sept. 19:  Colgate (1:30 p.m.)
Sept. 26:  at New Hampshire (noon)
Oct. 3:  Penn (1:30 p.m.)
Oct. 10:  at Yale (12:30 p.m.)
Oct. 17:  at Holy Cross (1 p.m.)
Oct. 24:  Columbia (1:30 p.m.)
Oct. 31:  at Harvard (noon)
Nov. 7:  Cornell (12:30 p.m.)
Nov. 14:  at Brown (12:30 p.m.)
Nov. 21:  Princeton (12:30 p.m.)

UNH camp approaching

Thumbnail image for UNH helmet.gifRegistrations are currently being accepted for the 2009 University of New Hampshire Football Camp, which will be held July 12-16 on the UNH campus.

This is a full-contact camp open to players who will be entering grades 6 through 12 in the fall.

Those interested can go to www.unhwildcats.com and click on summer camps for more information. Anyone with questions can contact Mark DeLeone at (315) 427-9351. 

Portsmouth High offering mini-camps

Portsmouth logo.jpgThe Portsmouth High School football coaching staff will conduct two flag football mini-camps to introduce basic skills to young players this summer.

The first camp is for those entering grades 3, 4, 5 and 6, and will be held Aug. 2-4 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. each day. The cost is $35.

The second camp will be for those entering grades 1 and 2 and will be held Aug. 10-11 from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. each day. The cost is $25.

These are non-contact camps that will allow everyone to play multiple positions.

For more information or to register, contact Brian Pafford at coachpaff@comcast.net or 433-6092.

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Plymouth's Barnes added to Shrine roster

Roger Brown
nhfootballreport.com

Shrine logo.jpgPlymouth High School's Nick Barnes has been selected to replace Laconia running back Christian Birt on the New Hampshire roster for this summer's Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl.

Barnes, a fullback, helped Plymouth defeat Laconia in last year's Division IV championship game. Barnes, who was a First Team All-State selection as a fullback, scored four first-half touchdowns during Plymouth's 51-14 triumph over Hanover in the Division IV semifinals.

This year's game will be played Aug. 1 at Windsor (Vt.) High School.

New Hampshire has a 40-13-2 edge in the all-time series, which dates back to 1954. New Hampshire won last year's game 42-0.

Practice for each team will begin on July 22 at Kimball Union Academy in Meriden.

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