Shrine Camp: Day 3
All-Star football players from Vermont and New Hampshire have been butting heads in the Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl since 1954, and you could argue that Vermont has never needed a victory more than it does this year.
New Hampshire leads the series 43-13-2, and has won the last 11 meetings - many by one-sided scores. New Hampshire's recent dominance has some concerned about the game's health.
"There's no question there's pressure on Vermont," said Rutland coach Mike Norman, who is coaching this year's Vermont team. "For every athlete we have, they probably have one-and-a half or two. Hopefully we'll be coached up well enough to compete and get after New Hampshire a little bit."
This year's game will be played Saturday at Dartmouth College. The opening kickoff is scheduled for 2:30 p.m.
This is Norman's third tour of duty as Vermont's Shrine coach. He also served as Vermont's coach in 1998 and 2002. Vermont won 21-13 in 1998, and New Hampshire prevailed 37-20 in 2002.
Norman, who has led Rutland to seven state championships, said Fair Haven's Robert Coloutti will likely be Vermont's starting quarterback. Hartford's Tucker Stone, the other quarterback on the roster, is penciled in to start in the defensive backfield. Each quarterback led their team to a state championship last season.
"[Coloutti] is from a spread offense," Norman said. "He'll play basketball at Castleton State. He was recruited to play football too. He can use his feet. He's an athlete."
Stone, who is expected to be a defensive back at St. Lawrence, is one of nine Hartford players on the roster. Hartford has won the last two Division I state championships.
"We're gonna have to rely on the Hartford kids," Norman said. "There's a bunch of them on the team, and they've had some success. In order for us to be successful it will have to be those guys leading the way."
The game will feature 15-minute quarters, and Norman said he plans to use a two-platoon system as much as possible.
"We'll be on the turf, it'll probably be hot and it's a long game," Norman said. "We'll try to get as many people involved as possible. It's a matter of not panicking early, and getting into the flow of the game."
General admission tickets for this year's game are $8 if purchased in advance or $10 on game day. Reserve tickets are priced at $20 and can be obtained by contacting the Shrine Bowl Football office in Lebanon at (603) 448-1042.
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