Tuesday, July 31st
CASTLETON, Vt. -- It is Shrine week on the campus of Castleton University. The best graduated seniors from Vermont and New Hampshire getting set to go head to head in the 65th edition of the Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl.
Hamilton: "Being here today with all these kids and all my teammates, it's like nothing else really, I can't really explain it." , says Hartford High School defensive back Tyler Hamilton.
Since it began, this game has provided an opportunity for players from the twin states to test each other against players they would have never seen before. But it also provides the opportunity for old high school rivals to make new friends.
"It's cool to talk about old games you've been with and like talk about things that went on in the game and kind of talking about some rivalries and everything. It's a good time.", says St. Johnsbury wide receiver Shane Alercio.
"There are rivalries, because we lost the semifinals against Fair Haven, with Austin Ellis as one of the guys, but man if you see us now, we're brothers now. It's amazing, we're close now. I'm never gonna forget this moment, what we had here. This whole week is the biggest experience of my life so far when it comes to football.", says Milton running back Tre Sherwood.
The most important part of this event is not the game itself, but rather the cause they're raising money for, and that fact is not lost on these players.
"You always grow up hearing about, or at least I did, hearing about the Shrine game and you don't really know much about it except it's an all-star game Vermont vs New Hampshire, and then hearing the stories of kids, it really put in perspective what it's all about.", says Bellows Falls defensive back Logan Cota.
"It's awesome, it's really nice meeting all these kids here today. It's just a great feeling knowing that we're doing something good for them and it's giving them happiness to know that we're here doing this.", adds Burlington lineman Brody Snow.
But even taking into account the fact that supporting Shriner's Hospitals is the most important aspect of this event, it is still a football game. Vermont has captured the last 2 games in this rivalry, and they're out to make sure they do it again this year.
"I like to win. And I think everybody on this team likes to win, we don't really have any losers. So it's definitely the main goal is to win and that's how we're practicing, building the team, everybody's playing where they fit best and whatever helps the team win, we all kinda have the mentality of team first.", says Windsor quarterback Seth Balch.
Vermont and New Hampshire will face off on the 65th Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl Saturday at 5:30pm at Spartan Stadium.