New Hampshire routs Vermont in Shrine game, again
Tolbert Nemo of Concord cruises into the end zone for a touchdown in the fourth quarter of the Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl in Hanover yesterday. New Hampshire won, 43-0, for its 13th straight victory in the series.
Valley News - James M. Patterson
Jordan Barthol of New London, N.H., gets caught up in the Vermont defense during the Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl on August 3, 2013. New Hampshire won the game 43-0. (Valley News - James M. Patterson)
Logan Batchelder of Claremont celebrates his second interception against Vermont during the Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl in Hanover, NH Saturday, August 3, 2013.
Valley News - James M. Patterson
New Hampshire's Tyler Ford, of Souhegan High, hurdles Vermont's Jon Kilian of Spaulding High, on his way to a first down. (Valley News - James M. Patterson)
New Hampshire's Dylan Drew, of Lebanon High, slaps hands with New Hampshire teammate Christian Dyer of Winnacunnet, after the Granite State's 43-0 win over Vermont in the Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl in Hanover on Saturday. (Valley News - James M. Patterson)
New Hampshire Shrine Bowl Team head coach Ray Kershaw, left, and his son, assistant coach Josh Kershaw shout to their field goal unit after a touchdown by Romeo Masuku of Manchester during the Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl in Hanover, NH Saturday, August 3, 2013.
Valley News - James M. Patterson
Boston Red Sox's Jake Peavy pitches in the second inning of a baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks in Boston, Saturday, Aug. 3, 2013. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
HANOVER – The rules were changed, but in the end it was the same old story.
New Hampshire won its 13th straight Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl yesterday at Dartmouth’s Memorial Field, and once again did it in dominating fashion, blanking Vermont, 43-0. New Hampshire now leads the all time series, 45-13-2.
After winning the last 12 games by a combined score of 433-145, the Granite State team had new rules imposed on it this year limiting the numbers of players it could have from the larger schools. The new restrictions didn’t matter, however, and neither did Vermont’s much-hyped spread passing attack.
“It was awesome to get the shutout,” said Kearsarge’s Ollie Gallo, who started at safety. “We kept hearing they had an unstoppable offense, but they obviously didn’t.”
New Hampshire held Vermont to 162 yards of total offense, forced six turnovers, finished with six sacks, limited the Green Mountain quarterbacks to 122 yards passing and 13 completions (on 34 attempts), and had five interceptions, including one from Gallo on his own 2-yard line. Vermont also threatened to score late in the game, but Logan Batchelder of Stevens came up with one of his two picks on the New Hampshire 1.
“As a coaching staff we knew they could (get the shutout), but we had to keep on ’em to be sure they didn’t let up,” New Hampshire Coach Ray Kershaw said.
On the other side, New Hampshire’s double wing offense piled up 405 yards rushing on 72 attempts. Trinity’s Romeo Masuku led the way with 113 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries. Concord’s Tolbert Nemo finished with nine carries for 52 yards and a touchdown and was one of four ball carriers with more than 50 yards.
“Yeah, that was nice to run it so much,” Nemo said. “It was a new offense for most of us, but we picked it up fast.”
While Vermont shot itself in the foot on its first two drives (starting quarterback Jake Stalcup mishandled the first two third-down snaps), New Hampshire’s offense rolled from the start. The Granite Staters converted a fourth-and-8 from their own 44 on their opening drive on a 38-yard run from Exeter’s Tyler Grant (10 carries, 75 yards), who took a reverse handoff from Masuku and found nothing but daylight down the left sideline. Masuku eventually finished the drive on a 5-yard scoring run to make it 6-0 with 7:12 left in the first quarter.
Kershaw decided to go for it on another fourth down near midfield on his team’s next drive, showing just how much belief he had in both his offense and defense.
“If I didn’t have confidence in them, I wouldn’t have been doing it,” Kershaw said.
But the Vermont defense was ready for the reverse on the second fourth-down attempt and came up with the stop, giving its offense the ball on the 50. Stalcup (12-for-26, 117 yards) quickly led his team inside the New Hampshire 10, but the drive stalled there, and then ended on third-and-goal from the 6 when Gallo came up with his pick after it was tipped by Vermont receiver Chris Reddig (five catches, 53 yards).
“I saw the ball go up in the air and then I snagged it,” Gallo said. “It pretty much came right into my hands.”
Portsmouth’s Ricky Holt pressured Stalcup on that play and, along with the rest of the New Hampshire defensive line, for most of the game. Holt and C.J. Gosselin of Stevens had two sacks each, while Pembroke defensive tackle Chris Ford and Trinity linebacker Ryan Carrier had one each.
“I’d say the key was getting pressure on the quarterback, which is what the front four did,” Gallo said.
New Hampshire made it 12-0 with 7:11 to play in the second quarter on its only completion of the game, a 55-yard touchdown pass from Connor Benjamin to Graham Nyhan. With the Green Mountain defense focused on the run on first down, New Hampshire ran a play-action fake, Nyhan was wide open and Benjamin hit him in stride for the touchdown.
The lead was pushed to 15-0 on the final play of the first half on a 42-yard field goal from Souhegan’s Tyler Ford, the longest field goal in Maple Sugar Bowl history.
New Hampshire went right back to work in the second half, putting together a 76-yard drive on the opening series that ended with a 40-yard scoring run from Masuku. Vermont’s first drive, on the other hand, ended after just three plays when Carrier intercepted Stalcup at midfield. And when Benjamin (11 carries, 81 yards) scored on a 36-yard run with 2:13 left in the third to make it 29-0, the rout was officially on.
Grant and Nemo added touchdown runs late in the fourth, Nemo’s coming from nine yards out with 1:59 remaining in the game.
“That was all my line,” Nemo said. “It was my line and the other guys blocking, I just got the corner.”
That line included Concord’s Seth Gosse, who started and played most of the game at right tackle. And on that play the guys blocking included Kearsarge’s Jordan Barthol, who was playing fullback at the time. Barthol, Bishop Brady’s Evan Hall and Winnisquam’s Austin Hunt all saw plenty of action as part of the kickoff team, and Hall and Hunt rotated in at linebacker in the second half.
“The kids really worked hard all week for this win, so it’s just a great feeling and they deserved it,” Kershaw said. “They were great kids, we didn’t have any problems with them and they were just non-stop at practice. They really wanted it.”
Romeo Masuku, running back, Trinity, 14 carries, 113 yards, two touchdowns
Ricky Holt, defensive lineman, Portsmouth, two sacks
Connor Benjamin, quarterback, Goffstown, 11 carries, 81 yards, 1-for-6 passing for 55 yards and a touchdown