MERIDEN, N.H. -– When Souhegan High School's Mike Beliveau coached the 2000 New Hampshire Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl team, his offense turned in a record-setting performance.
New Hampshire had 533 yards of offense in that contest, a record that was tied by last year's New Hampshire team.
Unfortunately for Beliveau, the 2000 Vermont offense turned in a record-setting performance as well. Vermont established records for yards passing (352), pass attempts (49), pass completions (30) and touchdown passes in its 47-40 victory.
“Defensively, we didn't prepare enough for the pass combinations and formations that Vermont threw at us,” said Beliveau, who will get a second crack at Vermont as New Hampshire's head coach this year. “Defensive linemen on a hot, 85-degree day get gassed pretty fast. We can't let that happen again. We had no pass rush in the second half. The kids [Vermont quarterback Michael Keenan] just carved us.
“It was a helluva game, it just didn't go in our favor at the end. We put on a good show.”
Vermont will be looking for a similar outcome when it faces New Hampshire in the 59th annual Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl on Saturday at Dartmouth College (2:30 p.m.). Vermont hasn't posted a victory since that 2000 game and trails the series 43-13-2.
Rutland's Mike Norman is Vermont's head coach. Norman, who graduated from Boston College High School, also coached the Vermont Shrine team in 1998 and 2002. Vermont won 21-13 in 1998 and New Hampshire prevailed 37-20 in 2002.
New Hampshire has 57 high schools that offer varsity football. Vermont has 34.
“For every athlete we have, they probably have one-and-a-half or two,” Norman said. “We just want to play hard, be solid and compete.
“My biggest concern is that when the game begins we have a serious case of stage fright, and find ourselves down by two or three touchdowns before we realize we can play with them. We need to be able to compete right from the get-go, and the longer we can stay in the game and try to get ahead the better off we'll be.
“I think we're gonna have to play real well and they're gonna have to make some mistakes to allow us to keep it close.”
Beliveau has named Timberlane's Evan Bidgood as New Hampshire's starting quarterback, but the team's big-play threat is Salem tailback Jerickson Fedrick, who rushed for 4,568 yards and 75 touchdowns during his high school career.
Norman (Rutland) said Fair Haven's Robert Coloutti will be his starting QB. Coloutti completed 110 of 187 passes for 2,215 yards and 23 touchdowns last season, when he led Fair Haven to the Division II championship. He also rushed for 875 yards and 11 TDs.
Vermont has nine players (25 percent of its roster) from Hartford High School, which has won the last two Division I championships. Seven of those nine players will start on defense.
The game returned to Dartmouth this year after it was played in Windsor, Vt., in each of the last three years.
Proceeds from the game will benefit Shriners Hospitals for Children, and general admission tickets will be available at the gate for $10.
“We have to compete from the get-go,” Norman said. “We don't want to be looking around and down two or three touchdowns before we realize we can play with this team.”
New Hampshire Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl roster
Dylan Spence (Sanborn), Dan Gorman (Hanover), Rob McCormick (Souhegan), Evan Bidgood (Timberlane), Mike Leonard (Trinity), Aaron Martin (Manchester West), Codey Dalton (Manchester Memorial), Junior Brown (Manchester Central), Chris Chininis (Souhegan), Cam Blewitt (Stevens), Dustin Jarosz (Epping-Newmarket), Colin Pellerin (Hollis-Brookline), Cole Brooker (Plymouth), Jerickson Fedrick (Salem), Nick Reisert (Plymouth), Brian Pickowicz (Franklin), Jordan Garron (Bedford), Josh Hughes (Trinity), Tom Cifrino (St. Thomas), Conor Donovan (Inter-Lakes/Moultonborough), Kevin Davies (Pinkerton), Andrew Lauderdale (Trinity), Zach Migneault (Hollis-Brookline), Jordan Gaudette (Milford), Brad Tiernan (Exeter), Raige Hollis (Laconia), Billy Mahoney (Laconia), Dillon Couture (Spaulding), Matt Myers (Winnacunnet), Alexander Morrill (Lebanon), Nathan Harrington (Bedford), Eric Miller (Dover), Sam Prive (Merrimack), Adam Morin (Exeter), Nick Dragon (Monadnock), Tim Beliveau (Souhegan).
Vermont Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl roster
Tucker Stone (Hartford), Kyle Kelly (Rutland), Levi Ellis (Fair Haven), Marshall Hastings (Middlebury), Sam Kelly (Oxbow), Zach Devoid (Bellows Free Academy), Jayson Collette (Milton), Jakob Oliver (Burr and Burton), Rob Coloutti (Fair Haven), Dillon Robinson (Middlebury), Owen Newton (Hartford), Soren Pelz-Walsh (Brattleboro), Alec Kozlowski (Colchester), Matt Rafus (Windsor), Mike Schreiner (Bellows Free Academy), Travis Wilson (Hartford), William Thompson (South Burlington), Ryan Fleming (Champlain Valley), Alex Cross (Mount Anthony), Troy Bell (Hartford), Miles Latham (Hartford), Taylor Raftery (Bellows Free Academy), Dylan Raymond (Champlain Valley Union), Robert Murray (Hartford), Mack Shea (Rutland), Cody Collins (North Country), Steven Ladka (Hartford), Bobby Annis (Hartford), Neal Hier (Fair Haven), Austin Quesnel (Middlebury), Joseph Johnson (Hartford), Mathew Keir (Mount Anthony), Parker Lamoureux (Fair Haven), Jamie Holbrook (Milton), Ben Thieken (Bellows Free Academy), Ryan Ragosta (Rutland).