By Edd Merritt, contributor

This year’s Maple Sugar Bowl is carved in granite. Played Saturday at Castleton University, New Hampshire ran the 68th bowl game into the ground and shut out Vermont 21-0. This was the second straight Shrine Bowl win for them with last year’s game cancelled because of coronavirus pandemic.

Bassiru Diawara (10) carries the ball in the second half of the Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl. Photo by John Olender Rutland Herald

Bassiru Diawara (10) carries the ball in the second half of the Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl. Photo by John Olender, Rutland Herald.

It was all New Hampshire’s running game that made things happen. Their backs carried the ball 56 times, throwing only four passes, none of which were completed. Vermont’s defense held strong for the opening half and did not allow a score. Unfortunately, their offense did no better, and, despite beginning the second half with the ball, Vermont had to punt, and New Hampshire capitalized with its first touchdown.

Fair Haven’s Kohlby Murray was one of few offensive standouts for Vermont, catching three passes for 52 yards. CVU and Charlotte half back Seth Boffa carried the ball 12 times, gaining 40 yards.

Practices for the coming year begin on Monday. It should be interesting to see the nature of this season’s games given the continuation of the virus pandemic. Will they become modified versions of the sport?