A Second Chance For Outgoing Seniors
Cyrus Rothwell-Ferraris makes a catch before running in a touch down against Plymouth in Hanover Friday, September 21, 2012. Purchase photo reprints »
Lebanonís Dylan Drew celebrates after scoring a touchdown last night.
Valley News - James M. Patterson
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Manchester — Despite receiving statistics that ranked him among the top performers in New Hampshire last fall, recently graduated Hanover High wide receiver Cyrus Rothwell-Ferraris won’t be competing in the 60th Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl this summer. But thanks to another charitable football game, he’ll be an All-Star anyway.
A versatile threat who accumulated more than 1,000 all-purpose yards for the Marauders last autumn, Rothwell-Ferraris is one of five players from the Upper Valley suiting up for the West this afternoon in the second annual Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth (CHaD) East-West All-Star Football game at the University of New Hampshire’s Cowell Stadium.
Kickoff is at 1 p.m. as the West looks to improve to 2-0 in the series. It dominated the East, 44-12, in the inaugural game last year to benefit CHaD, the extended-care branch of Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center offering advanced clinical services for children.
With more than twice as many East-West roster spots as there are positions on the New Hampshire Shrine team, Rothwell-Ferraris is one of many East-West players who won’t be playing at Dartmouth College on Aug. 3.
Rothwell-Ferraris was a strong candidate for either game after reeling in 36 catches for 678 yards (18.8 yards-per-catch average) and nine touchdowns while rushing for 336 yards and a pair of scores last fall.
His receiving numbers ranked him near the best in the state with Bedford’s Brian Collins and Manchester Central’s Troy Pelletier, yet none of them were chosen by the New Hampshire Shrine selection committee.
Rothwell-Ferraris thinks all three may have been casualties of a run-oriented system.
“(New Hampshire coach Ray Kershaw, of Mascoma) runs a wing-T offense and (the selection committee) didn’t take any of the top wide receivers in the state,” said Rothwell-Ferraris at a West practice at Manchester Memorial High School this week. “Both (Collins and Pelletier) are on the West team with me, so we kind of look at it like ‘We’re in this together.’ We wish (New Hampshire) luck in the Shrine game, but we’ve got our own All-Star game to focus on.”
One player who made both the Shrine and West teams is St. Anselm-bound Lebanon player Dylan Drew, who will play nose tackle today instead of his customary linebacker position.
It’s a busy summer on the gridiron for Drew, a West captain who also ran for 653 yards on just 100 carries as a Lebanon fullback last fall.
After 10 days of practicing with the West and playing today’s game, he’ll be back in pads when Shrine training camp commences on July 27 at Castleton (Vt.) State College. Not long after the Aug. 3 Shrine Game, Drew heads back to Manchester for preseason sessions with the NCAA Division II Hawks.
“It’s a summer full of football for me, and why not?” Drew said, named as one of the Granite State co-captains for today’s game. “It’s actually good because I’m getting exposed to a higher level of competition with these all-star games, both at practice and the games.”
Chris Sanborn of Mascoma, and Newport’s Matt Tremblay acknowledged some of the differences between playing in Division VI compared with moving up against the cream of the New Hampshire crop on the West all-star squad.
“First of all, there are about twice as many kids here as there are on Newport, and most of them are a lot quicker,” said Tremblay, a Tigers center and linebacker who will play in the Shrine Game as well.
The CHaD game features 15-minute quarters, three minutes per quarter longer than NHIAA contests.
“That’s going to be another big difference,” said Rothwell-Ferraris. “It’s an entire additional quarter than what we’re used to.”
Like Drew, agile Stevens linebacker CJ Gosselin will be moved to the West’s speedy front line and may also play tight end. While he acknowledged the hitting with the West all-stars is a bit more pronounced than it was with the Cardinals and against D-V competition, he hasn’t shied away.
“At the end of the day, hitting is hitting,” he said. “No matter what, it’s someone coming at you full steam, so I just plan to play my hardest just like everybody else.”
West coach Jim Schubert has been thrilled with the maturity of his players, who have picked up on his system quickly and caused no off-the-field distractions.
“Of the 37 guys I have, 32 of them were team captains on their (high school) teams,” said Schubert, who won six D-I state titles during a 17-year stint with Manchester Central before retiring in 2005. “The leadership is definitely there, and they’re smart, too. They’ve had to learn a lot of different (playbook) terms and verbiage in the last 10 days and they’ve really caught on.”
The inaugural game last year raised more than $300,000 for CHaD, with individual players accumulating more than $50,000.
West players had raised nearly $18,400 as of yesterday.
“We all have our own individual pages on the website (chadallstarfootball.org), so that’s made it easy for people to donate,” Rothwell-Ferraris said. “Obviously, it’s a great cause and hopefully it’ll be a great game.”
Jared Pendak can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 603-727-3306.