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NH defense doesn’t rest in Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl victory

  • Vermont's Dalton Clifford celebrates a tackle in the 69th annual Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl at Castleton University's Dave Wolk Stadium on Saturday, Aug. 6, 2022. The Granite State won 7-0. (Photo by Michael Beniash)

  • New Hampshire coach Chris Childs congratulates Vermont players after the Granite State's 7-0 win in the 69th annual Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl at Castleton University's Dave Wolk Stadium on Saturday, Aug. 6, 2022. (Photo by Michael Beniash)

  • New Hampshire's Justin Decarlo jars the ball loose from Vermont's Slade Postemski on fourth down to save a touchdown in the waning moments of the 69th annual Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl at Castleton University's Dave Wolk Stadium on Saturday, Aug. 6, 2022. The Granite State won 7-0.(Photo by Michael Beniash) Caledonia Record photographs — Michael Beniash

  • Vermont's Austin Gauld flexes during the 69th annual Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl at Castleton University's Dave Wolk Stadium on Saturday, Aug. 6, 2022. The Granite State won 7-0. (Photo by Michael Beniash) Caledonia Record — Michael Beniash—

  • New Hampshire's Seamus Murphy follows his blocks in the 69th annual Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl at Castleton University's Dave Wolk Stadium on Saturday, Aug. 6, 2022. The Granite State won 7-0. (Photo by Michael Beniash) Caledonia Record — Michael Beniash—

  • New Hampshire's CJ Childs makes a catch in the 69th annual Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl at Castleton University's Dave Wolk Stadium on Saturday, Aug. 6, 2022. The Granite State won 7-0. (Photo by Michael Beniash) Caledonia Record photographs — Michael Beniash

  • Vermont's Corey White celebrates a pass breakup in the 69th annual Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl at Castleton University's Dave Wolk Stadium on Saturday, Aug. 6, 2022. The Granite State won 7-0. (Photo by Michael Beniash) Caledonia Record — Michael Beniash—

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 8/7/2022 9:02:02 AM
Modified: 8/7/2022 8:58:43 AM

CASTLETON, Vt. — Cameron Davio predicted a big showing for New Hampshire’s defensive line earlier this week at Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl media day.

The Lebanon High defensive end helped bring that forecast to fruition Saturday, as the Granite State made a last-minute defensive stand in a 7-0 victory for its second consecutive Shrine Bowl shutout and its third straight win overall.

“(Vermont) just kept trying to test me,” Davio said. “I worked my hands and just tried to get skinny and flip my hips and get around the edge, and most of the time they’d run right into me. It worked out pretty well, and I couldn’t be happier right now.”

Davio had a game-high 2.5 tackles for loss, but perhaps the biggest impact belonged to his Raiders teammate, linebacker Justin Decarlo. Decarlo led New Hampshire with seven tackles, recovered a fumble in the first quarter and stripped the ball from Vermont Gatorade Player of the Year Slade Postemski on a fourth down in the red zone with less than 30 seconds remaining.

The win sent Lebanon head coach Chris Childs and his staff out on a high note in their final game together. Childs, a Lebanon graduate who played in the 1995 Shrine Bowl and also coached the New Hampshire team in 2011, announced in February that he would be stepping down after 15 years in charge of the Raiders.

“When you put your heart and soul into something that means so much to you, it’s hard not to get emotional,” Childs said.

The teams traded punts and fumbles in the first quarter, and after Vermont turned the ball over on downs at the New Hampshire 20-yard line early in the second, the Granite Staters embarked on the game-deciding drive — a 12-play, 80-yard march that took 6 minutes, 47 seconds off the clock.

Lebanon’s CJ Childs — Chris’ son — made a 14-yard reception on third down to get New Hampshire across midfield and move the chains, and Hanover’s Seamus Murphy carried three times on the drive. Londonderry quarterback Aidan Washington’s 26-yard pass on play action to Sanborn’s Kevin Kolodziej gave the Granite State squad the lead.

Childs used Kolodziej, who is listed as a quarterback, primarily as a runner on direct snaps — he did not attempt a pass but carried nine times for 58 yards, and the game’s lone touchdown was his only reception.

“He’s just a beast,” Childs said. “You don’t get many 6-foot-5, 225-pound kids who can run.”

Vermont’s last chance to score before halftime was derailed by an offensive pass interference call, but New Hampshire fumbled the opening kickoff return of the second half, giving the Green Mountain State the ball on the New Hampshire 32. Vermont again turned it over on downs, later getting the ball back deep in its own territory after the Granite Staters punted from just across midfield.

Windsor running back Ben Gilbert put Vermont in prime position to score on the ensuing possession, bursting through the New Hampshire defense for a 69-yard run in what was easily the game’s longest play. Gilbert led all rushers with 94 yards on just six carries after helping lead the Yellowjackets to the VPA Division III title last fall.

“I cut it up the middle, got off one tackle and got past another guy,” Gilbert said. “My legs were a little shaky, so I wasn’t sure how far I was going to make it, but I knew it was a good run.”

But the Green Mountain State team went the wrong direction from there, their drive derailed by an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. New Hampshire then took up the last two minutes of the third quarter and more than half of the fourth, driving inside the red zone before a missed field goal kept it a one-possession game.

Vermont again marched deep into New Hampshire territory, aided by a big fourth-down conversion and an unnecessary roughness penalty. But the Granite State defense stood tall once more, led by Decarlo, to complete the shutout.

“All I can say is that’s how Lebanon players do it here,” Davio said. “He had a great stop at the end to seal the win. I’m really going to miss them and the coaches.”

Benjamin Rosenberg can be reached at brosenberg@vnews.com or 603-727-3302.




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