HANOVER – It took the New Hampshire football team just 60 seconds to get on the board in Saturday’s Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl.
And then it took about five hours for the Granite Staters to get the win.
New Hampshire overcame a lengthy weather delay to set a record for points scored in a single game, as it defeated Vermont 62-24 in the 59th Shrine game at Dartmouth College’s Memorial Field. The win was the 12th straight in the series for New Hampshire and improved its overall record to 44-13-2.
Jerickson Fedrick (Salem) led New Hampshire with 140 yards rushing and three touchdowns while Evan Bidgood (Timberlane) was 16 of 21 passing for 186 yards and a touchdown. The Granite State team also got a big day from Junior Brown (Manchester Central), who had seven catches for 105 yards and two scores, and Chris Chininis (Souhegan), who had 146 total yards and returned a punt for a touchdown.
After Vermont went three-and-out on its first possession, Chininis scored on a 61-yard punt return just a minute into the game. On Vermont’s next play from scrimmage, Mike Leonard (Trinity) returned a fumble 28 yards to put New Hampshire up 14-0 with 13:50 still left in the first quarter.
“We had 14 points before the offense stepped on the field and I think that was a huge part of the game,” Chininis said. “I knew we had the potential and I knew we had the athletes to do (put points up). Some of those points were offense, some were defense and some were special teams. It wasn’t just the offense. Everyone contributed in some way.”
New Hampshire also got a 37-yard interception return for a touchdown from Cody Dalton (Manchester Memorial) and Conor Donovan (Inter-Lakes) kicked two field goals in the first half.
“I wanted one score on defense, one on a punt return and one on kickoff,” New Hampshire coach Mike Beliveau (Souhegan) said. “We didn’t get that, but we got three. When you supplement 21 points with whatever offense you put up, that’s pretty good.”
Despite setting a scoring record, New Hampshire got a scare early in the second half.
A 90-minute weather delay – the first in the game’s history, according to Shrine officials – turned halftime into a two-hour break, and the Granite State came out less than sharp to start the third quarter. A fumble on the opening drive of the half gave Vermont great field position and it translated that into a 22-yard field goal by Jakob Oliver that cut New Hampshire’s lead to 34-24.
The New Hampshire offense continued to stumble until the midway point of the quarter, when Chininis made a leaping catch over the middle that seemed to wake up his teammates. A few plays later, Fedrick rumbled in from 36 yards out to put New Hampshire up 41-24.
“We got out to a big lead and it was pretty hot,” Beliveau said. “Mostly it was about Vermont hanging in there and playing well.
“They went in (at halftime) with momentum. We had those big scores early. Vermont was probably looking at it like that, if they take away those early ones, it was a close game. They stopped us early and we stopped ourselves in the third quarter with turnovers. From midway through the third quarter on, I think we controlled everything and that was good.”
The win was especially sweet for Beliveau, who was coaching in his second Shrine game and first since 2000. That year, his New Hampshire team lost to Vermont 47-40, the last time the Granite State had lost to its neighbor.
The 47 points scored by Vermont that year was also the previous record for most in a single game.
“To come back 12 years later, to put up 62, I’d say the memory is getting erased pretty quickly,” Beliveau said. “No doubt about it.”