Keegan Murphy will try to help New Hampshire break a three-game Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl losing streak Saturday.
The annual game pitting top high school seniors from New Hampshire and Vermont kicks off at 5:30 p.m. at Castleton State University in Castleton, Vt.
New Hampshire leads the all-time series 47-17-2 and at one point had a 15-game win streak, but Vermont has won the last three straight — all at Castleton University — including last year’s 24-13 decision.
Saturday’s contest is the 66th in the series. It’s played for the benefit of Shriners Hospital for Crippled and Burned Children. The contest has raised more than $4.5 million for children in need since its inception in 1954.
A standout on the offensive and defensive line of a rebuilding Keene football team, Murphy helped the Blackbirds snap an 11-game losing streak with a season-opening win over Manchester Memorial. The senior co-captain was named first-team All-Division I, his second straight all-state selection.
He’s the lone area representative on the New Hampshire roster for Saturday’s game.
Two area players dot the Vermont roster: tight end/linebacker Kris Carroll of Brattleboro Union High and offensive guard/defensive tackle Reno Tuttle of Bellows Falls Union Hig School.
Pinkerton Academy defensive lineman/tight end Michael Sarrette is also among those who will lead the Granite State team into Saturday’s showdown.
The opportunity to play is especially meaningful for Sarette, who will become the fourth member of his family to play in the game.
His grandfather, Dave “Don” Sarette, starred at Manchester Central, then played in the fourth edition of the all-star game before going on to quarterback Syracuse University to the 1959 NCAA Division I-A National Championship.
Don Sarette spent three seasons as Syracuse QB (1959-61), playing alongside iconic Heisman Trophy winner Ernie Davis. Sarette was voted the No. 30 all-time greatest sports figure from New Hampshire in Sports Illustrated’s 1999 turn of the century special edition.
Michael’s uncles, Doug and Don Sarette, were each also selected to the game after standout careers at Concord High.
“I’ve always admired what my family accomplished in football and in life,” said Michael. “To follow in their footsteps with the Shrine game is more than an honor. It makes me proud to know that I’m keeping the tradition going in my family.”
Some of the state’s top players are not in action, having played earlier this summer for Team East in the intrastate CHaD Senior All-Star Game. Rules now prohibit athletes from appearing in both the CHaD and Shrine games.
Longtime Mount Mansfield Coach Marty Richards, who led the Cougars to their first title in program history last November, s the head coach for Vermont; Bill Raycraft of Windham is the head coach for New Hampshire.