Anybody who has paid attention to the sports rivalry between Londonderry High School and Pinkerton Academy since LHS opened in the late 1970s knows that the rivalry is one of the most vibrant in all of Granite State athletics.
However, when Londonderry High and Pinkerton athletes are united in a common cause, special things can happen as well.
Recently-graduated LHS standout Dennis Bishop and Pinkerton football star Jack Hanaway will look to make that happen once again this coming Saturday, Aug. 1, when they both play for the New Hampshire grid squad in the 62nd annual Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl Game at Castleton State College in Castleton, Vt.
Another recent PA grad – the versatile Riley Cahill – was also selected to play for New Hampshire in the prestigious game. But Cahill suffered a knee injury in a PA baseball tournament game that will prohibit him from playing. No New Hampshire school is allowed to have more than two players selected to play in a Shrine game.
The annual Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl Football contests are played between two all-star teams of graduated high school seniors from Vermont and New Hampshire. Proceeds from the games go to Shriners’ Hospitals for Children in Boston, Springfield, Mass., and Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The first 61 Shrine Maple Sugar Bowls have raised $4.5 million for the Shrine cause.
Regarding the competitive angle of the games, the Granite Staters have been dominant in the Shrine football series since it began at Nashua’s Holman Stadium on Labor Day of 1954. New Hampshire holds a 46-13-2 overall mark in the series, and it has won the last 14 contests in a row. The Granite Staters pummeled the Green Mountain boys by a 42-6 tally last August in game 61.
Running back/defensive back Bishop and quarterback/defensive back Hanaway are both expected to play significant roles for their side, which is being led by Campbell High School (Litchfield) head coach Greg Gush this time around.
Hanaway played a major role during Pinkerton’s 2014 championship season.
The competing teams arrived at Castleton State last Saturday, July 25, to begin training for what is one of 30 Shrine grid contests played across the nation each year.