The Hippo


Jul 22, 2019








Courtesy photo.

CHaD East-West New Hampshire High School All-Star Football Game

When: Friday, June 30, 7 p.m. (pre-game barbecue is from 5 to 7 p.m.)
Where: Grappone Stadium at Saint Anselm College, 100 St. Anselm Drive, Manchester
Cost: $10 general admission, or $25 for VIP ticket that includes access to the barbecue with The Tuckaway Tavern & Butchery

Kickoff for a cause
Granite State high school footballers play for charity

By Matt Ingersoll

 New Hampshire’s best high school football players, selected by local coaches, will assemble into two teams and face off against each other in a special football game in Manchester to raise money for charity.

It’s the sixth annual CHaD East-West New Hampshire High School All-Star Football Game, and it’s happening on Friday, June 30, at Saint Anselm College’s Grappone Stadium. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.
The game raises money for Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock; in the five years the game has been held, more than $1.3 million has been raised.
Tom Gauthier, ChaD’s community relations and event coordinator, said teams of recently graduated seniors from high schools in eastern and western parts of the state are sorted geographically, with Interstate 93 and Route 3 as the dividing lines. More than 50 school districts will be represented. The West All-Stars team currently has a series lead of 3-2, but the East All-Stars have won the last two games, according to Gauthier.
“The point of the game is really to teach the kids about the importance of philanthropy and giving back,” he said, “and how playing in the game has an impact.”
The idea for the game was conceived by Manchester native Nick Vailas, CEO of Bedford and Nashua Ambulatory Surgical Centers.
“Nick is a big football fan, and he came to us with the idea of a New Hampshire-only interstate football game made up of all of the best high school players,” Gauthier said. “His company also took on a strong leadership presence with the fundraising.”
Craig Kozens, athletic director and a teacher at Laconia High School, will return to the game to serve as coach of the East All-Stars for the third consecutive year. Former Manchester Central High School head football coach Jim Schubert, who was the West All-Stars coach in 2013, will coach his second game this year.
“What happens is coaches are selected early in the fall … and 200 to 300 players or so will get nominated across the state [to play in the game],” Gauthier said. “The coaches will watch tape of the players in action in making their selections, and two teams of 40 players each ultimately get picked by early December.”
Because they are selected by coaches, fundraising is not mandatory for the players, he said. School districts of all three divisions are represented, with no more than five players from each school.
The largest communities participating include five players from Bedford, five from Merrimack and four from Manchester on Team West, and five from Portsmouth, four from Salem and four from Windham on Team East. Ahead of Friday’s game, practices have been held every day since June 23 at Manchester Memorial High School.
Prior to kickoff will be a pregame barbecue with food provided by The Tuckaway Tavern & Butchery in Raymond. Tickets to the barbecue are $25 and include access to the game afterward. For regular ticket holders, food will be able onsite provided by Saint Anselm College’s concession stands.
Gauthier said the game has meant so much to the players involved that some have even characterized it as their best football memory in all four of their years in high school.
“The biggest growth [for this game] has been the alumni involvement,” he said. “We’re seeing kids who played in the game in 2012, 2013 or 2014 who have come back to purchase tickets for another game years later and come out and watch it.” 

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