Milford’s Clary set for battle

The letter came, snail mail, to his house, but Owen Clary’s mom knew there was no hesitating on this one.

“She took a photo of it and emailed it to me at work,” said Clary. “I was beside myself. I was so excited. I couldn’t believe I was selected.”

A fullback/linebacker and recent graduate of Milford High School, Clary was chosen to represent New Hampshire in the 65th Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl Game against Vermont. The game is Saturday, 5:30 p.m., at Castelton University in Vermont. Clary and the New Hampshire stars reported for a week of three-a-day practices, personal appearances and media opportunities leading up to it.

“I can’t wait for the game,” said Clary. “It’s going to be all out there. We’re going to have a great time, but really it’s all about the kids right now.”

“The kids,” of whom Clary speaks are the many children he’s met and others who are benefitted by the Shriners Hospitals, which are the real winners in this fund-raising event.

In fact, Clary hustled and scraped, raising the second largest amount of money for the charity, over $2,200. That’s an amazing statement, and it might just be all about the town of Milford, or maybe even coach Keith Jones’ Spartan football program. Clary’s MHS teammate/classmate, Michael Boucher, was one of the top fund-raisers in the other huge summer senior all-star game.

Clary has made plenty of friends among his former gridiron enemies.

“I knew a couple kids in the game and tried to connect through Snapchat, so it’s been great. We’ve all become best friends,” said Clary. “We hang out all night. It’s like a brotherhood.”

Interestingly enough, one of his teammates, Alvirne’s Jake Donahue, is soon to be his roommate and teammate at Plymouth State University in the fall.

Both guys are using the week to help them prepare for the rigors of college football.

Plymouth opens preseason camp a week after Saturday’s All-Star game.

“I’ve been lifting all summer,” said Clary. “I’m super excited about the preseason and coming up here, having a great time. It’s just been a great way to prepare for it. It’s a head-start. It’s going to help a lot actually, getting into the groove of football.”

This week is more about football and camaraderie, though.

The players take time to meet some of the patients at the hospital.

“You just talk to them and you share so much,” said Clary. “Meeting those kids was the greatest part of the week.”

Of course, there is still a game to be played. And while New Hampshire holds a substantial 47-15-2 lead in the series, Vermont has won the last two meetings.

“I want to win this game, bring it back to New Hampshire,” said Clary. “We want to make our state proud. The past two years we haven’t scored a touchdown. That’s got to change. We’ve got a great backfield and a great defense. We’re a lot better than the last couple years.”