Jeff Ragoza is one of three local players in this weekend's Shrine game.

It's early August and summer vacation is still very much here with barbecues, beach time and baseball taking center stage.

But if you're anything like me, football fever is starting to consume you.

The NFL regular season is just five weeks away and preseason games kick off this weekend. It's almost enough to make you want to fast-forward through the rest of summer and dive right into the fall, where football reigns supreme.

Nevertheless, before we can shift our concentration to the pigskin, we do have to wait out the rest of summer, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. After all, how many times do we wish it was 90 degrees in the winter as we're shoveling our cars out of 10 inches of snow?

There is also a local event that will satisfy your football hunger, while we sit and wait to see if Randy Moss and Adalius Thomas are indeed the two ingredients the Patriots needed to become Super Bowl champs again.

Tomorrow afternoon at Dartmouth College's Memorial Field, 72 of the finest high school football players from New Hampshire and Vermont will play in a state-against-state battle as part of the 54th annual Shrine Maple Sugar Bowl.

The game features top-notch recent high school graduates in their final game before many of them go on to play at the next level. Last year, New Hampshire defeated Vermont, 24-7. New Hampshire leads the annual series, 38-13-2.

There will be some local flavor at the game. Pinkerton's Bryan Farris and Jeff Ragoza will play for the New Hampshire squad, as will Londonderry's Ryan Lambert.

Farris, an All-State quarterback, helped lead the Astros to two consecutive state titles, including an unbeaten season last fall. Ragoza was a standout fullback and linebacker and was named the Eagle-Tribune Defensive Player of the Year last fall. Both players will do a post-grad year at prep school this fall.

Lambert was also a standout running back and linebacker for the Lancers and was an Eagle-Tribune All-Star last fall. He will play at Endicott College this year.

General admission tickets for the game are on sale at over 80 outlets throughout New Hampshire and cost for a ticket is $8. Tickets bought on game day will be priced at $10.

Congratulations to Richard Berberian Jr. of Hoodkroft Country Club in Derry. Berberian tied for 17th place in the two-round New England Amateur, which was played at Quechee Country Club in Vermont and finished play on Thursday, July 19.

Berberian finished with a 1-under 143.

The 28th annual Lundgren 5K Road Race is set to take place in Londonderry on Saturday, August 18 at 8 a.m.

The event is part of Londonderry's Old Home Days and the registration fee is $12 before the day of the race and $15 on the day of the race.

There will be 10 age groups in the race and plaques and custom-designed tank tops will be awarded the winner and runner-up in each group.

Matt Langone is the sports editor of the Derry News. He can be reached by phone at 603-421-3829 or e-mail him at sports@derrynews.com.

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