Small towns, big talent: Small school Shrine Bowl athletes ready to ball on the big stage

Local Sports

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – The shrine bowl brings kids from all over the state to one place, this year it’s Topeka. An hour north, four schools within 30 miles of each other have all been to state title games the past few years, none of the cities have populations more than 3,000.

Those schools now have four players in the shrine bowl and they’re ready to show that the small-town kids can really play.

“Everybody here wants to compete and they want to win and at the end of the day, we know isn’t for us, it’s for the kids, it’s more than a game isn’t about us though,” said 1A state champion from Centralia Kamble Haverkamp.

For the athletes who come from smaller schools, though, on top of all that, it’s a chance to show that no matter where you grew up, you can ball.

“Football is football, these guys deserve to be here, they’re really good and it’s fun to go out and compete with them,” star Axtell quarterback Quinn Buessing said.
“Pretty awesome experience, all being on one team, a great team. It’s just a great feeling beeing back on the field and I’m ready to hit someone,” 2A Defensive Player of the Year and state champion Bryce Uphaus said..

Uphause from Nemaha Central, Buessin, Haverkamp and Gabe Garber from Sabetha have all played in or won state title games the last few years, and they’re ready to show everyone in the shrine game they can do it at any level, but there are still adjustments to be made

“In the games I played in in 1A, you know you’re always the fastest kid or whatever but here, everybody can run fast, everybody can jump high, everybody is good at what they do.

For those same reasons, there are some benefits to playing with the big dogs.

“I don’t have to make perfect throws, these guys can go up and make plays all the time, so it’s really fun with their speed and athletic ability,” Buessing said.

But in the end, they say throw anyone out there, they’re ready to ball

“It’s a lot of fun to show the biggers guys that, hey, us small-town kids can play just like you,” Haverkamp said.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trending Stories