Players and coaches enjoy 2021 Shrine Bowl

Sports

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (KSNT)- The annual Kansas Shrine Bowl is on Saturday. It’s the 48th outing for the East vs. West all-star game, which brings together some of the best football players from all over the state.

The game welcomes in recent high school graduates who had impressive senior seasons.

“Everyone here is just like the best at what they do, so it’s awesome being around a bunch of talent,” said Junction City quarterback Andrew Khoury.

The two team’s have been gathering all week, practicing two, or even three times per day.

“It’s cool to see all the big 6A guys get to know the smaller school guys and get to know how each others lifestyles work,” said Perry Lecompton’s Hayden Robb.

It’s for a good cause. All proceeds from the event go to Shriners Hospitals.

“Playing football is real fun to us but the bigger part of it is the raising money,” said Thad Metcalfe, Perry Lecompton’s running back turned quarterback.

“It’s awesome that we all get to play the sport that we love and the sport that we’ve thrived in for a bigger cause,” said Robb.

“It’s a lot bigger than a football game. The coaches have made that known. At first I don’t know if some people were like that, but I gurantee now after hearing some of the kids talk and say their story I know that that’s why we’re all here,” said Khoury.

For some players, this may be their last game of organized football.

“We had our final walk through and I was like ‘Dang, this’ll be probably my last go around’ so it’s really exciting but really humbling,” said Robb.

“We’re never going to have this experience again. We’re never going to get to play with some of the people we’re playing with again,” said Khoury. “It’s just been so much fun playing with these guys because they’re playing their hearts out and I know they’re going to play their hearts out on Saturday too.”

It’s not just fun for the players, coaches enjoy it too.

“It’s a lot of fun to see kids from Hoxie, St. Francis, Manhattan, Wichita, and how they get along and those kind of things. It’s a really really neat experience,” said Junction city head football coach Randall Zimmerman, who’s serving as the West team’s offensive coordinator.

Other area stars selected to participate include K-State commits Desmond Purnell and Damian Ilalio, out of Hayden and Manhattan, respectively. Plus, Woodrow Rezac and Bo Reeves from Rossville, Kanon Carn from Holton and many more.

Holton head coach Brooks Barta, Osage City’s Andrew Gantenbein and Olpe’s Chris Shmidt are all serving on the east team’s coaching staff.

The game will be played at Gowans Stadium in Hutchinson at 7 p.m. Saturday night.

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