Senior football players share why Shrine Bowl is more than a game

On Sunday, 92 high school football players were selected to represent their state in the Shrine Bowl. They shared what the game means to kids growing up in Nebraska.

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – The 64th Nebraska Shrine Bowl rosters were announced on Sunday, with several Lincoln area athletes represented.

Channel 8 spoke with several players selected to the team about what the Shrine Bowl means to kids growing up in Nebraska.

“It’s a dream come true, you know,” Crete running back Isaac Kracl said. “I grew up around football, and it’s always been a goal of mine to play in the Shrine Bowl.”

“It’s a huge honor being able to be able to play in this game,” Pius X linebacker Julian Castillo said. “It’s something I’ve always heard about, since I was in eighth grade.”

What makes the game so special? A few things.

For one, it’s an exclusive group of players, with only 92 high school seniors in the entire state earning the opportunity to play.

“There’s a lot of really good athletes around the state and so to be a top 92 player, it’s an honor,” Norris quarterback Cooper Hausmann said.

Kracl says there is something special about teaming up with athletes they grew up competing with in the Shrine Bowl.

“I think it’s just all respect, you know,” Kracl said. “We all respect each other and that just brings us closer together.”

“It’ll be nice coming together as a team and then building a bond with the guys we played against before,” adds Lincoln Southwest safety Jake Leader.

Of course, the athletes are teaming up for more than just an all-star game.

In the week leading up to the Shrine Bowl, they will be channelling their collective energy for a greater purpose – to spend time with and to help raise money for Nebraska children in need.

“My dad, ever since from a young age, he has always taught me you respect everyone,” Ashland-Greenwood kicker Evan Shepard said. “It doesn’t matter what they look like, who they are, and what they’re dealing with. I just think it’s a really cool opportunity to serve others and just be a part of it.”

Proceeds raised from the Shrine Bowl go to the Shriner’s Hospitals for Children.

The whole experience is an opportunity for players to represent where they are from, while helping make their state a better place.

“It’s really amazing how the state rallies around like this [game] and you know, really uses what they’re good at to help other people,” Hausmann said.

“I think every kid should have that goal of wanting to represent themselves and their community in the Shrine Bowl,” Kracl said.

The 64th annual Shrine Bowl of Nebraska game will take place June 4th, 2022 at 6:00 PM at the University of Kearney campus at Ron and Carol Cope Stadium Foster Field.

Categories: High School Sports, News