CASPER – The Wheatland High School Bulldog football team boasted three players selected to play in the 49th annual Wyoming North-South Shrine Bowl this year.
The game was played at the Dick Cheney Alumni Field in Casper June 11 and recent grads Ora Borton, Jake Hicks and Kade Preuit were all there to experience their final high school football game.
Although the North Team who has been dominant for the past decade wining eight of the last 10 games didn’t allow the South Team to flip the script again this year as they did last year, The three Bulldogs gained some great experiences in their last high school football game.
The North dominated the South 37-3 in a game that was for the most part, one sided.
Cody Bohlander, head football coach for the Bulldogs will have three huge pair of shoes to fill in the fall. He did reminisce about his three all-stars.
“It is tough to really say something about each of these kids, because I would be able to go on and on about the good things that they did for our program for the past four seasons,” said Bohlander. “Especially when you talk about their senior seasons and the roles they played for us this season. Kade, Jake and Ora are competitors, they played every game this season with a lot of passion.”
Each player had the time of his life and reflected on the experience.
“We went to the hospital in Salt Lake on Monday morning, which was a really cool experience,” Borton said. “We got to meet and talk to some of the kids there at the hospital and just see what life was like for them. It definitely gave me a little more perspective and reminded me that no matter how hard I have it, someone else always has it harder than me. We had some activities at night during the week. We went to the bowling alley, went and saw Top Gun and also had a casino night at the Shrine Club. These were all really fun and helped all of us come together as a team. My favorite part of the whole week was probably just how we were all from different schools, had never played together, but we were able to bond and work as a team within the week.
“By the end of the week it seemed like we were all just as close with each other as we were with our own schools’ teams. I played pretty well in the game, I played the extra tackle in our heavy formations and I also long snapped. I got hit early on in the first half though and passed out so I had to sit out the rest of the game. It was probably a mild concussion. Overall, this was an amazing experience and it was an honor to be picked for this game. It’s really great what the Shriners are doing and it was cool to see how many people and families they’ve impacted. I really appreciate the opportunity to help that cause, it was a great experience.”
Preuit who was not used as the quarterback did get to throw twice on option plays and ended his career two-for-two in passing.
“The shrine bowl was a great experience for me,” Preuit said. “We started off by going up to the Shriners hospital where we got to meet some kids and become closer as a team. We got back in Casper for our weekly practice and it was fun getting to meet all the kids and how close we got over the course of a few days. I played a wide receiver for the majority of the game which was a little different but it was more about just making it to that game that was an experience for me. We lost but to me it didn’t matter the game was just a great experience in general.”
Hicks who is heading to boot camp later this summer has quite a career to look back on with all three sports that he excelled in.
“I had a really great time this whole week,” Hicks said. “We started the week by going to the Shriners hospital and meeting some of the kids that go there. When we got back we started practicing 2 times a day working on a new scheme that most of us did not know. We all picked it up fairly quick. I played outside safety so I didn’t really have to learn much. Every night they had a new event for us, which was super fun. I had a great time just being around so many great football players. They were a lot of fun and I definitely made some memories that will last a lifetime.”
Bohlander finished his thoughts remembering what his players accomplished.
“Each of these players were always wanting themselves and everyone around them to succeed,” Bohlander said. “Kade would end the season as the top quarterback in 2A and would be second in all classes for all purpose yds. Jake would end the season and 2A's top receiver and would end up second in defensive points for our class, and would be third overall for all classes, and if there was a stat for offensive lineman and a way, we ranked them. Ora in my mind would be a top 3 guy. He was leader on our line and definitely knows the game well from his center position.”
The North Team leads the all-time series, 26-19-3 and the very first Wyoming Shrine Bowl was played in 1974.
PHOTOS COURTESY OF TONY MONTOYA