SHERIDAN — There will be plenty of Sheridan County fixtures at the 40th annual Shrine Bowl Saturday in Casper.
Big Horn head coach Micheal McGuire leads the North, with six county players in an arsenal filled with weapons on both sides of the ball.
The North and South have each won the Shrine Bowl 18 times, with three ties among them. For this year’s game, the 40th annual, to be played at 7 p.m. Saturday at Natrona County High School, McGuire and the North may be hard to bet against.
Last year, the South scored the most points in the history of the annual Cowboy State all-star football game, winning 56-33. McGuire, known for his prolific offensive, may take a run at that scoring record.
“On both sides of the ball, we’re really athletic,” he said Friday morning. “Defensively we run to the ball well, and offensively we have a lot of weapons and we’re capable of scoring from anywhere on the field.”
Among them, players from Natrona County, Lovell and Powell won state championships last fall.
For Sheridan, Nate Kane, Collin Eisenman and Mitch Godwin won a state title as juniors, joining their former coach McGuire one last time, who was on the SHS staff before moving to Big Horn in 2012.
“He was with us for sophomore and jun- ior years,” Kane explains. “All six of us get to play together for him one more time, which is pretty sweet.”
Half of the Sheridan County players will play college football next fall — Eisenman (Chadron), Godwin (Dickinson State), Will O’Dell (Black Hills State) — while the others have plans outside sports.
A Shrine Bowl tradition, they visited the Shriner’s Hospital Monday before a week of practice, supplemented with bowling, poker games and other bro- building activities amid their final time as high school football players.
“It was an amazing experience,” Wigglesworth said of the Shriner’s visit. “We got to talk to some of the patients and see the whole hospital. It’s pretty amazing what they do there.”
Wigglesworth, or as he’s known in prep sports fame, Wiggs, is joined by fellow Rams wideout/defensive back Lucas Wollenman. The speedy, lanky pair spread the field for the Rams offense as good as any across the state of Wyoming in 2012. O’Dell joins them in Casper this weekend. He packed a punch out of the backfield for the Rams while leading them in defensive points.
Sheridan’s decorated, classy leader at linebacker Eisenman along with two-time All-State lineman Godwin provide a nice push up front for the North.
There are connections across the Big Horn-Sheridan line too. Wiggs and Kane have been good friend since kindergarten, when they first attended Holy Name School together.
“We’ve been waiting for Saturday since we got here, it’s definitely going to be a competitive game,” Wiggs said. “I feel blessed just to be able to go out on the field with all these guys one last time, and also with some guys I’ve never gotten to play with like Nate.”
Wiggs and Wollenman both have full-ride academic scholarships to Michigan State University, and suit up on a gridiron for the last time with Kane, the speedy, hard-working running back, who plans to study ag-business at the University of Wyoming in the fall and eventually return to work on the family ranch.
“I’m not going on to play any college football so it will be the last time I put on the pads,” Kane said. “I’m really looking forward to it. Hopefully we can bring the Shrine trophy back up to the North.”
For their leader McGuire, he’ll try for a 2-0 record in his Shrine Bowl career (he won with the North, 16-10, in ‘08), with the help of Rams assistant Kirk McLaughlin.
“It’s been great,” McGuire said. “It’s been awesome to have my guys at Big Horn for one more week as well as another week with the guys from Sheridan. We’ve been able to share lot of good memories.
“They’ve all shown they’re very capable of playing in this game and making a big impact.”