SHERIDAN – Even for an all-star game, that’s a lot of talent at running back.
The Wyoming Shrine Bowl board of directors released North and South team rosters Wednesday, and Michael McGuire’s North team brings six players from Sheridan County.
Nate Kane (RB), Collin Eisenman (OL/LB) and Mitch Godwin (OL) from Sheridan will join McGuire’s players from Big Horn Will O’Dell (LB/RB), Matthew Wigglesworth (DB/WR) and Lucas Wollenman (DB/WR).
“It’s always a lot of fun to be able to look at that list of the best players in the state, and pick the top 15 out of that talent pool,” McGuire said. “It’s fun but it’s also difficult because you always end up leaving a couple kids out that are really good football players. I think my staff did a really good job though.”
The North was particularly strong this year as they carried 4A title-game opponents Natrona and Gillette; 3A winner Powell; and 2A runner-up Lovell along with talent-heavy Big Horn.
“It was real tough, with the numbers that they have restricted, having Gillette and Natrona play for the 4A title in the North as well as Sheridan being in the semis; we had a lot of real talented football players up here this year,” McGuire said. “We had to leave out a couple other kids that are more than capable of playing in the game.”
Out of the 36 players on the North, Natrona garnered the most selections with five, Campbell County had four and Sheridan, Powell, Riverton and Big Horn each had three. Players must be seniors.
Among that talent is a plethora of running backs. Ben Mancuso (Burlington), Dino Collins (Lovell), Andrew Linsemann (Jackson), Josh Flanigan (Natrona) and Tyler Rogers (Buffalo) all finished in the top 10 in major statistical categories for running backs in 2012. Rogers, with 990 yards, was the only player out of that group who didn’t surpass 1,000 rushing yards on the season.
That class is joined by All-State runners Kane and O’Dell.
For McGuire, it’s his second go-round as head coach. He led the North to a 16-10 win in 1998 while he was the head coach at Riverside.
“We’re going to go down there and try to win,” he said, admitting those strengths at running back along with confidence on in his o-line and front seven on defense.
“For some of them, it’s the last game they play and there are some who are going on to play at the next level. There’s a lot of pride for North and South kids representing their teams, we’re going down there and do everything we can to win the ballgame.”
Players report June 1 and have a week with their teams to prepare before a Saturday, June 8 game at Natrona.
Bronc quarterback Kevin Bakkehaug and Rams lineman Preston Davenport are among the list of 12 alternates.