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CASPER — The rosters are set, and the 2014 Shrine Bowl is set to kick off on Saturday at Natrona County High School.
Every year the Wyoming Shrine Bowl pits the top senior high school football players from all around the state against each other in a battle between north and south. This year will mark the 41st time the game has been played.
The 36-man rosters were selected back in February, to go along with 12 alternates and the six-man coaching staff.
After outstanding seasons by both Big Horn and Sheridan, the Rams and Broncs are sending four seniors to Casper to play for the north squad. Running back Colter Carzoli is the lone player from the 2A State Champion Rams, while offensive lineman Justin Orum, running back Daniel Sessions, and utility Nick Gill will represent Sheridan High School.
“It’s a great honor to be selected,” Orum said. “Having Daniel and Nick here is awesome because we worked together and pushed each other to get to where we are.”
Big Horn head coach Mike McGuire, who was selected as the North head coach last year, is an assistant on this year’s team.
“It’s a little more laid back,” McGuire said of his role on this year’s team. “There is less paperwork as far as planning for practices, but once we are on the practice field, things are pretty much the same.”
The teams arrived in Casper on Monday, where they began a long week of practices and scrimmages.
“The first thing the coaches told us was that it’s not about the individual players,” Orum said of his new team. “It’s who becomes a team who is going to win, so we’ve gone bowling and played putt-putt to get to know our teammates. It’s all about communicating and knowing each other.”
Last year, the North put together a dominating performance in a 34-6 victory. McGuire hopes to replicate that this year.
“We had a pretty special defense last year,” McGuire said. “We will probably do some similar things, but we have different coaches and different players, obviously. We have to try and make things fit our personnel.”
The players will partake in the Shriner’s parade Saturday morning in downtown Casper before the North looks to follow up last year’s victory with another win against tough competition on Saturday night.
“This is the best of the best,” Orum said. “It’s a whole new level. It’s exciting to see this kind of competition.”
Kickoff for the 2014 Shrine Bowl is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Natrona County High School.