Wyoming’s best high school football players square off at the Shrine Bowl

Updated: Jun. 12, 2021 at 11:52 PM CDT
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CASPER, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - As Wyoming’s best basketball players headed up to Billings to face the Montana All-Stars after playing them in Sheridan on Friday, the top football players met in Casper. Teams are split up by North and South for the Wyoming Shrine Bowl and features graduated seniors putting on the pads representing their high schools one last time.

This year’s game was held at Dick Cheney Alumni Field at Natrona County High School.

The game was held under a blistering sun with cold towels and umbrellas being a favorite accessory amongst fans and players to try and beat the heat. Senator John Barrasso was on hand for the affair, and he seemed to be trying to beat the heat by enjoying an icy treat.

As far as the action on the field, it was blazing, too. Cody’s Caleb Pryor was able to find Thunder Basin’s Dyse Shepherd on a pair of touchdown passes to stake the North squad with an early 14-0 lead.

The South’s offense led by Cheyenne East’s Graedyn Buell could not seem to find their footing early, but an East to East connection from Buell to wide receiver Jake Rayl brought the score to 14-7 with under a minute left in the first half.

Coming out of the halftime, Jaxon Pikula from Thunder Basin was able to rumble in for a score to push the North’s lead to 20-7.

The South was able to use its momentum from the end of the first half to get the offense going, and a wild shotgun snap enabled Julian Vigil from East to fall on the ball in the end zone for a touchdown for the South. A successful 2-point conversion gave the South a two-point edge.

Another touchdown connection between Rayl and Buell and a diving interception by Brant Nelson from Star Valley looked Iike it would seal the deal, but Caleb Pryor wasn’t about to give up.

Pryor engineered a 99-yard touchdown drive capped off by a 26-yard catch and run once again to Shepherd that pulled the North within a 2-point conversion of tying the game with 49 ticks left on the clock.

The pitch to Natrona County’s Braxton Bundy was stuffed before it ever got started, and the South was able to prevail. It is the South’s first victory since 2012.

“Obviously, some things went our way,” said South Head Coach Brent Walk in a postgame interview. “A lot of things didn’t go our way, but what I was really impressed with these kids is they just didn’t stop fighting the entire time.”

Graedyn Buell added another trophy to his collection with the game’s offensive MVP honors. He set a Shrine Bowl record with 310 yards passing.

“It is so awesome to be able to come out here, compete our butts off, work incredibly hard all week and come out on top in the end, I mean it doesn’t get any better than this in my opinion,” said Buell on the field after the game.

Cody’s Nic Talich was rewarded with the defensive MVP for the game.

The game did raise money for charity with all proceeds headed to Shriners Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake.

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