ND Shrine Bowl Builds a Brotherhood

Student-athletes from rival schools join one team for 45th annual Shrine Bowl

MAYVILLE, N.D. — Getting ready for the 45th annual Shrine Bowl wasn’t all fun and games. Taking student-athletes from rival schools and building one team meant they’d be sharing a field with some old enemies.

“Zach Murphy from Grand Forks Central,” Jamon Howard, the former Fargo South Bruin said of his biggest rivals. “When we played at their place we got into a really big argument after the game, we were yelling at each other.”

Howard’s teammates had a few enemies of their own.

“Some of the guys I didn’t like playing against just because they had big ego a lot of energy,” Tanner DuBois, another South graduate added.

“Some of the Grand Forks kids, they’re kind of big talkers on the field,” Charles Bennington of Fargo South said.

Former Oak Grove Grover Ben Hoggarth is now sharing the field with one of his former foes as well.

“Me and Clayton Grueneich used to butt heads in Region 1 all the time,” Hoggarth added.

“Probably some of those Cavalier guys,” Thompson graduate Cole Sorby explained. “We had some good run ins in high school and you didn’t really take a liking to them too much.”

But now these athletes are coming together as one thanks to some good, ole competition.

“We’re all here for the same reason to just go beat the West, so we kind of found some common ground a little bit,” DuBois said.

In fact that common ground has surfaced a new rivalry between the East and West teams.

“There has definitely been some shade thrown,” Bennington joked. “Last night we had pizza delivered and I think the entire East side took all the pizza before the West knew it was down there, so they might’ve went hungry last night we’re not sure.”

“There’s been a little talking and stuff because I think two days ago we had a little competition, tug rope,” DuBois said. “West won that one, so there was a little beef during that.”

But there are two things all 132 participating in the Shrine Bowl can agree on. The first…

“To wear my high school equipment again in a way or the high school logo it’s kinda my last hooray,”Howard said. “It’s my last way to give thanks back to my high school.”

“It’s pretty surreal,” DuBois added. “From going to the end of the football season last fall and that being it for my high school career, it’s nice to have one last week. Good closure I think before we all go to college.”

And the second…

“I am so honored to be recognized and it’s great to be playing with the best of the best,” Howard said about playing in the Shrine Bowl. “To actually be playing on the field with some of the guys we talk about like ‘that guy is super good on that team,’ but now to be like ‘oh he’s on my team now and I get to play with him,’ that’s pretty cool.”

“It’s an honor,” DuBois agreed. “Growing up I could never have imagined being in this. It’s just awesome to be with all these guys because I know all these guys are great athletes and to be a part of that group is super special to me.”

For Cole Sorby, playing in this game has been a dream of his since that start of his high school career.

“This has been one of my goals personally to get to this game since freshman year in high school, so to get here, all the work that’s been put in for it, to get to play with all these guys, all the great talent that’s going to be out here Saturday it’s an honor,” Sorby said.

And as for those old foes…

“Some of the people that I’ve been playing against for four years have become some of my closest friends throughout this week and I’ve made some friendships that will probably last a lifetime even,” Howard said. “Like hitting them in a game and now blocking for them or giving them a high five when they make a good play, it’s a little weird but it feels good.”

“Going against these guys, some of them four or eight years, it’s definitely been a change to be on their team, but it’s been really fun to get to know them,” Bennington added. “Now they’re not rivals, they’re friends and teammates so that’s a really cool thing.”

The Shrine Bowl will played on Saturday at Shanley High School. The 11-man game is at 4:00 p.m. The nine-man showdown, at 7:00 p.m.

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