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February 11, 2014

Shrine Bowl extends deal to stay in Kearney



The Nebraska Shrine Bowl announced their rosters on Tuesday for their 56th annual game in Kearney set for June 7 at 2 pm.

However, maybe the biggest news on Tuesday was that the Nebraska Shrine Bowl has extended their deal with the city of Kearney to continue the game at the University of Nebraska-Kearney's Cope Stadium through the year 2019.

Other than one year when the game was in Omaha, the Nebraska Shrine Bowl played 53 of its first 54 games in Lincoln. 2013 was the first time the game had ever been played in Kearney. An NCAA rule that prohibits high school all-star games from being played in Division I stadiums is what moved the game out of Memorial Stadium last year.

"I think it's very possible (Kearney) is our long term home," Shrine Bowl Executive Director David MacDonald said on Tuesday. "We kind of hope that it is and we see no reason why it wouldn't be.

"The support that they've given us so far and the support that they've promised us over the next five years we just don't see any reason why we'd move it, but we only go five years out, but we believe that Kearney is going to be our permanent home."

MacDonald said the Shrine Bowl has also signed deal with local hotels in Kearney, but the two training camps will continue to be held at Nebraska Wesleyan College in Lincoln and Doane College in Crete before the teams depart to Kearney on Friday. It is important that the camps remain in Lincoln so that both teams can continue to make Shrine Hospital visits in Chicago and St. Louis.

What impressed the Shrine Bowl probably more than anything last year about Kearney was even though temperatures where in the 50's and winds above 25 mph, a capacity crowd of over 6,100 still came out to watch the game. In the 2012, despite near perfect weather conditions, the Shrine Bowl in Memorial Stadium drew a crowd of just 4,000.

"Everybody liked the smaller crowd atmosphere because it made it feel like a bigger game," MacDonald said. "The crowd really got involved."

Highlighting this year's Shrine Bowl roster will be Millard West and Stanford defensive line recruit Harrison Phillips. Both Husker recruits D.J. Foster and Luke Gifford of Lincoln Southeast declined their Shrine Bowl invites on the request of Nebraska and the risk of possible injuries. Gretna's Mick Stoltenberg, who's also a Husker recruit, is still recovering from a season ending knee injury.

In all, four future Nebraska walk-ons will play in the game. Omaha Gross defensive tackle Noah Arneson, Cozad linebacker Alex Boryca and Lincoln East wide receiver Bryan Reimers are on the South team, while Wahoo Bishop Nuemann tight end Nate Meduna is on the North squad. Future NU baseball recruit Jakson Reetz has also committed to play on the South squad.

As for FCS scholarship recruits, Omaha Burke's Trey Carr (South Dakota State), Ralston's Isaac Wallace (South Dakota State) and Omaha Gross's Anthony Vigneri (South Dakota) are on the South team.

Meanwhile Lincoln Northeast's Makiah Slade (South Dakota State), Papillion La Vista's Jalen Allison (North Dakota State) and Creighton Prep's Easton Stick and R.J. Urzendowski (Both North Dakota State) are the FCS scholarship recruits that make up the North roster.

Both South coach Jason Hale of Holdrege and North coach Arnie Johnson of Boone Central were both in attendance at Tuesday's press conference, along with 23 of the players who have committed to play in this year's game.



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