After the coronavirus pandemic forced the cancellation of last year's North/South Shrine Bowl, the 47th meeting between players from around the state is a full-go. The 2021 version of the gridiron event is set for a 2 p.m. kickoff Saturday at Natrona County's Cheney Alumni Field.
With a big assist from wyoming-football.com (and former Star-Tribune prep sports editor Patrick Schmiedt), here's a closer look at some facts and figures ahead of Saturday's game.
- The North has won seven consecutive games and leads the all-time series 25-18-3. The last victory for the South was a 56-33 defeat in 2012.
- Even though last year's game was canceled, rosters and coaches for both teams had already been selected. As a result, both Natrona County and Sheridan have had at least one player selected for the North squad for all 48 Shrine Bowls. Carrying on the tradition this year for the Mustangs are Braxton Bundy, Brady Dutcher and Jace George. For the Broncs, Quinton Mangus, Kyle Meinecke and Justin Vela are keeping the streak alive.
Overall, Natrona County has had 177 players selected for the game while Sheridan has had 139. Gillette is third with 132. Encampment and St. Stephens are the only current programs to never have a player selected.
- North head coach Matt McFadden (Cody) and South head coach Brent Walk (Mountain View) are facing off for the second time, with McFadden's North squad defeating Walk's South team 40-14 in 2015. This marks the first time in Shrine Bowl history the same two coaches have squared off against each other.
McFadden is the third Cody head coach to lead the North, following John McDouglas (1977, '85, '92) and Cris Williams (2009).
Walk is also the third Mountain View coach to be the lead man for the South. Previously, Don Dinnel (1996, 2003) and Tim Gonzalez (2007) guided the South.
- John Scott (Kemmerer, 1995; Gillette 2001, Tongue River, 2017) is the only coach to be a Shrine Bowl coach while representing three different schools. Michael McGuire (Riverside, 2008; Big Horn, 2013) went 2-0 in his coaching appearances with two different schools.
- Cheyenne Central and Powell have had the most head coaches with four. Central had Milt Riske (1976), Jim McLeod (1980), Lew Roney (1991) and Brick Cegelski (2006). Powell had Ken Boatright (1979, Jeff Felton (1988), Jim Stringer (2007, '12) and Aaron Papich (2020), although Papich never got the chance to coach in the game.
Laramie has also had four head coaching appearances, but those have come from just two coaches: John Deti Sr. (1974, '77) and his son, John Deti Jr. (1988, '92).
- The South won the first Shrine Bowl game, 37-0 in 1974. The North rebounded to win its first game 21-16 the following year.
- There have been three ties in the series -- 1977 (6-6). 1992 (20-20) and in 2009 (3-3 in a game halted by lightning).