Release #2-June 4, 2007
Football coaches will tell you that games are usually won and lost by the guys up front, the massive linesman who are called upon to move other massive linemen out of the way.
It's no wonder, then, that Kansas Shrine Bowl East head coach Blake Pierce of Topeka Seaman is already feeling good about his squad, even though the team is nearly seven weeks away from its first practice.
"I've had a chance to meet with some of our players," he says, "and I am very impressed with the size of the linemen. I think we'll have a great offensive line to build around."
Not only does the East squad list several players in the 260-pound-plus category, Pierce will have the added bonus of having one of the biggest come from his own Seaman team that finished 8-3 with a 5A playoff berth in 2006. Seaman's Max Adame (6'4", 330) anchored the Viking's offensive line, and is expected to provide Pierce with someone on the field who understands what the coach is trying to accomplish. "It's important to have players that understand what you want to do, and communicate that to other players," says Pierce. "Max is good at that."
In addition to Adame, Pierce will have several other big linemen to choose from when rounding out both his offense and defense. They included Chris Luker, Holton, (6'3", 320) a second-team All-
State selection by the Topeka Capital Journal; Jeremy Kush, Louisburg (6'2", 295); Skyler Suther, Rock Creek (6'3", 260); and Kaleb Drinkgem, Marysville (6'7", 260).
"I've already talked to Coach (Mike) Dumpert (Paola), who will coach our offensive line," says Pierce. "We're both excited about the possibilities for what this group might be able to do."
In addition to Dumpert, Pierce will have the services of several other Kansas High School coaches as assistants. They include Todd Dain (Olathe Northwest), Allen Terrell (Turner), Matt Garber, (Sabetha), and Damon Leiss (Lyndon). All except Pierce and Dain will be coaching in the Shrine Bowl for the first time. Pierce was an assistant coach in 2006, and Dain was an assistant coach in 2002, when he was coach at Shawnee Mission East.
What's the toughest thing about organizing a group of great players who have never played together into a cohesive team in only a week? Pierce says it will be tough to know the players without seeing them actually play. "We'll have to get them organized into offense and defense, then go from there," he says. But he's excited about the enthusiasm shown by the coaches and players already. "Several of the coaches called me right after they were selected," he says. "They wanted to know where they will fit in, and are ready to do whatever is necessary to win."
Proceeds from the events support the Shriner’s Hospitals for Children, a network of 22 hospitals that provide expert, no-cost orthopedic and burn care to children under 18. Children are admitted totally free to Shriners Hospitals for Children without regard for race, religion, nationality, creed, or relationship to a Shriner.
The 2007 Kansas Shrine Bowl will be the most family-friendly ever, with several events taking place during the day. Planned events include a 5K Run for Charity, a day-long Arts and Crafts Fair, a Kid's Fair, the annual Kansas Shrine Bowl Parade, a high school football combine, and a Charity Poker Run that will include cash and prizes.
Advance reserved chairback tickets for the all-star game are $20.00 in advance, $21.00 on game night. Adult general admission tickets are $9.00 in advance, $10.00 on game night. Student tickets (K-12) are $5.00 in advance, $6.00 on game night. Banquet tickets are $20.00, and must be purchased in
advance. Additional information and tickets can be purchased through the Shrine Bowl office by calling 1-800-530-5524.