by nathan oster
Recent Greybull High School graduate Calder Forcella and his teammates from the North put up 34 first-half points en route to a 40-14 win over the South in the annual Shrine Bowl played Saturday in Casper.
Forcella, who played quarterback, scored a touchdown on an 8-yard run in the third quarter. He finished with 3 yards on five attempts. Through the air, he completed 6 of 13 passes for 66 yards. One of his hookups, a 12-yard pass to Carter Baxter of Powell, also went for a score.
It was the North’s sixth win over the South in the past eight years.
Forcella, who will attend school and play football at Chadron State in the fall, called his final prep football experience “a blast,” saying it didn’t take long for team members to bond after they all arrived in Casper for the start of practices on June 6.
The team practiced that night before beginning its trek to the Shriner’s Hospital in Salt Lake City. The trip is part of every player’s Shrine Bowl experience. Forcella called it “eye opening” and “humbling.” After that, it was four days of two-a-day practices, all in preparation for Saturday’s game. Friday night, the players and their families were honored at a banquet.
When taken as a whole, it was an experience Forcella won’t soon forget. He doubted the people who told him when he arrived in Casper that the game was the last thing he’d remember. By week’s end, he understood what they ment.
“The friendships made, that was the best part,” he said.
The North’s other quarterback, Brandon Fullerton of Riverton, will be the kid he rooms with at Chadron State. They’ll be on the football team together, too. In all, five future Chadron Eagles suited up in the Shrine Bowl.
Forcella was recruited to play linebacker — and will do that, willingly, if that’s what is best for the team. But he admits that part of him still hopes to be given a shot to play quarterback for the Eagles. “I feel like I could do it, but it’s not by decision,” he said. “So if it happens, great. If not, I’ll go along with whatever helps the team win.”
Calder is the son of Joe and Lynn Forcella of Greybull.