by nathan oster
Big Horn County will be well represented at the 43rd annual Wyoming Shrine Bowl, with athletes from three different county high schools suiting up for the North squad.
Marty Wrage, head coach of the Greybull Buffs, is an assistant coach on the North team.
Initially Wrage was one of three candidates nominated for the head coaching position. In the end, that went to Jon Vance of Kelly Walsh. The next day, Vance reached out to Wrage and the other finalist, Shoshoni’s Tony Truempler, to offer them positions on his staff.
“It’s a great honor,” said Wrage, who guided the Buffs to the 2A semifinals last season.
Wrage will work with the linebackers and help coordinate the offense for the North.
He’ll have some former pupils on his roster, as Jordan Jackson and Lane Nielsen of Greybull were picked to play for the North. Also selected were Lovell’s Beau Green and Riverside’s Ethan Sherburne.
Nielsen is expected to play on the defensive line, likely at tackle. “It’s a position he knows well,” said Wrage. “We want to be able to turn him loose, to let him get upfield and do what he does so well.”
Plans for the versatile Jackson are a little less concrete, Wrage said. He could play some linebacker or defensive end — or he could play on the offensive side of the ball, either at end or off the line, like he did at GHS. “We’ll be experimenting with him,” said Wrage.
Sherburne, a standout at Riverside High School, is definitely going to be an asset on defense, Wrage said, suggesting that he could play some linebacker. Green excelled as a quarterback at Lovell, but with Collin Powers of Big Horn and Dalton Holste of Gillette on the roster, he will likely be plugged in as a safety on defense, a position he also knows well.
The Shrine Bowl football game will be played Saturday, June 11 at Natrona County High School Stadium in Casper. The week is about far more than just football, however, as players and coaches will again make their trek to the Shriner’s Hospital in Salt Lake City.
“I’m excited to be going and it’s important for the kids, too, to see what this is about,” said Wrage. “It’s not just the game. This experience will open their eyes. We’re going to be trying to raise some money, too. More than $35,000 was generated last year. We want to beat that this year.”