Shrine Bowl coaches and players form new relationships during week long camp

Each year some of the best high school football players meet on the gridiron for one final bout in the Shrine Bowl.

"It’s definitely special," said West player, Taylon Peters said. "You’re handpicked from a big group of guys. It kind of raises your pride and makes you think more highly of yourself because you got selected in an all-star game but you got to stay humble about it."

Each team has approximately one week to learn a playbook and develop chemistry with new teammates in a secluded setting, where the team sticks to a tight schedule.

"Well you make sure the whole week is about football," said West Head Coach Tyson Bauerle. "Pretty much all we’re doing anyway is football and eat in between and more football." 

After a long day of practice and film, the players have a small slice of free time which they use to socialize and sometimes find other ways to compete.

"Lately here we’ve just been playing basketball," said Travis Theis. "We got like Caleb Grill and Trey can’t remember his last name. Phillipsburg kid. Trey Sides. They’re both going to play big time ball." 

And as you might imagine, there’s plenty of trash talk.

"I beat Caleb Grill in basketball and he’s going to Iowa State so I guess I’m better than him," Valley Center product Larry Wilson said with a laugh. 

The relationships don’t stop with the participants. Coaches find themselves taking advantage of the extra time spent around the game they love.

"Not that we have any down time but we’re always talking ball and what we do and what works for your program and what works for our program and things like that," Bauerle said. "It’s a huge benefit. It’s like a clinic every day."

"There’s a couple of coaches on staff that we have on our schedule next year so it’s kind of fun to get to know these guys," said West assistant coach Jamie Cruce. "Some of them I knew before but a lot of them I didn’t. It’s a really neat experience. It’s something these kids and coaches will remember."