Shrine Bowl South team playing to ‘serve others,’ beat North

Local4 News at 10
Published: May. 31, 2023 at 10:42 PM CDT
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KEARNEY, Neb. (KSNB) - The 65th Nebraska Shrine Bowl will kick off at UNK’s Ron & Carol Cope Stadium Saturday at 6:00 p.m. Both the North and South teams are preparing both on and off the field all week in Kearney.

Players have said they’re beginning to understand the importance of the Shrine Bowl beyond football.

“Figuring out all of the situations of these kids and what their day-to-day life is like has been really cool,” St. Cecilia’s Carson Kudlacek said. “South team needs to get a win.”

For the South, Emberlyn Hemmer of Lincoln is the honorary captain. Her legs stop at her upper thighs because of Caudal Regression Syndrome.

“It would be really cool to get Emberlyn a win, who is our co-captain,” Kudlacek said. “Giving her the confidence to say that, man, her team won the Shrine Bowl would be really cool.”

“Learning that a lot of life is serving others,” York’s Dalton Snodgrass said. “The whole purpose of the game is to serve others. We’re here, we’re serving Emberlyn. We’re trying to get a win for her.”

While the Shriners organization is the root cause of the Shrine Bowl, it also allows the best high school seniors across the state to play one last high school football game. For some, it will be the last time they ever strap on the pads.

“This is going to be my last football game ever in my career, too, so this is just an unreal experience to come out here and play one last time with a bunch of great dudes,” Central City’s Ashton Gragg said. “All these dudes are great players and great people, so it’s a really fun week to hang out with these guys.”