Three local high school gridders have been selected to play in the 45th annual Shrine Bowl all-star football game. The game between the North and the South will be played on June 9 at Natrona County High School in Casper.
The three selected were Rocky Mountain High School seniors Tristan Jewell and Lathan May and Lovell High School senior Porter Nichols.
Jewell carried the ball 25 times for 204 yards and one touchdown last fall, averaging 8.2 yards per carry, and he caught 17 passes for 300 yards, averaging 17.6 yards per catch. He also completed seven of eight passes for 50 yards. On defense he led the Grizzlies with 165 defensive points, recording 50 assisted tackles, 38 solo tackles, five interceptions, two pass breakups and two fumble recoveries.
“It’s definitely a big honor,” Jewell said. “I’m thankful for the coaches that taught and pushed me through the four years. “My guess is I will be playing defense because I finished second in individual defense in
May was a playmaking wide receiver and cornerback for the Grizzlies, catching 16 passes for 358 yards and four touchdowns. He averaged 22.4 yards per catch. He also carried the ball five times for 38 yards on wide receiver sweeps, averaging 7.6 yards per carry. On special teams, he returned six punts for 133 yards, averaging 22.2 yards per return, which was tops in the state for Class 1A.
On defense, May intercepted four passes and recorded 32 tackles in the defensive backfield.
“It’s a pretty big deal,” May said. “It just shows all the hard work you put in. It’s neat to have Tristan (Jewell) in there because it’s nice to have someone that you have played with all four years and represent the school.”
May said he will probably be playing wide receiver in the game.
“It’s great to have two great guys representing our team and our school,” RMHS football head coach Richard Despain said. “They could both play either way. They’re both a threat on offense and a great weapon on defense.
“I’m excited to go down and see these young men play. It’s a great week they’ll never forget. Not just the football, but also the kids will meet the Shriners organization. They’ll have a great week.”
Nichols chewed up opponents all season as a speedy and powerful running back for the Bulldogs. He gained 1,314 yards on 205 carries, with 14 touchdowns. He averaged 6.4 yards per carry and 146 yards
per game, second in Class 2A. He also caught eight passes for 85 yards and two touchdowns and averaged 23.1 yards per kickoff return. As an outside linebacker he also led the team with 122 defensive points on 23 assisted tackles, 29 solo tackles, three tackles for a loss, two sacks, two pass breakups, two fumble recoveries, one interception and one blocked kick.
“I’m super excited,” Nichols said. “It’s been a goal I’ve been working on and I just feel honored. I’m super happy to suit up one more time. I love football so I’m excited for one more game.”
Nichols said he’ll probably be playing running back in the game.
“Porter is a great player,” former LHS head coach Doug Hazen said. “He was a team leader. He was a first-team all-state and all-conference selection. He was a captain for our team.
“Porter is a great pick for the Shrine Bowl. He’s going to be great. It’s going to be a great opportunity for him. He’ll get to be exposed to some things not everybody gets a chance to be exposed to.”
Other Big Horn County gridders that were selected to play in this year’s Shrine Bowl are Greybull High School seniors Riley Hill and Brayan Castro. Marty Wrage of Greybull has been selected as the head coach for the North team. Jeff Hunt of Greybull has also been selected to be an assistant coach for the team.
“The Big Horn Basin will be well represented,” Despain said.
By Sam Smith