LINGLE – Lingle-Fort Laramie head football coach Matt Cornelius has never even been to a Wyoming Shrine Bowl game.
That will soon change.
On Saturday, June 1, the Dogger coach leaves for Casper to join the South’s squad coaching staff for the 46th annual All-Star football game for recently graduated seniors.
All five of the state’s football classifications have representatives on the coaching staff, and Cornelius will represent the 6-man class this summer on the South’s team.
“I was lucky enough to be selected to represent the 6-man division at this year’s Shrine Bowl,” he said.
Cornelius will join former Torrington High School head coach Mark Lenhardt on the sidelines, coaching the offense. The South squad will be led by head coach Aaron Malklky of Big Piney.
“Coach Lenhardt is the best of the best, and I’m very excited to work with him,” Cornelius said. “I’ve been friends with him for years, but it’s going to be a really fun time to work with him in a professional capacity. It’ll be fun to pick his brain about some of the ends and outs of the game. He is a master.”
And as far as adjusting to 11-man football versus 6-man, he feels football is football.
“I don’t have a lot of coaching experience with the offensive and defensive lines because 6-man really does not lend itself to that type of play,” Cornelius said. “On other hand, with the skill positions, football is football. It’s going to be great to see things from the offensive and defensive lineman coaching perspective while I’m getting ready for the nine-man season which we will be in for the 2020-21 season.”
Practice for the Shrine Bowl begins on Tuesday after the teams return from a trip to the Salt Lake City, Utah Shriners Hospital.
“From what I understand, that is the absolute highlight of the entire week,” Cornelius said.
Even though Cornelius will spend a week away from his team, leaving assistant coach Brandon Gifford in charge of summer camps and drills, he feels the knowledge that he will gain will benefit the Dogger program.
“Although I won’t get to spend as much time as I wanted to with our kids in Lingle, the opportunity, I feel, will help our program in so many ways for me to have the exposure with, not only the amazing coaches from around the state, but with the amazing players,” Cornelius said. “I’m going to bring back a plethora of experience.”
Four area players to
participate in game
In addition to the two area coaches, four Torrington High School players will don on the football pads another time. Lineman Brandon Bennick, Josh Kingsley and Scotty Woodruff, along with quarterback Casey Britton will team up one last time at Dick Chaney Memorial Field on the campus of Natrona County High School in Casper.
The North team is 9-1-1 in the last 11 Shrine Bowl games, including winners of the last six. The North leads the all-time series 24-18-3.