Locals cherish week at Shrine Bowl

CASPER – The final result of Saturday’s 49th annual Shrine Bowl was one the members of the South squad would like to forget, but the week as a whole was unforgettable for three Torrington High School graduates.

In the end, it was a 37-3 loss for Beau Bivens, Chase Miller and Deagan Keith and the rest of the South team led by former THS coach Mark Lenhardt, but one would never have known it with the smile on the trios faces after the final horn sounded on the game.

For the three Blazers, it was about making new friends, making memories and having fun.

“It’s the place where everyone wants to get to and finish it off at,” Bivens said. “If you’re a Wyoming boy, you grow up hearing about the Shrine Bowl, and you work all of your years to be here and experience it.”

It was also about putting aside old rivalries.

“It was awkward at first,” Miller said. “There was some tension because of things that were said, but two days in, you’re best of friends.”

“You spend all those years hating them and seeing them through the facemask and going to hit them,” Bivens added. “Now, they are hitting for you or hitting with you. Honestly, everyone we’ve had a rivalry with, we’ve made good and are good friends now. It’s a family and a brotherhood.”

All three had their moment in the spotlight on Saturday in front of a nearly full house at Cheney Alumni Field on the campus of Natrona County High School.

Miller scored the team’s only points with a 25-yard field goal with 1:44 left in the third quarter.

“I wasn’t out there much. When I was out there, I was super excited to have my one chance to not keep that zero on the scoreboard,” Miller said. “I wasn’t going to leave that out there.”

Keith made a first-down saving tackle late in the second quarter to force the North team to punt.

“It didn’t turn out the greatest, but it was the brotherhood,” Keith said.

He added it wasn’t about the final result.

“It was just about the experience for me. The game was just a blur,” Keith said. “All the hours you put in while you were here is what really mattered.”

Meanwhile, Bivens was 7-of-17 passing for 67 yards which was a team-high in both completions and yards.

The three enjoyed the getting to be out on the football field one more time together despite one being offense, one on defense and one on special teams.

“I love them. They’ve pushed me to my limits, and I pushed them to their limits,” Keith said. “They deserve them to be out here and play. Beau threw some nice balls, and Chase had the only points. Honestly, it couldn’t have been any better.”

However, leading up to the game, the trio made an inspirational trip to Salt Lake City, Utah to the Shriner’s Hospital which will leave a lasting impression.

“It taught myself and my teammates, you’ve got to rock what God gives us. He’s not going to give you the same opportunities and chances, but whatever chances He does give you, you have to rock it and love it,” Bivens said. “None of those kids we meet, none of the parents we meet, complained. They were all looking into the bright future. They could have had a million things to complain about, they didn’t complain about one.”

“Meeting and talking to those kids was the greatest thing ever. It humbles you and makes you grateful for what you do have,” Miller added. “Hanging out with the team and the bond was awesome. It is like a second family.”

For Keith, it was an experience he wishes everyone could have.

“From the start to the end, the experience of meeting all these people to start the week and taking the long bus ride to Salt Lake City, visiting the hospital was eye opening,” he said. “I wish everyone could see it. I’m so fortunate to have the opportunity to go visit the kids to give them hope and to make sure they know we are their heroes and they are our heroes.”

Now, Bivens, Miller and Keith will all turn their attention to college where all three will continue their education and athletic careers at the next level. Bivens has signed to play quarterback at the University of Nebraska-Kearney, while Miller is off to kick for Dickinson State. Meanwhile, Keith is bound for Sterling, Colorado to play soccer at Northeastern Junior College.


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