North squeaks out win

CASPER – At the 45th annual Shrine Bowl, the North squad came back from a 7-0 deficit Saturday in Casper to snag a 13-7 win over the South, which had two Torrington graduates, to seal the North’s sixth win in a row.

“Win or lose, it’s still great to be playing,” Torrington graduate Jacob Wamboldt said of the game. “It’s not exactly the result we were looking for, but it’s fun to get out here and smack heads again.”

The South struck first on an 8-yard run in the first quarter by Star Valley’s Josh Dawson, with Torrington’s Jake Wamboldt helping lead the way on the offensive line. Fellow Blazer Nathan Stitt converted the extra point to put the South up 7-0, a lead the team carried into halftime.

“We were definitely happy with our start,” Stitt said. “We were happy with our defense at halftime not allowing them to score, we just weren’t able to stop their second-half run.”

The North scored on defense on an 83-yard interception return from Sheridan’s Aaron Sessions to knot the game at seven. Sessions was named defensive player of the game. Greybull’s Riley Hill, the game’s offensive player of the game, scored the go-ahead touchdown on a 1-yard run in the fourth. The extra point was missed, keeping the score at 13-7.

The South still had some life late in the game. A defensive stop with some time on the clock would have left the team with an opportunity for more points. The North would not allow the South offense to get its hands back on the ball, as a double-pass trick play turned into a first down for the North and allowed them to run out the clock.

Wamboldt was a stalwart in the trenches for the South. He was in and out on both the offensive and defensive lines for the team.

“Originally at the start of the week, I was just going to be all defense, but then we changed it up to where I would play some offense too,” Wamboldt said. “They tried to spread me around on O and D so I could help out where I could.”

Stitt spent time as a wide receiver for the South, recording two catches in the first half. He also was the team’s kicker and punter.

“I wasn’t sure if I was going to be the kicker or the punter, they just kind of came up and told me,” Stitt said. “I was planning on playing both sides of the ball, but come game time, those defensive players were playing well so they kept them in. That’s the luxury of having a team like this is whoever can perform gets to stay in.”

The Shrine Bowl was an all-star game for graduating seniors across the state. Rosters were put together based on a school’s location, so former rivals were now teammates for the week.

“During the game, I know it’s not just another game, but while you are playing it it is, aside from everything that it means and everything that it’s for,” Wamboldt said. “Outside of that, you’re just out there playing a game with brothers. Sure, they might be new guys, but any time you’re out there playing with guys on a field, they’re your brothers. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been together.”

This summer was the sixth-straight win for the North, putting them at 9-1-1 over the last 10 years. The North leads the all-time series 24-18-3.

The Shrine Bowl is an annual fundraiser for the Shriner’s Hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah. In addition to practicing all week for the game, the Shrine Bowl players, coaching staff and personnel made a trip to the hospital to visit the kids that the money raised would help support.

“This week was about more than the game,” Stitt said. “It was about going to see those kids and opening my eyes.”

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