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PHS athletes humbled by Shrine Bowl

Powell High School graduate TJ Abraham (brown) defends a South player on a pass play during Saturday’s 44th annual Shrine Bowl in Casper. Powell High School graduate TJ Abraham (brown) defends a South player on a pass play during Saturday’s 44th annual Shrine Bowl in Casper. Tribune photos by Breanne Thiel

Visit to Shiriners Hospital made a lasting impression

The Shrine Bowl is technically a football game comprised of high school seniors from all classes in Wyoming split into North and South teams. But it’s also about more than just football.

On Saturday, three recent Powell High School graduates — Mason Olsen, TJ Abraham and Zach Easum — helped the North team to a 49-7 win in the 44th annual Shrine Bowl.

Both the North and the South teams had 36 players and 12 alternates. The players spent the week prior to the game not only preparing and playing together, but also visiting the Shriners Hospital for Children in Salt Lake City, Utah.

“It was very humbling, just to look at them,” Olsen said of the trip. “And they look up to us, but you know what? I look up to them. They are going through way more than I am and that’s just eye-opening to see how blessed we really are.”

Abraham said the children that the players visited “were just some amazing, amazing individuals.”

“Some of them have ailments that I could never imagine, yet they go out there and play the same sport as us and it’s just — they are truly heroes to me and it was an amazing, eye-opening experience to see each and every one of them,” he said.

Easum agreed with Olsen and Abraham.

“They definitely inspired me, ‘cause they want to be like us, but I want to be like them and be happy in whatever situation I’m in,” Easum said. “I’m truly blessed and I am inspired by those Shriners.”

The Shrine Bowl game on Saturday concluded a week’s worth activities, with all the proceeds donated to the Shriners Hospital for Children.

Some of the activities included a 5K run/walk, bowling, a casino night, a Kiwanis pancake breakfast, a banquet and a parade.

As far as the football game itself, it was the North’s fifth straight win over the south.

“I think this week’s hard work paid off and we definitely had a good time,” Abraham said. “It was tough, I mean, it was a tough week, but the game was fun. It was a blast to play together, play with these two [Olsen and Easum] again and [with] some amazing athletes out there.”

Abraham had four assisted tackles, three unassisted, and broke up one pass.

“Getting to play with this team and winning, it was an experience I’ll never forget,” said Easum. “The brothers we made in six days is something that is unheard of around the state so it’s a blessing.”

Easum had two quarterback sacks and one assisted tackle. Olsen had one assisted tackle, two unassisted tackles and one pass break-up.

“Coming out here, it’s just about the kids at Shriners and that’s what we are here for and representing North football,” Olsen said. “And I think we took care of business.”

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