Two Powell High School graduates — Max Gallagher and Brooks Asher — will represent the Panthers in Saturday’s 45th annual Wyoming Shrine Bowl. Kickoff is set for 2 p.m. at Casper’s Natrona County High School.
Coaching staff for the North and South picked players to represent the teams from nominations from the head coaches from each high school.
This game is for seniors only and all classes, including 6-man, must have representation.
Gallagher and Asher will play for the North team, which has won the last five games and is 8-1-1 in the last 10 years.
Former Panther head coach Chanler Buck said Gallagher and Asher are “very deserving” of the honor, and will represent their school and community well.
“We were able to get two kids on the roster this year, and that’s always exciting,” Buck said. “Especially for the seniors, who get one last shot at it. I know they kind of look at it that way, but I think what they’ll find is there’s a lot more to it than just a football game.”
Gallagher, an All-State selection as a defensive lineman for the Panthers last season, will likely see action on both sides of the ball for the North squad. Gallagher has signed to play for Chadron State next season. Asher, also an All-State selection, will be used primarily on defense at linebacker. Buck said both are “high-quality kids,” whose leadership will be missed when the Panthers take the field in the fall.
“They both have good values, and were great leaders in that particular class,” Buck explained. “They’ve had a lot of growth and maturity, both physically and mentally over the last few years, and it’s great they have this opportunity to go out there and participate in the Shrine.”
While Gallagher’s playing days will continue next season, for Asher, the Shrine Bowl represents the culmination of his football career. Buck said he’s excited for his young player to not only take the field a final time, but to discover the deeper meaning associated with the event.
“I think this experience is particularly special to Brooks [Asher],” he said. “Knowing as much as he loves the game and the kind of person he is, I know that he’ll truly benefit and get a lot out of the game, as well as their Shriners Hospital visit. I’m pretty excited for him to be able to experience that.”
For Asher, the Shrine Bowl represents a chance for one more game with guys he’s played with and against since he was little.
“I’m really excited to go play football one more time; I feel really honored to go,” Asher said. “I think it’s going to be fun. I’m looking forward to making a bunch of memories with a bunch of friends and kids I used to play football with in high school. And I’ve known Max [Gallagher] since seventh-grade football, when we started, so that will be great.”
The Wyoming Shrine Bowl was started in 1973 by two Wyoming coaches: Jerry Overton of Kelly Walsh High School and Denny Brown of Byron High School.
Since the first game in 1974, the Wyoming Shrine Bowl has raised more than $450,000 for Shriners Hospital for Children in Salt Lake City, Utah, according to the event’s website.
“There’s a long list of pretty special people who have had that privilege [of playing in the Shrine Bowl], and I think they [Gallagher and Asher] are pretty honored to be a part of that,” Buck said.
The North team is comprised of players from Buffalo, Burlington, Cody, Dubois, Greybull, Kaycee, Kelly Walsh, Lovell, Moorcroft, Natrona County, Newcastle, Powell, Riverton, Rocky Mountain, Sheridan, Thermopolis, Thunder Basin, Worland and Wright.
The head coach for the 2018 North team is Marty Wrage from Greybull. Greybull assistant coach Jeff Hunt is also on the North staff, along with Steve Harshman from Natrona, Matt McFadden from Cody, Larry Yeradi from Wright and Boz Backen from Hulett.