The 2021 Iowa Shrine Bowl – a charity all-star game for high school football players – is on as planned. Cedar Falls has been home to the game since 2013, following a 13 year run at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames. Each year the game helps raise money for The Shriners Hospitals for Children and was first played in 1973. Since then, the yearly game has raised millions of dollars for the Shriner’s programs.
There are 46 graduating High School Seniors selected for each Squad by the coaching staff. The North and South’s division line is Highway 30 as it crosses the State, East to West, with the western extension from Denison to Onawa. All schools bordering Highway 30 have players on the South Squad, except for the Cedar Rapids schools, where the players are on the North Squad. The exception is Cedar Rapids Prairie, which represents the South Squad.
According to the Iowa Shrine Bowl website, Iowa High School coaches are requested to recommend a defensive and offensive player whom he feels will be a good representative of his school and community. The coach is asked to select not only good athletes but also academically successful and active in his school and community. The Iowa Football Coaches Association selects a head coach for each Squad, and that coach selects assistant coaches for their staff.
Recently, North Iowa has been well represented on Team North’s coaching staff. For the 2018 game, Andy Jacobson (Algona), Matt Finn (Osage), and Bill Shafer (Central Springs) were assistant coaches. In 2017, Clear Lake’s Jared DeVries was an assistant coach. Also – digging deep – Michael Dirksen from Newman Catholic coached the 2013 North squad, he was assisted by Forest City’s Chad Moore and Lake Mills’ Bill Byrnes.
With time remaining, four North Iowa athletes have been invited to play in the 2021 game. Cole Kelly of West Hancock, Caleb Bacon of Lake Mills, Carson Krefft of Clear Lake, and Caydon Christensen of Belmond-Klemme.
Bacon recently announced his commitment to Iowa State to play football next fall. Christensen and Krefft will be college teammates next fall at Concordia University, St. Paul, and both were standouts at their respective schools this past fall. Kelly will make it back-to-back Eagles selected for the game. Josef Smith was slated to play in the 2020 contest, which was called off due to COVID-19.
The South currently leads the all-time series 21-20-1 and has won seven of the last nine games, including the last two played in 2018 and 2019 – the North last won in 2017. The North has the longest streak in the series – 7- winning from 1991-1997. The game is slated to be played at the UNI-Dome in Cedar Falls on July 24, 2021.