CASPER – Kade VanDyken knew he wanted to end his career in style.
He just didn’t imagine how his final prep football game would unfold.
It may have been his best one.
The Big Horn standout caught a pair of touchdowns and broke a 34-year-old record as the North team defeated the South team 29-19 in the 46th Shrine Bowl at Cheney Alumni Field on the campus of Casper Natrona County High on a rainy Saturday afternoon.
“There’s no better way to draw it up,” VanDyken said with a smile. “That’s the best way I could possibly go out. Storybook ending.”
VanDyken ended the game with six catches for 138 yards, which broke Chuck Johnson’s record for most receiving yards in a game set in 1984.
“That surprised me,” the receiver said. “I didn’t expect that, but that was super cool to hear.”
The win was the seventh straight for the North squad, which owns a 25-18-3 all-time series record.
“You can’t lie that there’s not pressure,” said North head coach Rob Hammond, who also serves as the Buffalo head coach. “Pressure’s good, right? That’s why you want to coach because if you’re not coaching in pressure games, you’re not playing in big games.”
Looking to snap a six-year losing skid in this game, the South got an early jolt of confidence from its offense and, as a result, grabbed a lead. South needed 11 plays to strike first. Cokeville’s Bentley Johnson capped the scoring drive with a 3-yard touchdown pass to Glenrock’s Ian Arnold with 7 minutes, 17 seconds left in the first quarter. Cheyenne East’s Dakota Merritt, who booted the opening kickoff, was injured during the scoring drive, and South’s two-point attempt was no good.
“We knew what we had to do, and we wanted to score first and shut them down because I think they thought they were going to run the score up about 50,” said South’s Damon Taylor of Rawlins, whose 11 tackles earned him defensive player of the game. “We wanted to score first and punch them in the mouth a little bit.”
The South defense mirrored its offense early on, creating havoc for North quarterback Luke Glassock of Buffalo. Looking to generate any kind of offense late in the first quarter, Glassock was flushed out of the pocket three straight times. He was sacked by Kemmerer’s Hayden Walker on third-and-10, which forced a punt by the North team.
Glassock and Co. finally cracked South’s stingy defense in the opening minutes of the second quarter. Operating out of the shotgun, Glassock took the snap, tiptoed around a pair of defenders and pumped a 40-yard touchdown pass to a streaking VanDyken to briefly tie the game and put the North team on the board. A botched snap on the extra-point attempt turned into a 2-yard pass from Buffalo’s Aaron Thiele to Jackson’s Keegan Butler for the two-point conversion and an 8-6 North
advantage with 9:10 left in the first half.
“He’s slippery back there,” Hammond said of Glassock. “I don’t know how he gets out of those things. He’s just a crafty kid and he makes plays. I think that’s why Laramie wanted him because he doesn’t cave under pressure and he’s cool and he’s calm.
“VanDyken is just an outstanding football player. The ball’s in the air and it was a 50-50 ball a lot of times, and he just went and got it.”
After a defensive stand near its own goal line, the North squad leaned on its strong running game to find the end zone in the waning seconds before halftime. Bruisers Parker Christensen of Sheridan and Brock Spiegelberg of Casper Kelly Walsh, along with Glassock, imposed their will on South’s defensive front. Starting at its own 5-yard line, Christensen broke off a 21-yard run – just his second carry of the game to that point – to begin the drive. Spiegelberg then went on a 22-yard scamper to move the North team near the 50-yard line. Glassock flashed both his arm and his legs once again, connecting with Lander’s Conrad Swenson for a
19-yard completion before ripping off an 11-yard run that moved the ball inside the South 5.
Big Horn’s Kade Eisele finished off the drive with a 4-yard touchdown run to push the North team ahead 15-6.
North racked up 221 yards of offense in the first half, including 132 through the air. South, meanwhile, rushed for 123 yards, 67 of which belonged to Evanston’s Tyus Cornia.
Wheatland’s Colton Caves cut the deficit to 10 after finding Douglas’ Kenyon Cecil for a 12-yard touchdown to make it a 22-12 contest. South carried over momentum from that score and used it
on defense. The North got within field goal range, but Glassock’s 48-yard attempt was blocked. A personal foul penalty during the return gave South the ball at the North 49-yard line.
The South team pulled within three points following a 1-yard touchdown run by Cornia to make it a 22-19 game with just over 8 minutes to play in regulation.
“I was pretty confident,” Taylor said. “Before they threw that last touchdown, I thought we had it for sure.”
The North squad roared back. This time, Glassock found Natrona County’s Tehl Campbell for a 7-yard score to put the game out of reach late in the fourth.
“I wanted the kids to see that this game serves a greater purpose than just a football game,” Hammond said. “That’s not evident to them until we go to the Shriner’s hospital, but I think the kids understood that they were playing for kids who are less fortunate.
“It’s fun to win. This game isn’t about winning, but it feels better to win than not.”
NORTH 29, SOUTH 19
South…… 6 0 6 7 – 19
North…… 0 15 7 7 – 29
S: Arnold 3 pass from Johnson (two-point try no good), 7:17.
N: VanDyken 40 pass from Glassock (Butler 2 pass from Thiele), 9:10.
N: Eisele 4 run (Glassock kick), 0:13.
N: VanDyken 43 pass from Louderback (Glassock kick), 10:26.
S: Cecil 12 pass from Caves (Case pass incomplete), 6:46.
S: Cornia 1 run (Cornia kick), 8:07.
N: Campbell 7 pass from Glassock (Glassock kick), 4:16.
South: Cornia 19-77, Caves 7-14, Arnold 7-53, Johnson 3-13, Pyle 2-(minus 6), Tuggle 3-(minus 12), Case 1-5, Thompson 1-2. North: Christensen 10-59, Spiegelberg 5-27, Glassock 4-14, Eisele 12-55, Maddock 2-3, Louderback 4-(minus 28).
South: Caves 8-13-0 110, Johnson 2-5-0 7. North: Glassock 12-21-0 190, Louderback 2-4-0 52, Christensen 1-1-0 10.
South: Cecil 3-81, Pyle 3-(minus 2), Merritt 1-4, Arnold 1-3, Case 2-17. North: VanDyken 6-138, Porter 2-30, Campbell 2-20, Eisele 1-20, Swensen 3-38, Christensen 1-6.