It’s not at all surprising to find many all-state football players on the East and West rosters of the Kansas Shrine Bowl.
After all, this is an all-star game featuring many of the state’s premier players, many of whom will be headed to college or community college campuses to continue their football careers following the 40th Annual Kansas Shrine Bowl on Saturday, July 27, at Washburn University’s Yager Stadium.
Kickoff will be at 7 p.m.
What is surprising is finding one of the smallest players from one of the smallest schools on the West roster, who has undergone a grueling battle with cancer since his high school season ended last fall.
Meet Bryce Steiner, a 5-foot-9, 165-pound quarterback and defensive back for Eight-man Division-I Central Plains High School in Claflin, with an enrollment of 91 students.
Steiner will be playing in his second all-star game this year, having been selected as a player in the annual Kansas Eight-man All-Star game held in early June in Beloit.
Playing in the Kansas Shrine Bowl will be an important milestone for Steiner and for his family. He becomes the family’s fourth member to be selected to the Shrine Bowl, joining his dad and Central Plains head coach Chris Steiner (1994), his uncle Shawn Steiner (2000), both graduates of Claflin, and his cousin Marshall Musil from Lacrosse (2009).
What may be most important to Steiner and his family is the fact that he’ll be playing while in remission from cancer, which surfaced shortly after the 2012 season ended.
“I was diagnosed with cancer a few weeks after the football season ended,” Steiner said.
He was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma at the head of the femur, just above the knee, and treatment required four long trips to Kansas City’s Children’s Mercy Hospital for chemo sessions once every two weeks.
The treatments weakened the all-Central Prairie League and all-state two-way player who was not only active on the football field, but who was used to participating in other sports, including basketball and baseball, and other activities such as band and the school play.
“There were times I couldn’t even leave my bed,” Steiner said.
He missed what he calls “a decent amount of school” during his 15-week bout with the disease, going only half-days some of the time.
Steiner was spared the stomach sickness that many chemo patients suffer, but says that the headaches were “unbearable.”
Steiner said he’s just now getting back to full strength and should be ready to go when the West camp begins in July in Salina.
With cancer treatments behind him, he said he’s eagerly looking forward the Shrine Bowl and beyond. He’s signed to play football at Ottawa University, where he’ll report shortly after the Shrine Bowl.
Tickets and additional information are available at www.kansasshrinebowl.com