By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Uselton gears for summer classic
West seeking to extend winning streak over East in Shrine Bowl on July 28
spt hg uselton
Tyler Uselton

Tyler Uselton of Great Bend High School has a head start on some players that will be playing in the upcoming 39th Annual Kansas Shrine Bowl.
The prestigious all-star game will be played at Emporia State University’s Welch Field on Saturday, July 28. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.  
Uselton, a massive 6-foot-4, 327-pound offensive lineman, has already enrolled in six hours of summer school classes at powerhouse Butler Community College in El Dorado. He signed at Butler in February.
“I wanted to get up here and get acquainted with the team and give myself a chance to play this season,” Uselton said on Monday night. “I’m taking two classes, plus a study hall, plus football.
“I really do like it.”
Uselton said he arrived at the Butler campus on June 3 and began taking classes the next day.


To the casual high school football fan, the Shrine Bowl may be just an opportunity to see many of the state’s best high school graduated football players on the field at the same time in an exhibition game played for a great cause.
Don’t try to sell that idea to the coaches, players or hundreds of Kansas Shriners that are gearing up for the all-star game.
West head coach Brian Hill of Garden City says there is some good-natured pressure to extend the West’s winning streak of six.
“I’ve already heard about it some 30 or 40 times from Shriners”, he says.  “It’s a very prideful thing, I think, for people here in the West. Shriners understand that the game is for a great cause and raised a lot of money and awareness (for Shriners Hospitals), but in the end there’s a reason they keep score, and we want to come out on the winning end.”
Hill says he’s not sure what’s more motivating, the pressure to keep the streak alive, or the desire of the East to win for the first time since 2005.
Hill obviously is very aware of what the streak means to many people.  
“When I found out I was going to be this year’s head coach, I told coach Wheeler (Rick Wheeler, Wichita Heights, the 2011 West head coach), ‘Thanks, I appreciate it.’ Now that the torch has been passed to me,” Hill said.
 The West won last year’s game 30-7 in Hays.
Uselton is among 34 of the West’s top players that Hill will be welcoming to camp on Friday, July 20. Hill will also welcome what could arguably be called an all-star staff of coaches.  
One coach from each Kansas high school football classifications is selected as an assistant coach for each Shrine Bowl game, and this year’s staff includes two coaches whose teams won state titles in 2011, and another who earned a runner-up trophy.
 The West staff includes Brandon Clark, Derby (6A), Ryan Cornelsen, Hays (5A), Greg Slade, Rose Hill (4A), Matt Biehler, Conway Springs (3A) and Jon Webster, LaCrosse (2-1A). Slade and Biehler each coached their teams to state championships in November.
Webster’s team was the 2-1A runner up. Garden City, Derby, and Hays also earned playoffs berths last year.
Hill says coaching an all-star game is different than coaching a high school team, partly because the Shrine Bowl players were the best players on their teams, and as such played more minutes than many of their teammates.
“The one thing I noticed last year (as an assistant Shrine Bowl coach)”, he said, “is how quickly these kids pick things up.  
“They’re knowledge and the intensity of practice is really impressive to watch. We only get 13 or 14 practices, and last year we had to tweak the practices to keep their interest because they had learned everything we threw at them”.
All Shrine Bowl events are produced and presented to benefit Shriners Hospitals for Children [SHC]. SHC is a health care system of 22 hospitals dedicated to improving the lives of children by providing pediatric specialty care, innovative research, and outstanding teaching programs for medical professionals. Children up to the age of 18 are eligible for care and receive all services in a family-centered environment, regardless of the patients’ ability to pay.
Tickets and additional information are available at or by calling 800-530-5524.