Small town athletes going to Shrine Bowl

Seniors Isaiah Daniell and Gavin Kube pose in front of Shrine Bowl inflatable. Both seniors will be playing for the North team in the all-star game on June fourth.

Small town kids competing with Class A football players. It might not be the first time in Yutan’s history, but being selected to be in the Nebraska Shrine Bowl is certainly a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

In mid-January/late December, seniors Gavin Kube and Isaiah Daniell found out that they had been selected for the 2022 Shrine Bowl.

“I didn’t think I was gonna get into the Shrine Bowl or anything, but then Coach texted me that day and he goes, ‘Hey, come to the school. I got something important,’” Kube said.

Out of almost 300 nominated seniors in the state, the two Yutan seniors were both selected among the 45 players playing for the North team. They said playing with each other brings each of them their own sense of “comfort.”

“Getting to play with a teammate, Gavin, is pretty cool because you know you have a familiar face on the field,” Daniell said.

Along with being able to play with their teammate, Kube and Daniell get the chance to prove themselves amongst the most highly skilled players across the state.

“[I hope to] show that small-town kids can play with Class A kids,” Daniell said.

Kube agreed, saying, “I hope to prove that I can play with the kids that are from Class A and Class B because I think C-2 gets looked down upon.”

Being from a small school makes the Shrine Bowl an even greater moment to show their skills in front of college coaches.

“It means another opportunity for me. It’s a great achievement, but I don’t think it’s far from over. I think this is just another stepping stone that I’m going to go through to further my football career,” Kube said.

The Shrine Bowl starts with a press conference in January to announce the rosters. Then in late May, the selected players train with their associated teams (North and South) at a week-long camp and eventually play in an all-star game at the University of Kearney. 

“One goes to Kearney… and the other team I’m pretty sure stays in Lincoln for a full week to do practices,” Daniell said.

Even though the game is recognized as the highlight of it all, it’s much more than just a game in terms of what the Shrine Bowl stands for. The Shrine Bowl gets its name from its goal to help Shriner hospitals across the nation. 

“I want to make sure that the Shrine Bowl isn’t looked at as…another football game. It’s a great benefit for the kids…it’s more than just a game,” Kube said.

North team poses for pictures during the January press conference. The North team will head to Kearney for their week-long practice in May.

Being chosen to be a part of this tradition is a great achievement for both of these high school seniors. But what’s even more amazing is to be the third and fourth to have ever been selected in the school’s history.

“It’s pretty cool being known as the third-ever participant in the Shrine Bowl that came out of Yutan,” Kube said.

Daniell added on saying, “I’m really excited…a lot of good players don’t get to play in the Shrine Bowl, so being selected just makes that mean a whole lot more.”

With excitement in mind, Kube and Daniell wait for their once-in-a-lifetime experience on June 4th, where they plan to proudly represent the small town of Yutan.