By Elwyn Henderson
The 98th East-West Shrine Bowl was held Thursday night, February 2nd at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas. The game is the longest running college all-star football game in America and features some of the nation’s best college football seniors who will be eligible for the NFL Draft this spring.
There have been many very successful NFL stars that played in the game in the past. Most recently, Mr. Irrelevant, Brock Purdy, who took the San Francisco Forty-Niners to the NFC Championship Game this season, played in the game in Las Vegas last year.
Other recognizable names that have played in the game include Tom Brady in 2000, Akiem Hicks in 2012, and Jimmy Garoppolo in 2014. Some other well-known NFL players who participated in the games over the years include Nate Burleson, Will Shields, Jerry Kramer, Forrest Gregg, Carl Eller, Randy White, Gale Sayers, Bob Lilly, Mean Joe Greene, Raymond Berry, Pat Tillman, Alan Page, Merlin Olsen, Craig Morton, Ollie Matson ,Gerald Ford and Dick Butkus.The East team received the opening kickoff and Aiden O’Connell of Purdue started at quarterback. After a 20-yard return his charges set up at their 17. The possession was a quick one and ended in a three-and-out.
Following a punt the West took over on their 21 with Minnesota quarterback Tanner Morgan starting at quarterback. The offense picked up a couple of first downs and then had to punt on their third series, setting the East back up on offense at their 20. They managed to move the ball to their 49 before punting away and setting the West up for the second time at their 15. They moved the ball down to their 33, forcing a 51-yard Jake Moody field goal. The kick was good with 33 seconds remaining in the opening frame and the West took a 3-0 lead. The drive was 8 plays and 52 yards.
The next score came on a 30-yard field goal by the East’s kicker with 3:30 left in the first half, knotting the score at 3-3.
On their ensuing possession the West fumbled the ball and the East recovered at the 20 with 3:18 left in the half. The East turned the ball right back over to the West when Florida’s Trey Dean III intercepted a pass at the goal line and returned it to the 35.
The West moved the ball down the field, but a Hail Mary pass into the end zone fell incomplete as the half came to a close.
The West took a 6-3 lead on their opening possession of the second half after moving 39 yards in 8 plays, settling for a 50-yard field goal. There was no further scoring in the third quarter.
In the final quarter, following an interception by the West squad, they moved 13 yards in 6 pays and kicked a 35-yard field goal to go up 9-3. They added one more score, another 35-yard field goal after taking over on downs and going -4 yards in 4 plays, making thefinal score 12-3 in favor of the West squad.