It wasn’t about football. Despite the fanfare and attention on the 46th Annual Shrine Bowl in Casper, the game itself was not the week’s highlight for the trio of Douglas participants.

Dax Read, Dylon Case and Kanyon Cecil represented the Bearcats on the South roster. While the game was played on June 8, both the north and south teams spent part of the week prior in Salt Lake City at the Shriners Hospital.

“The game wasn’t the experience that was the more valuable one, it was definitely meeting people and making relationships with people and serving something bigger than yourself,” Cecil said.

This feeling was shared by all of the Cats who made the trip.

Read, who played linebacker in the game, said, “Going to the hospital, seeing all the kids, talking to all of them — it was the best experience I’ve ever had. It really changes a guy.”

By the time the game actually rolled around, the South lost 29-19. South has not won the Shrine Bowl since 2012. When the game kicked off, the weather was around 60 degrees with the wind blowing east.

By halftime, a storm came over the Natrona County Field and the rest of the day was marred by rain. Regardless of the final score, all players wanted out of the game was another opportunity to get out on the gridiron.

“I’ve been craving to play since the season ended and now just playing it again with this new group, they’re my brothers,” Read said. “I would call them family. I love and care about them very much.”

Read played alternating drives in the game, finishing with six total tackles. Cecil and Case both played offense in the game. Cecil finished with four receptions for 92 yards and one of South’s three touchdowns.

Never settling for the easy play, one of Cecil’s catches was a juggling grab along the sideline over the North cornerback. Case was the gadget player for the South, running the ball once for five yards and catching two passes for 19 yards.

On one of the South’s two-point conversion attempts, Case got the ball on a reverse and threw a pass over the middle of the field that fell incomplete.

“I just wanted to make a play to show them I could play, but I didn’t get to,” Case said.

After the final whistle blew and the game ended, both teams met at midfield to take pictures with each other and with their families.

With high school completely in the rear-view, Cecil will go on to Washington State University where he plans on studying architecture. While he doesn’t plan on playing football in Pullman right away, it’s not something he has ruled out for his future.

Read is planning on going to Chadron State University to play football and major in elementary education.

“I go visit the primary school and the elementary school and talk to all the kids there,” Read said. “I loved it and so now I want to keep doing that just as a teacher.”

While it was the last time that those three would be together on the field, the bond for Read and Case stretches back to kindergarten, and would continue to opposing sidelines.

Case is going to play football at Black Hills State University and major in business.

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