Combining forces: Four local players preparing for 2012 Shrine Game
Newman’s Tim Wilson and Morrison’s Logan Kuehl butted heads many times on the football field.
Next week, they’ll be on the same team for once.
Wilson, Kuehl, Sterling’s Alejandro Rivera and Eastland’s Chase Wilhelms will compete for the West team in the 38th annual Illinois High School Shrine Game slated for Saturday, July 14, in Tucci Stadium on the campus of Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington.
“It’s going to be kind of weird playing on the same team with Kuehl, but it’s going to be cool,” said Wilson, who will be a preferred walk-on at Illinois State University this fall. “It’s just going to be pretty exciting to be in a game with all these great players. I can’t wait.”
Rivera will also walk-on at ISU next fall.
Kuehl, who will play football at Loras
College in Dubuque, Iowa, this fall, is also looking forward to the game, describing it as an “honor.”
“Getting a chance to play with some of the best players in the state, it’s going to be a great experience,” Kuehl said. “It’s especially going to be fun to play with some of the area guys that I’ve just read about.”
The West team coaching staff will also have some local flavor. Morrison’s Cory Bielema will serve as head coach, while Gregg Dolan, defensive coordinator for the Mustangs, will be one of his assistants.
Players and coaches are going to arrive in Bloomington on Tuesday. On Wednesday, they’ll be bussed to the Shriners Hospital for Children in Chicago, where they’ll spend the day visiting patients.
“I’m really looking forward to that,” Wilson said. “I’m usually kind of shy around people I don’t know too good, but I open up once I’ve been around them for a while. It’s going to be fun to be around those kids.”
“They do some great things at those hospitals,” Kuehl added, “and it’s going to be fun to get a behind-the-scenes look at how they operate.”
Each team will have two practices on Thursday and Friday, July 12 and 13, to prepare for the game.
Kuehl, primarily a lineman for the Mustangs, will line up at linebacker, the position he’ll play at Loras.
“It’s going to be a little different,” the 6-foot, 200-pound Kuehl said, “but not too much. I played some linebacker in 7-on-7’s last summer, and played there a little bit during the season. It’s going to take a little time to get comfortable back there, but I’ll make the most of it.”
38th Shrine Football game
When: 6:30 p.m. July 14
Where: Tucci Stadium, Illinois Wesleyan University, Bloomington
Area participants: Tim Wilson (Newman), Logan Kuehl (Morrison), Alejandro Rivera (Sterling), Chase Wilhelms (Eastland)