Thomas enjoys, learns from Iowa Shrine Bowl experience

Owen Thomas of Monticello (72) poses with several of his North teammates following the Iowa Shrine Bowl July 23 in the UNI-Dome. (Photo submitted)

Owen Thomas represented Monticello in the Iowa Shrine Bowl game.
Pete Temple
Express Sports Editor

   Owen Thomas got the chance to play among the best high school football players from the Class of 2022, during the 50th annual Iowa Shrine Bowl All-Star Football Classic July 23 at the UNI-Dome in Cedar Falls.

   But he was ever mindful of the game’s primary purpose, which is to raise money for the Shriners Hospitals.

   “You’re not playing the game just for yourself or a team; you’re playing it for an association for kids,” Thomas said.

   The 2022 graduate of Monticello High School got the opportunity to meet some of those kids as part of the week-long events leading up to the game.

   “We went to a mini-camp the day before (the game), where we actually got to work with some of the Shriners’ kids in the hospital,” Thomas said. “We’d get to play games, play catch, and we had kids kicking field goals.

   “It was definitely one of the more live-changing times, where you can see the kids that don’t quite have the ability to do the sports as we did.”

   In the game, Thomas played for the North team, which defeated the South 24-17. The North team split into two squads for the game, giving each player about two quarters of action.

   “The best part was, the first drive we got on the field, we took the ball right down home (and scored a touchdown),” he said. “It was definitely an exciting point.

   “I never got to play in the UNI-Dome before. The crowd and the environment were great.”

   The celebration after the game wasn’t as raucous as one might expect, Thomas said.

   “It wasn’t like a went-on-to-the-playoffs kind or celebration, or like with the Cowbell,” he said referring to the annual trophy game between Monticello and Anamosa.

   “But we had a little fun afterward.”

   Thomas, 18, plans to attend Illinois Central College in Peoria in the fall, joining the Caterpillar “Think Big Program.”

   “I will intern with them for two years, and afterward work for them full-time,” he said.


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