Locals Shine in 2017 Shrine Game

ST. PETERSBURG – You can hardly label the action on the field at the 2017 East-Wine Shrine Game a “barn-burner” by any stretch of the imagination, but you can call it mission accomplished in this phase of the process leading up to the 2017 NFL Draft for several college prospects.

Although points were at a premium on the afternoon, with just thirteen scored in total, 22,198 fans went home fairly satisfied after watching some of their favorite locals from high schools as well as their favorite in-state college teams getting after at it. The West was victorious 10-3, which gives them their second consecutive victory in the game and a 49-38 all-time lead in the series.

The two teams seemingly sleepwalked through the first two quarters of action, with a pair of field goal the only proof that offense existed in the first half. Although it felt like the total yardage was somewhere in the negative column, the teams managed 248 total yards in the first two quarters, with the West holding the East to just 70 of those.

Local standout Karel Hamilton, a graduate from Strawberry Crest and Samford University’s all-time receiving leader caught the first pass of the game from Illinois’ Wes Lunt, a 37-yard pass down the sideline and a beautiful grab at that following the adjustment on the throw. Afterwards, Hamilton was plenty of excited–and confident–that his abilities would be tested early.

“I was just trying to show them at the practices all week that I can compete and make plays. I was just trying to show them boys from the FBS that at the FCS level we’ve got some ballers as well. Finally once the quarterbacks realized I could make plays in practice, the week got fun. I thought they would come to me on the first play of the game this afternoon, and they did. They trusted me during practice and during the game and that kind of trust gave me even more confidence this week.” said Hamilton, who finished the game leading all receivers in yardage, with 61 yards receiving on just two catches and two targets.

Florida Atlantic’s Trey Hendrickson (DE, 6-4/265) was voted as the Most Outstanding Player on defense, while Louisiana-Lafayette’s Eli McGuire, who scored the only touchdown on the afternoon, was voted as the MOP for the offense. Hendrickson was fierce along the front all afternoon and paired nicely with Louisville’s DeAngelo Brown to disrupt virtually everything in the run and pass game for the East.

Pasco High Alum and University of Florida DT Joey Ivie IV was another player along the line for the East that showed extremely well. Afterwards, we caught up with Ivie IV, and this is what he had to say. “The first two days of practice, I felt like I dominated–especially in the pass rush area. Technique-wise, I’ve still got some things to get right, and there was some adjusting to the coaching I had this week. It was a real fun experience this week and it was a great group of guys to be around this

week. We actually built some chemistry as the week progressed as well. Even though we didn’t come out with the victory, we were out here for a great cause for the Shriners Hospital and it was a great week of football even though it was in a loss.” said Ivie IV, who finished with three tackles and a sack.

Other standouts on the day were Arizona and Dr. Phillips wideout Trey Griffey, who finished the afternoon with a game-high seven targets and finished the afternoon with 3

receptions for 34 yards. Wisconsin RB Dare Ogunbowale had himself a solid afternoon all things considered, with 42 yards rushing on 8 carries to pair with he aforementioned McGuire’s 42 yards on seven carries and the touchdown.

The West finished the afternoon with 138 yards rushing, while holding the East to just 37 yards rushing on the defensive side of the ball. Jones High School and FSU star Kermit Whitfield finished the afternoon with three receptions for 31 yards and also returned two punts for eleven yards and was second in targets with six.

The defenses certainly controlled the action from start to finish, however. The two offenses combined were just 8-for-30 combined on third-down in the contest and there were a total of fourteen punts in the game, giving much work to the “other” players on the roster aka the punters and place-kickers. The game wasn’t to be confused with sloppy play, though. All told, there were just seven penalties for just 43 yards of negative yardage in the game.

The East also drove to the red zone of the West three times and inside the ten once, coming away with just three points. Part of that was due to former Armwood and USC safety, Leon McQuay III, and his two tackles at crucial junctions in the drives. McQuay had left the game earlier with an apparent knock to his leg, but returned to play very nicely for his squad.