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Becker, Keiser shine in Shrine Bowl

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KEARNEY — A pair of Cedar Catholic graduates saw action in Saturday’s Nebraska Shrine Football Game, but were unable to help their All Star team earn the victory.

The South team defeated the North 30-6 in the 62nd annual Shrine game.

Rex Becker and Jacob Keiser both played in the game. Both Keiser and Becker plan to continue their football careers this fall at Wayne State College. The two were added to the roster earlier this summer when several players announced they would not be able to participate in the annual all star contest.

Jaxon Johnson of Bancroft-Rosalie-Lyons-Decatur and Kage Heisinger, Pierce, were the only other area players to earn a spot on the elite All Star team.

COVID-19 restrictions almost forced the cancellation of the game, but it was decided special safety measures would be taken by players, coaches and fans in order for the game to take place.

The Shrine Football Executive Board moved the game from June 6 to July 11, hoping that would help in the effort to get the game played.

Shrine Bowl players usually have time to interact with kids from Shriners Hospitals during the week leading up to the game. That experience was canceled this year,

The crowd was also limited to coaches, friends and family, only 2,475 fans, who were allowed in at the University of Nebraska- Kearney’s Ron and Carol Cope Stadium.

The players went through two daily temperature checks each day while in Kearney and started doing it at home July 1 before reporting to camp July 4.

The Nebraska Shrine Bowl was the first organized football game played in the United States since the Super Bowl and some XFL games.

It was also the first week of full-padded football practice in the country, as 90 players from around the state took part in weeklong camps at two different sites in Kearney.

The North took charge of the game right from the start, using their opening drive to march down the field and score.

The South adjusted quickly, though as the South defense stiffened to make sure the North didn’t sustain a drive past midfield for the rest of the game.

Omaha South’s Alan Mendoza was named offensive most valuable player after making three field goals -- one of which was from 51 yards.

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