By Jamie Smith
Since 1937, the best high school football players in North and South Carolina have been chosen to participate in the Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas, the oldest high school all-star game in the country. The game has been played every year with the exception of 2020 & 2021 during the Covid pandemic, but to keep their tenure alive, teams were chosen and players were recognized as Shrine Bowl of The Carolinas Alumni.
On December 17, 2022, at 1pm, the 86th Annual Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas will kick-off in Spartanburg, SC and lifelong Newberry citizen Jamie Smith can take a small deep breath. Smith, who is the current Operations Director and Shrine Bowl Hall of Fame Member, smiles as he makes it very clear that he is a “Shriner First and Foremost’ and ‘the real winners of the game are the Shriner’s Children.” The Shriner’s Children is a network of hospitals, clinics, and outpatient surgery centers across the United States, Canada, and Mexico. “Not only monetarily, but raising awareness of Shriners Children is very important and we want everyone to know that regardless of the families’ financial and insurance status, everyone will be served. The entire staff of the Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas is totally volunteer along with being a Shriner,” Smith said.
“We are very proud of all of our players and their accomplishments on and off the field” Smith said, “we have a very high percentage of players going to college and even to the next level, the National Football League.”
Newberry has a rich tradition of not only providing top football talent but coaches as well. Mid Carolina High School has provided Shrine Bowl Coaches Lon Armstrong and Louie Alexander, while Newberry High has provided coaches Mike Ware, Sam Baird, Bill Harvey, Bob Vosbrinck, and Phil Strickland. “While serving on staff with some of these coaches was great,” Smith said, “some taught and coached me in high school, and we always could find a quick moment to share an old high school story or two.” Smith spoke with pride when he talked about past football players from the county, which were too many to name, but he stated that some have succeeded in society such as police chiefs, businessmen, doctors, and even a Secretary of State who also played for Newberry College. “Our local radio legend and voice of the Bulldogs and Wolves, Jimmie Coggins, is part of our Shrine Bowl Family and broadcasted a game in 1986,” Smith said.
The Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas will kick-off on December 17, 2022, 1 pm, Vikings Stadium, on the beautiful campus of Spartanburg High School, for more information visit www.shrinebowlofthecarolinas.com.