In the game of football, momentum can shift instantly. Saturday night’s 2017 Shrine Bowl football game was a perfect example of this. The West team earned a 22-21 win in the 44th annual Shrine Bowl game thanks to some late-game heroics by the West defense. With less than two minutes left in the final quarter, The West team trailed by one point and was deep in East territory with a chance to score the game-winning touchdown. As the offense was driving into the red zone, an East defender stripped the ball. After the referees pulled everyone out of the pile, East had recovered the fumble and just needed to melt away the final minutes of the game. However, two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties pushed the East’s offense back to their own 4 yard line. On the first play of the drive, the West defense was able to push the ball back to the 1 yard line, and on the next play the West defense jumped all over the East QB after a bad snap as Zach Helbing (Mulvane) and Tanner Orand (Eisenhower) brought down the quarterback in the end zone for the game-winning safety with 60 seconds left in the game.

Helbing, who will be a member of the Butler football team this fall, was named the West’s MVP thanks to a first-quarter interception and the game-winning safety.

The West team featured seven players who will be members of the Butler football team this fall: Cooper Dreifort of Andover, Dallin Marlnee of Augusta, Kody Gonzalez of Goddard, Jovon Baldwin of Junction City, Peerless Walker of Derby, Zach Helbing of Mulvane, and Kaden Davis of Ellsworth. All of the future Grizzlies contributed greatly to the West victory.

“On offense, we weren’t really clicking at the end, and the defense stepped up.” said Andover’s Cooper Dreifort. “That stop at the end was crazy. Playing at home, and to have all my supporters here was amazing. It was awesome to see all the people in the stands and it’s for a great cause.”

All proceeds from the game will benefit the network of 22 Shriners Hospitals for Children.