Augusta football's Ely Wilcox makes lifetime memories playing in 2021 Kansas Shrine Bowl

Charles Chaney
Butler County Times Gazette
Ely Wilcox runs out onto the field for the starting lineups on Saturday, June 26 at Gowan Stadium in Hutchinson, Kansas for the 2021 Kansas Shrine Bowl.

Nothing can make you more hungry to play more football than more football. 

For Augusta's Ely Wilcox and playing in the 2021 Shrine Bowl all that did was make him more hungry to advance his playing career at Pittsburg State.

"It wasn't necessarily a goal, but like I knew about it and I knew that it was something that I would want to do if I got the chance to do it," Wilcox said. "I was extremely excited about when they asked and offered if I wanted to come."

Wilcox is the first Oriole to play in the Shrine Bowl since Dallin Marlnee in 2017. He is also the 11th Oriole to represent Augusta High in the game. 

"I appreciated the community who supported me," Wilcox said. "The whole like all four years of high school and even way before that. So, it's just, hopefully it gives some of those high school players that are wanting to do something that shows them that they what they can do and just make some look up to me a little bit."

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Wilcox shined on a defense that pitched a shut out, as the West team beat the East, 14-0. He finished with three tackles and helping the West hold the East to only 171 yards.

Ely Wilcox (5)  moves towards the ball in the 2021 Shrine Bowl in Hutchinson, Kansas.

For Wilcox, the ability to play with those at that level, gives him a renewed confidence of what he can do at the next level as every player at the Shrine Bowl is the top of their class at their respective schools. Instead of potentially having to step in and cover for a teammate in a situation, he was able to focus on his job and it made the game easier for the graduated senior.

"Honestly, how well our team came together like the team chemistry, coming from different schools we really didn't know each other," Wilcox said. "By Tuesday, we were all laughing and making jokes and everything so that was really cool." 

While Wilcox doesn't necessarily get nervous when it comes to playing in games like the Shrine Bowl, the nerves turn into restlessness waiting for the game to start.

"Yeah, antsy is the right word for it," Wilcox said of playing in big games like the Shrine. "Then once the game starts I'm fine." 

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Wilcox now will head to Pitt State, where he is slated to report in a few days for summer work outs and where those who know him, know he will be an immediate impact on the Gorilla's defense. 

"I'm excited to get up there next week and start working out with some my future teammates," Wilcox said. "It shows me shows me a little glimpse of what it's going to be so, I'm excited. 

Charles Chaney has been the Sports Editor for the Butler County Times-Gazette since Aug. 2019. You can reach him at or on Twitter at @ChuckChaneyBCTG.