Hamilton, Bacon help West teams win N.D. Shrine Bowls
Area college-bound football players made big impacts at the North Dakota Shrine Bowls on July 13 at Fargodome.
Rugby graduate and University of Jamestown freshman Chris Hamilton marked his final prep game with a two-yard touchdown reception as the West beat the East 21-2 in the 11-man game.
“I didn’t play a whole lot, but we were at the (2-yard line) or so and I think I was the third option on that play,” Hamilton said. “The QB was supposed to hit the out route or run, but safety went with the out and the corner froze, so I was luckily wide open.”
It was the first of two second-quarter touchdown passes for Lake Park Audubon quarterback Mason Swegarden following a first quarter safety for the East. (Players from parts of Minnesota are included in the games.)
“I put my hand up because I was so open and he kept running and it took a little bit for him to see me, but it worked,” Hamilton said.
Hamilton said the teams had only one day of padded practice, but stayed busy with three-a-days during the practice sessions at Mayville State University. He enjoyed sharing the field with AAA and AA players he never faced and some usual region foes, who he usually lined up against.
The West defense was stifling with incoming North Dakota State University player and Bismarck High graduate Stanley Jones anchoring the line. The final touchdown came on a 2-yard scamper for Swegarden.
Hamilton enjoyed getting back in football shape before he reports to practice at University of Jamestown on Aug. 7. He also relished the time with children from the Shriner’s Hospital in Minneapolis, one of 22 Shriner’s facilities nationwide that serve youngsters afflicted with orthopedic conditions, burns, spinal cord injuries, and cleft lip and palate.
“They brought like four or five kids down and each team went and hung out with the kids,” Hamilton said. “We just played games like badminton and frisbee. It was just cool because you could tell they look up to you and when you have all these football players around them and you can tell they think it’s pretty cool.”
BACON TESTS OUT FARGODOME TURF
TGU graduate and NDSU-bound lineman Luke Bacon made his mark on the 9-man game, helping the West to a 48-14 win over the East. After playing offense in June’s Badlands Bowl between Montana and North Dakota, Bacon switched over to defense for the Shrine Bowl.
He registered a sack and fumble recovery in a taste of action on the field he will play his college home games on for the Bison.
“It was really fun the first time playing on the field,” Bacon said. “I made a lot of friends down there and had a blast.”
He said pressure playing in his soon-to-be home stadium was minimal.
“There wasn’t any pressure, we just had fun playing the game,” Bacon said. “We wanted to beat the East – and we did – and raise awareness for the Shriners.
“It was great to see what Shriner’s do and what we were raising money for. Just playing that game for those kids is really special.”
Bacon reports to NDSU camp on Aug 3., and said there’s much to do before he heads southeast, but he’s eager to begin the next phase of his career.
Bacon’s former TGU teammate Kendal Green also played for the west.
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