Lone BHS Shrine Bowl choice
Anthony Ciambrone received a surprise Monday afternoon.
During one of Ciambrone's classes, Baldwin High School football coach Mike Berg visited him with a list. Berg showed the list to his senior lineman and a smile ensued.
"I found out Monday during sixth hour," Ciambrone said. "Coach Berg handed me this list and said 'take a look at this.'"
The list included the 68 senior players selected for the 2008 Kansas Shrine Bowl. Ciambrone was the lone Bulldog chosen for the all-star football team.
"I couldn't believe I actually made it," Ciambrone said. "There aren't too many kids that get to do that. I'm really excited about it."
Ciambrone wasn't the only one surprised he was selected to the Shrine Bowl. His coach wasn't notified about his selection either.
"No one notified me," Berg said. "I saw it on the Internet. I heard it was supposed to come out Jan. 5. It was a shock. I'm so happy for him, because when I told him, he had a happy look on his face. I know how excited he is. He would be the first to tell you that his great teammates helped him achieve this honor."
Being chosen to play in the game has an even more special meaning for Ciambrone as his father, uncle and grandfather are all shriners. He even said they were talking about the possibility of him making the Shrine Bowl back in November.
"We were talking about it on Thanksgiving," Ciambrone said. "My uncle said it would be pretty cool if I got to go to it. It's pretty special that I got chosen."
Ciambrone is the third player under Berg's regime to be chosen for the Shrine Bowl. Micah Mason was the last to play in the game when he was chosen in 2004, but Kyle Ruona was selected to play in 2005. Ruona injured his knee during the spring of his senior year and was unable to participate in the game.
Berg said he is proud of Ciambrone and this honor helps him finish an outstanding year and career.
"It goes to show you all of the hard work that he has put in and the great season he had," Berg said. "Someone around the state has recognized that. I know the Shrine Bowl is one of the hardest teams to get picked for, because it involves the media and sometimes the media doesn't get all of the facts on every player."
Ciambrone was chosen as a First-Team All-State player by the two newspapers that vote for the postseason honor. The Wichita Eagle and Topeka Capital-Journal each selected him on the first team for Class 4A.
"I really didn't expect this at all," Ciambrone said. "Nowhere in my mind did I think about being on this team. It's pretty special."
Three other Frontier League players will be on the east team with Ciambrone. They are Eudora's Morgan Abel, Louisburg's George Bazin and Louisburg's Jason Spradling.
Selection into the Shrine Bowl is one of the most prestigious honors for a high school senior in Kansas. Only 68 players from the entire state are invited to play each year.
The charity all-star game is scheduled for July 26 in Emporia at Welch Stadium, Emporia State University campus.