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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • Lansing, Leavenworth together for first time in Shrine Bowl

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  • It's been more than 20 years since a Lansing High School football player earned a roster spot in the Kansas Shrine Bowl.
    And, as for the last time a Lansing and Leavenworth player were both named to the bowl game? It's never happened, at least not until this year.
    Saturday night should be memorable for the local high school football programs as Leavenworth running back Jason Randall and Lansing receiver Khalil Bailey suit up for the 41st annual Shrine Bowl at Pittsburg State.
    The Shrine Bowl pits eastern and western Kansas all-stars against each other in a charity game to benefit Shriners Hospitals for Children.
    Players in the bowl have spent a week preparing.
    Randall, committed to play at Missouri State University next season, said the process has been a treat as he gets to spend time getting to know the best graduated seniors in the state.
    "It's been great," Randall said. "Nobody thinks they're better than anybody, everybody just came together as a team. We're just bonding and having a great time. I'm looking forward to playing with them on Saturday."
    Both players received word they'd received a spot on the Shrine Bowl roster in December, and for good reason.
    Randall finished his senior season with 1,370 rushing yards on 202 attempts with 13 touchdowns. He also tallied 152 yards receiving with two touchdowns.
    Bailey led the Lions in receiving yards with 1,487, an average of 148.7 yards per game. He notched 17 receiving touchdowns for the Lions and will be playing at Butler County Community College next season.
    Bailey and Randall didn't have to spend any time getting to know each other. The two have a long history of friendship, starting as sixth-graders on the same basketball team.
    The two have spent a majority of their time together this week, and Bailey said having his friend with him as they prepare for the Shrine Bowl has been helpful in the week-long process.
    "We've been hanging out all day, every day of the week," Bailey said. "We've just been helping each other out."
    The two area players will both represent the East team, coached by Chris Stewart, of McLouth High School. The Shrine Bowl East team is 14-36 against the West, and broke a 7-game losing streak to the West last year.
    Players from both sides have spent their week learning a new offensive and defensive system and building chemistry with new teammates.
    Randall said the Shrine Bowl has given him the opportunity to get on the field with a few of his future teammates at Missouri State University.
    Bailey said it hasn't been difficult to gel as a team.
    "A lot of these guys coming in, we didn't really know them but we knew of them," Bailey said. "We had a lot to talk about and it was easy building up chemistry with them."
    Page 2 of 2 - Randall said he's remembering what the game is about — helping hospitals treat young patients.
    "I'm happy to be a part of such a great situation," Randall said. "Hopefully we can get some money raised and help these kids."
    The Shrine Bowl is set to begin at 7:05 p.m. in Pittsburg, and will be broadcast on all Public Broadcasting System stations in Kansas.

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