By Zach Duncan
June 10, 2016
More than half of next week’s Oil Bowl participants will represent schools in the Wichita Falls area.
With the rosters now close to completion, 31 players from 15 different area schools will take the field for the 79th annual all-star game set for June 18 at Memorial Stadium.
One of the emphasis’ made this year was localizing the game in the hopes that a bigger crowd will come and support familiar faces. While there are still a handful of athletes from distant towns like Spearman, North Mesquite and Snyder, this Oil Bowl will have more of a hometown feel than any other in its history.
Players from Rider, Bowie, Henrietta and Burkburnett will represent East Texas. Rider’s Mark Bindel and Henrietta’s Byron West are coaches who have a combined seven players from their teams.
“We obviously reached out to a lot of coaches in the area, and we have more multiple kids from the same schools than before,” Bindel said. “I think it’s a good thing. It allows fan bases to come out and see their kids play.”
The West has more local teams represented as Wichita Falls High School, Graham, Vernon, Iowa Park, City View, Holliday, Windthorst, Seymour, Quanah and Electra are involved.
Representing the city is Rider’s quartet of Darrien Fleeks, Hunter Kyle, Parker Sorge and Vernard Trammell plus a pair from WFHS (Rodney Higgins, Darion Minor) and City View (Deon “Tray” Jordan, Ronnie Killen) in addition to Nirschi’s Devon Harbuck.
Among the notable area players who’ll play in the Oil Bowl are Henrietta’s Logan Carter, Cody Fletcher and Riley Watson, Electra’s Markeis Lee, Graham’s Bohner Cottongame and Iowa Park’s Cole Oxford.
The players won’t report to the Midwestern State dorms until Wednesday, a day later than usual. The rosters are also smaller, which means more playing time for the athletes.
“They.re going to get pretty sweaty and worn out,” Bindel said. “A lot of these guys are playing at the next level and they’re sacrificing a little bit to be out there. To only get to play in five plays is not very fun.”
While East Texas has 30 players, the West Texas team only has 27 players currently on its roster. Childress coach Jason Sims admitted filling out his squad wasn’t as easy as he thought it would be.
“We sent out nomination forms to all area schools and didn’t get a great response,” said Sims, who will coach one of his Bobcats plus Mayson Leija, who he also worked with at Quanah. “We really had to hit the phones to get kids. We ended up having to widen the area to fill out rosters.”
Tickets for the Oil Bowl are on sale and can be purchased at the Maskat Shrine off 5101 Henry S. Grace Freeway or by calling 940-766-4511. Reserved seating is $15 and general admission is $10.