As the East squad prepares for the 47th annual Shrine Bowl game this Saturday. Eastern Kansas Sports had an opportunity to visit with Olpe’s Colby Hoelting. Hoelting is the 13th player from Olpe to have the prestigious honor of playing in the game. Hoelting led the Eagles to a 33-4 record over his three years at quarterback and linebacker for the team.
EKS: What was your initial reaction on being named as a participant for the Shrine Bowl?
Hoelting: Initially I was really shocked, because not many players at the 1A level have the opportunity to play in this game. I am thankful that I have the opportunity to put the pads on one more time. It is an honor to be a representative of not only my family but my community.
EKS: Whom, if any, made the biggest impact on you that allowed for such opportunity?
Hoelting: Obviously Coach (Chris) Schmidt had a huge impact on me during my career. From the very beginning he has pushed me to work hard. My parents also provided me with guidance that also helped me become the player I am today.
EKS: Did you reach out to former teammates Damon Schmidt and Blaine Hinrichs as to what to expect this week?
Hoelting: We are all still really close friends. We spoke a little about what camp would be like. They said that the game is just a game and the kids we are playing for far outweighs the end result on Saturday.
EKS: How did you prepare to maintain or get back into shape to get ready for the Shrine Bowl?
Hoelting: My biggest concern was being in shape given that we play in July. I started about 3 weeks ago running in the mornings then when I was off work, I was able to do weight training in the evenings. I have felt pretty good so far this week, better than what some guys are feeling(Laughs)
EKS: You played against several of your East Squad teammates throughout your career. Has that helped establish a relationship this week?
Hoelting: It has made a good competition amongst ourselves to prove that we belong given that we are some of the smallest schools playing 11 man. There has been some talk about how “we beat you” but other than that it has been pretty laid back.
EKS: You were a two-way player for Olpe, playing Quarterback and linebacker, what side of the ball will you be playing on Saturday?
Hoelting: I will be playing on the defensive side of the ball at outside linebacker position. It has been a pretty seamless transition for me as we ran a 5-2 at Olpe and we have implanted a 4-2-5. My assignments are pretty much the same even if a Olpe’s defense was more run emphasis versus the pass emphasis we have seen this week.
EKS: Key takeaways from Camp?
Hoelting: Coming from 1A, one team might have one kid that was really fast. Dexton Swinehart(Lyndon) was the fastest player I played against. This week there are Swineharts all over the field so initially I was shellshocked by some of the speed that the kids from larger schools have. It was humbling covering the slot receiver running a 4.4 40 the first few times.
EKS: Describe what you daily schedule has been this week?
Hoelting: We wake up around 7am and get breakfast. We would then have practice from 830-945 before having some down time and lunch before going to practice again at 2. More down time and dinner before third practice that lasted until about 830. Now that we are past the first few days we are scaling back to one practice today and tomorrow.
EKS: There were some doubts that there would even be a game due to Covid. What steps are being taken this week to maintain safety of the participants?
Hoelting: We get temperature checked before breakfast and before dinner each day. Social distancing is being enforced whenever we are all together when we are eating or at practice when we are not on the field. Masks are worn 24/7 outside of practice.
EKS: One of the key moments has been the trip to the shriner’s hospital, has there been a virtual tour this week?
Hoelting: We haven’t done anything so far and I have not heard if we would have opportunity today or Friday. We have been able to have dinner at the local temple and was able to talk with their members. It was good to hear their stories.
EKS: Was your family able to secure tickets?
Hoelting: Yes, my family was able to get in once they went on sale and were able to get some for my grandparents that aren’t so savvy online(Laughs). I should have a good showing supporting me on Saturday.
EKS: Plans for your future?
Hoelting: I plan on attending Flinthills Technical College in Emporia this fall. I will be getting my certificate in welding. Once I have that I plan on joining the workforce.
EKS: Game prediction?
Hoelting: We had 15 guys that chose not to participate. Speaking with the coaches that hurt our size compared to the west side, but we should be able to hang in there and make it a close game. With it going to as hot as it is on Saturday, fatigue will be a factor in the second half so it will all come down to wants it more.
You can catch Hoelting and the rest of the East squad as they square off against the West side Saturday night at Hummer Sports Complex in Topeka at 7pm. Tickets are sold out. Watch or listen to the game via YouTube or WiBW 580AM.