Graham athletes get ready for 2016 Oil Bowl

Bohner Cottongame and Jose Gonzalez set to represent Graham in summer high school all-star classic

The Maskat Shrine Oil Bowl Classic is back in Wichita Falls today, Saturday, June 18. The game starts at 7:30 p.m., with festivities starting at 7 p.m at Memorial Stadium. Two Graham Steers will participate in the game. Bohner Cottongame and Jose Gonzalez will play for the West Texas All Star team.

The primary goal of the Maskat Shrine Oil Bowl Game is to raise money to help children with orthopedic and burn injuries. The motto for the Oil Bowl is “Strong legs run, so weak legs may walk.” The Maskat Shrine of Wichita Falls sponsors the event and the net proceeds go to the Shriner’s Hospitals for Children.

The Oil Bowl has been going on since 1938 and the format has changed plenty over the years. From 1945 to 2012, the game was played with a Texas versus Oklahoma format. Since 2013, the format has been East versus West Texas.

Cottongame and Gonzalez will be on the West roster. Coaching the West Texas All  Stars will be Jason Sims from Childress. Kyle Tucker from Holliday and Gary Green from Iowa Park will be his assistants.

Cottongame plans on attending Oklahoma State. At linebacker in 2015, he recorded 79 solo tackles and two sacks for Graham. In 2014, he recorded 126 solo tackles and four sacks. Cottongame is listed as a linebacker/running back for the West Texas All Stars. 

Gonzalez is listed at center for the West Texas All Stars. He is also listed on the roster as undecided for college.

The goal for the 2016 running of the Oil Bowl is for the teams to score more points. In 2015, the final score was only 7-3. High school football all-star games tend to favor defenses because it is traditionally harder to implement offenses, with only a week leading up to the game.

The emphasis in 2016 is also local. The targeted region for players and coaches is within Texoma. In order to fill the 72-man roster it is necessary to reach out to the Panhandle and Metroplex, as well. This year’s roster does a pretty good job of staying mostly within the Texoma media market.

The temperature is expected to be typical for June in Wichita Falls on Saturday. Kickoff temperature is forecasted to be at  100 degrees. It is, however, expected to remain dry for kickoff. 

The game provides gridiron junkies an opportunity to get their football fix in during the summer time. The game is storied in history, and the pageantry should be on full display.

General admission tickets cost $10 and can be purchased at the Memorial Stadium box office. Reserved seating will be available for $15. 

For more information go to www.oilbowl.com.

The Graham Leader

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