Dayton Smith represented the Saints at the Shrine Bowl this year, joining a list of 21 former Saints to either play or coach in the game. EJ Photo/ Colby Fossey.
Dayton Smith recently had the honor to represent the St. Ansgar Saints in the Shrine Bowl. The Shrine Bowl is a yearly tradition where the best football players from Iowa come together for a week of practice leading up to the All-Star game on Saturday. The game is played at the UNI Dome in Cedar Falls.
The Shrine Bowl is put on by the Shriners, who support 19 Orthopedic hospitals and three burn centers for children. LR Falk Construction and St. Ansgar State Bank both donated to Dayton and the Shriners to help out with the cause.
Smith had an incredible senior season and career for the St. Ansgar Saints football program. From 2015-2017, Smith rushed for 3,406 yards, a St. Ansgar school record. Smith also holds records for rushing yards in a game (315), rushing TD’s in a game (7) and rushing TD’s in a career (51).
For the Shrine Bowl, Smith played on the defensive side of the ball as a linebacker. He did some great things as a linebacker for the Saints. This past year alone, Smith had 115.5 tackles, second in school history for tackles in a season.
So what was the experience like for Smith at the Shrine Bowl?
“It was a really interesting experience playing with so many big time studs around the area,” said Smith. “It was really fun seeing my family members up in the stands supporting me during the game. It was a completely different atmosphere compared to high school games, a little bit more relaxed. I really enjoyed it.”
Leading up to the game, the players have a full week of practice and stay in the dorm rooms during the week.
“We had practices outside and a few inside during the week,” said Smith. We had two practices a day. They were pretty light. With it being an All-Star game, we really just had to get familiar with what the coaches expected from us and our formations and the basics of being prepared for the game. It was pretty cool to be there throughout the week and get to know the area a little bit. We had free buffet food the whole week at the cafeteria. That was pretty cool.”
Smith joins a lengthy list of St. Ansgar athletes to play in the Shrine Bowl. Joel Nickerson was the first Saint to play in the game in 1980. Since then, 19 players have had the honor to represent the Saints in the big game. Rich Sherman and Drew Clevenger both were assistant coaches for the game as well, with Sherman being a coach in 1987 and Clevenger in 2009. Saints to play in the Shrine Bowl are Nickerson (1980), Erik Jordahl (1984), Jim Hendrickson (1987), Joe Sherman (1988), Troy Theobald (1992), Matt Sherman (1993), Eric Kline (1996), Luke Porisch (1997, chosen to play but unable due to reporting to Air Force Academy), Ryan Hannam (1998), Dave Pink (2005), Ben Fossey (2006), Dallas Hendrickson (2009), Josh Steinberg (2012), Cody Marsh (2011), Jackson Steinberg (2012), Kyle Hanson (2014), Scott Sievert (2015), Sawyer Hulshizer (2016), Ben Boerjan (2017) and Smith (2018).
“It’s definitely an honor to be in with that group of big time names from St. Ansgar to play in the Shrine Bowl.”
Smith wrapped up his high school football career at the Shrine Bowl. So what’s next for Smith?
“I’ll be going to NIACC and getting my generals done,” said Smith. “Then I plan on transfer to maybe UNI. In the meantime, I will be working and focusing on my studies this next year.”