Two of Pratt football's finest will represent the Greenbacks as part of the June 8, 2019 Shrine Bowl in Dodge City next month.
Final preparations are being made as the state’s premiere high school all-star football game set for June 8, 2019, turns its sights on Dodge City, Kansas. For the first time in the game’s forty-five-year history, the Kansas Shrine Bowl will be played in Dodge City.
“Dodge City submitted a great bid a few years ago,” said B.J. Harris, Executive Director of the Kansas Shrine Bowl. “They have fulfilled every commitment and gone above and beyond to make our 46th annual game a success.”
So much more than a game, the Kansas Shrine Bowl is a major event. Beyond the football teams, the Kansas Shrine Bowl also executes a cheer camp featuring more than one hundred and fifty participants participating in a four-day camp. This year will also mark the 36th Annual Kansas Masonic All-State Marching Band Camp, with more than one hundred and fifty high school students from across the state of Kansas participating in the five-day camp. Both the cheer camp and band camp will be housed at Dodge City Community College.
“Dodge City Community College, USD 443, the Dodge City CVB and the City of Dodge City have all been great partners,” said Harris. “I’m confident our participants will have a safe and fun experience.”
In addition to the camps there are several events for the public. Those events begin Friday, June 6 at 9 a.m. with a four-man scramble at Mariah Hills Golf Course. The event is $60 per person and you can register at www.kansasshrinebowl.com/golf.
Friday night ends with the Kansas Shrine Bowl Participant Appreciation Banquet at 6 p.m. at United Wireless Arena. Some seats are available and can be purchased by calling 913-602-8656.
Saturday is full of fun for everyone and kicks off with the Strong Legs Run 5K and Walk at 8 a.m. at Dodge City High School. Day of registration is just $25 for the run and $20 for the walk.
The state’s largest Shrine Parade will take place at 10 a.m. June 8 on 2nd Street from Comanche to Gunsmoke. At 11 a.m. there is the Kansas Shrine Bowl/Sports in Kansas High School Football Combine, Powered by Sharp Performance. The event is open to high school age athletes. Register at www.kansasshrinebowl.com/combine.
Following the combine at 1 p.m. is the Jr. All-Star Challenge. This punt, pass and kick style event is for ages 6 to 14. Pre-register at www.kansasshrinebowl.com/challenge.
The day wraps up with the best all-star football game in the Midwest at Memorial Stadium in Dodge City. Gates open at 5 p.m., Pre-game festivities at 6 p.m. and kick-off at 7 p.m. Advance discount tickets are available at www.kansasshrinebowl.com/tickets. Tickets will be available at the gate.
All Shrine Bowl events are produced and presented to benefit Shriners Hospitals for Children [SHC]. SHC is a health care system of 22 hospitals dedicated to improving the lives of children by providing pediatric specialty care, innovative research, and outstanding teaching programs for medical professionals. Children up to the age of 18 are eligible for care and receive all services in a family-centered environment, regardless of the patient’s ability to pay. Tickets and additional information are available at www.kansasshrinebowl.com or by calling 800-530-5524.
Participating from Pratt this year are graduated senior quarterback Travis Theis, and Greenback footbal head coach Jamie Cruce.
Theis finished a stellar high school career for the Pratt Greenbacks this past season as he recorded 230 rushes for 2,608 yards and 43 rushing touchdowns. Theis also completed 36 of 72 passes for 985 yards with an 11/1 TD/INT ratio. He also recorded 91 tackles, 9 TFL, and 2 int’s. He was an All-League and All-State player on both sides of the ball. As a sophomore, he was named as a member of the top 33 All-class team. This past season, as a senior, he was named to every all-state team and was also selected as a top 11 all-class player as well as being named the Sports in Kansas offensive player of the year.
The Greenbacks won the Class 4A, Division II title Theis’ sophomore year and finished as the 3A State runner-up his senior season. In his career, he passed for 1,485 yards with 16 TD’s. He rushed 841 times for 6,744 yards and 101 scores.
Theis signed with the University of South Dakota and will continue his academic and athletic career there.
Cruce graduated from Salina South High School and played football at Hutchinson Community College for one year before transferring to Bethany College. He was a linebacker on Bethany’s 1995 & 1996 KCAC championship teams. He was a team captain and earned All KCAC honors in 1997. During Cruce’s time as a student-athlete at Bethany, the Swede football team enjoyed a 25-5 overall record and a 22-2 conference record while twice advancing to the NAIA playoffs. He earned his Behavioral Science Teaching Degree from Bethany College and later earned his Master’s degree in Physical Education from Northern State University.
Cruce began his coaching career as a student assistant for Bethany College prior to moving on to Anderson University in Indiana as the linebacker coach and strength coordinator. He then served as linebacker coach at Northern State University. In 2001, he returned to Bethany as the defensive coordinator for Hall of Fame Head Coach, Dr. Ted Kessinger. Six years later, he was named the Head Coach at Bethany College. While at Bethany, Cruce’s teams went 28-34. The Swedes’ best year under Cruce came in 2011 when the Swede’s finished 8-3, earning the most wins a Bethany team has had since 2001.
Cruce was named Head Football Coach and weight training teacher at Pratt High School in 2013. Cruce’s teams compiled a 42-21 record over six seasons. In 2016, Coach Cruce and the Greenbacks finished 12-1 and won the 4A-Div. 2 State Championship, Pratt’s first football State title since 1995. For his efforts, Cruce was named the Kansas High School Coach of the Year by the Kansas Football Coaches Association along with multiple media outlets. This past year’s team finished as the 3A runner-up, losing in overtime of the State Championship game. Over the last three seasons, the Greenbacks have posted a 31-4 record. Cruce will take over head football coaching duties at Campus High School this Fall and will also serve as the weight training teacher.
Jamie is married to Amy (Jacobs) and has four children (Dillon 15, Ava 11, Austin 8, and Jacob 6).