Hays High School’s Shane Berens doubted he would have the opportunity to follow in his father’s footsteps, but that changed when he was selected to play in Saturday’s Kansas Shrine Bowl in El Dorado.
Berens’ father, Mitch, suited up for the West squad in 1987. His son will do the same 30 years later.
“It’s cool to get to do what he did,” Berens said.
Berens wasn’t sure his opportunity would come after an injury limited his snaps in his final season of high school football.
“I didn’t really think it would happen since I didn’t play in very many games my senior year,” Berens said.
Berens helped the Indians start their 2016 season on the right foot, catching a pair of touchdowns in the Indians’ 31-21 win at Scott City. He also floated around the Hays High defense, as teams would frequently run their plays away from Berens when he was lined up at defensive end.
This week, Berens is back at defensive end. Outside of a slight tweak in positioning, it’s a familiar role.
“We play a lot more head-up four though than I did at Hays High,” Berens said. “Other than that, it’s the same.”
Saturday’s game figures to be the last time the Hays High graduate puts on a football helmet. It won’t be his last athletic competition, however.
Earlier this year, Berens signed to join the Southeastern Louisiana State University track and field program as a thrower.
At the Kansas State Track and Field State Championships, Berens took home a silver medal in the shot put with a throw of 56 feet, 3.5 inches, just an inch shy of gold. As a junior, Berens earned bronze medals in the shot put and discus.
Berens also was an integral part of the Indian basketball program during his time at Hays High, primarily serving as a forward capable of scoring on the block or from 3-point range.
Like many of his teammates on the West squad, Berens welcomed some downtime between practices during a hot week of training camp on the KWU campus.
“A lot of sleeping and resting,” Berens said, summing up his downtime activities, “because two-a-days in this heat take a lot out of you. Eat, sleep, rest and practice.”
While Berens would like to leave El Dorado a Shrine Bowl winner like his dad, whose West team topped the East 14-7, the Hays High product sees the bigger picture.
“Yeah, it does,” Berens answered when asked if the outcome matters, “but the bottom line is all of this is for the hospitals and for the benefit of the those families that have children in the hospital.”