Three former Richland Springs Coyote football players are spending the fourth of July north of the American border. Tyler Ethridge, Shelby Smith and Richie Daniels were selected to the play in the 12th CanAm Bowl, which begins at 7 p.m. in Porcupine Plain, Saskatchewan.
The CanAm Bowl is an annual six-man football game that pits graduated all-star players from the United States against those from Canada. Each summer, a high school in Saskatchewan serves as the host as it is the only Canadian province to play six-man football. Texas, Nebraska, Montana, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado are currently the only states to offer high school six-man football programs.
The first CanAm Bowl took place in July of 1997 with the U.S. picking up a 40-22 victory. The U.S. owns a 7-4 edge in the series, but Canada grabbed a 46-14 victory in Central Butte, Saskatchewan last year — the first time the game was played at night.
The former Coyotes are among nine Texans on this year’s 18-player U.S. roster. Joining the Richland Springs trio are Cole Hix from Happy, Levi Hardcastle from Blum, Cory Samson from Vernon Northside and Shane Borchardt, Michael Bowman and Levi Bond from Crowell. Seven Nebraska players and two from Montana comprise the rest of the American team.
Ethridge finished his career as one of the most celebrated players in Texas six-man history, earning the state’s player of the year honor for the second season in a row in 2007. Ethridge threw more touchdown passes than any other player in American high school football history, finishing with 230. He also completed 522-of-774 passes for 10,681 yards and rushed for 4,536 yards and 98 touchdowns on 522 carries during his career.
Despite battling injuries late in his senior season, Smith still was named the six-man defensive player of the year. Smith collected 88 tackles, four sacks and a fumble recovery, while offensively he rushed for 494 yards and 16 touchdowns and caught 13 passes for 364 yards with six scores.
Daniels was the first-team all-state kicker as he recorded 245 points and converted 110 two-point kicks for Richland Springs — which scored 1,013 points in 14 games. Daniels also caught six passes for 180 yards with one touchdown and tallied 56 tackles.
Richland Springs earned its second straight Six-Man Division I state championship and third state title in four years as Ethridge, Smith and Daniels concluded their high school careers with a 98-54 win over Rule in San Angelo on Dec. 15. The Coyotes’ Class of 2008 finished their careers with a 56-1 overall record, with the only loss coming in the 2005 state semifinals to Throckmorton.