West Franklin senior one of state's best kept secrets

Greg Mast
The Ottawa Herald
West Franklin senior Cameron Wise’s football prowess and high character led to his selection to the Shrine Bowl.

West Franklin senior Cameron Wise could be one of the best-kept secrets in the state.

Wise comes from a small school which does not possess a lot of football tradition when it comes to state playoffs and state recognition.

Wise has an opportunity to open eyes with his selection to the Shrine Bowl, which will be played June 26 in Hutchinson.

“I am excited to play with other great athletes and see how I match up,” Wise said. “You get the toughest kids when you go into the smaller schools. You can find some good athletes there.”

Wise can be a nightmare for opposing defensive coaches. He can play a variety of positions, all with the big-play potential.

“Football skill-wise, Cameron is the total package,” West Franklin football coach Nathan Teichgraeber said. “His blend of size, speed, change of direction, and football skill make him a dangerous weapon for any football team on both sides of the ball. He is big enough to be physical at the point of attack and play with his hand in the dirt, but he is also athletic enough to split out and run wide receiver routes against smaller defensive backs. 

“Quite simple, he is a matchup nightmare for any opponent.”

Wise is open to play any position asked by the Shrine Bowl coaches.

“I play a hybrid position,” Wise said. “I can play outside linebacker and defensive end as well. Wherever they need me, I can play. I am used to moving around, being used outside of my set position. Wherever they need me, I will play it. I am a tough runner.”

The Falcon senior was a dominant force this past season. Wise made his presence felt in all facets of the game. He scored touchdowns in four ways: rushing, receiving, passing and defense.

That athletic talent combined with his high character led Teichgraeber to nominate Wise for the prestigious all-star game.

“We were thrilled with the announcement of Cameron being selected to participate in the 2021 Kansas Shrine Bowl,” Teichgraeber said. “Watching our kids achieve their dreams is the best part of teaching and coaching. This was the first Shrine Bowl selection for West Franklin.”

Wise said being the first from his consolidated school to be selected to the Shrine Bowl is exciting.

"It is nice to make history,” he said. “It is very exciting and satisfying to see my hard work pay off. It is very humbling coming from a small school. I was really excited to be nominated. I am excited to showcase my talents in front of an audience.

“Being able to be that first guy (for) West Franklin to make it to the Shrine Bowl is great. I am honored to (represent West Franklin).”

Teichgraeber said Wise displayed leadership and high character throughout this unprecedented pandemic season.

“Cameron possesses strong character traits, and has a strong worth ethic,” he said. “He was able to 'keep the main thing, the main thing' during the whole COVID-19 summer/football/academic season. He was a leader for us on the field and in the classroom. His No. 1 attribute is his great attitude and ability to work with others.”

Wise said it is an honor to represent the Shriners in their work to help children with various medical issues.

“I knew that it would raise money for the less fortunate and I thought that was an important thing,” he said. “Being able to play and be a part of the cause that will help a lot of people is definitely exciting. It is something I have never been a part of. Something I have always valued is giving to the less fortunate.”

Those traits come from his Christian lifestyle, Wise said.

“I really value my religious beliefs, my Christian upbringing,” he said. “I want to prove to people that I am a great teammate and a great leader, too.”

Wise said the Shrine Bowl should be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

“I knew a lot of great athletes have played in the Shrine Bowl,” he said. “I want to meet new people and fellow athletes, who really love the game of football. Making (lifetime) friendships for sure. That would be awesome.”

Wise, who is a Northwest Missouri State University commit, said there a couple of other NMSU commits on the East squad.

“I can get a jump on building my relationship with them before we start in the fall,” Wise said. “Building a connection for a lifetime is something I am very excited (about).”