Health concerns and timing were factors that resulted in the cancellation of the annual North Dakota Shrine Bowl.

It was announced Thursday that, for the first time since its initial game in 1974, the Shrine Bowl has been canceled. Uncertainties surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in calling off the games, which were scheduled to be played July 18 in Fargo.

The Shrine 9- and 11-man games match outstanding seniors in the 2019 high school season from eastern North Dakota against their counterparts from western North Dakota, with some players from western Minnesota added to all the teams.

“It was a very tough decision,’’ said Grand Forks Central High School football coach Bill Lorenz, who is chairman of the North Dakota Shrine Bowl’s 10-member committee. “These seniors have already had so much taken away from them. For a good portion of the players, this would have been the last time playing in a football game. But we felt (canceling the games) was necessary.’’

Safety was the primary concern in the Shrine Bowl, which also is sponsored by the North Dakota High School Coaches Association.

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“We would have had 132 players and 16 coaches all housed in one dormitory, in tight conditions in the locker rooms and dining facilities,’’ Lorenz said. “That was a major concern. We figured the risk was too great. If some kind of outbreak did occur, it would have left a negative image on the games.’’

While the event was canceled approximately two months before the games were to be played, Lorenz said organizing was already behind its normal schedule. Uniforms for all the players had to be ordered. Programs had to be planned and printed. Fund-raising activities had to be organized.

“This was the latest we could wait in order to get all the fundraising going,’’ Lorenz said. “For the actual games, we could have waited longer (to cancel). But there is so much more that goes on behind the scenes that goes into planning this.’’

Profits from the Shrine Bowl are split between the Shrine Hospital in the Twin Cities and a transportation fund to get patients and their families to the hospital.

Last year, the North Dakota Shrine Bowl raised approximately $65,000 for the charities.

“That’s right around the average for us,’’ Lorenz said. “We’re one of the top fund-raising Shrine Bowls in the country.’’

Lorenz said a plan will be made to still honor the players selected to play in the games.

2020 N.D. Shrine Bowl Rosters

11-man East

GF Red River -- Peyton Lotysz; Devils Lake -- Jack Kuntz; Hatton-Northwood -- Avery Thorsgard; Langdon-Edmore-Munich -- Jackson Delvo, Jesse Fetsch; Hillsboro-Central Valley -- Oscar Benson, Micah Gallagher, Isaac Luithle, Gavin Wright; West Fargo -- Marcus Gulley, Dustin Mertz; West Fargo Sheyenne -- Tommy Bright, Elijah Kirkeby, Zach Rodgers, Tyler Terhark; Fargo Davies -- Arthur Harris, Justice Noel; Fargo North -- Peyton Fisher, Braden Jongeward; Fargo Shanley -- Talon Hoffer, Joe Kava; Fargo South -- Nick Antonoplos, Bless Flomo, Jamal Spiyee; Northern Cass -- Colin Conteh; Carrington -- Seth Nelson; Rugby -- Devan Michels; Harvey-Wells County -- Hunter Schuh; Oakes -- Hunter Greenmyer, Logan Sell; Kindred -- Brock Roesler, Dawson Schaffer; Lisbon -- Ethan Lyons, Sam Rieger; Valley City -- Riley Gerhardt.

Alternates

Thompson -- Wade Strande; Devils Lake -- Austin Devier, Joey Frelich; Hatton-Northwood -- Lincoln Ostlie; Langdon-Edmore-Munich -- Sean Gette; Hillsboro-Central Valley -- Joey Camrud, Landen Reed; West Fargo Sheyenne -- Bobby Chalifoux; Fargo Davies -- Sam Moser; Fargo North -- Shawn McClary, Justin Milliard; Fargo Shanley -- Leo Hanson, Jackson Leier; Fargo South -- Dany Lahai, Robert Leslie, Carlos Leyes; Northern Cass -- Jorian Russiff; Carrington -- Colton Buskness; Rugby -- Corey Mattern; Harvey-Wells County -- Lucas Raue; Westhope-Newburg-Glenburn -- Lucas Kveum, Matt Dufner; Central Cass -- Christian Lietz, Jeremiah Sullivan, Junior Totay; Ellendale-Edgeley-Kulm -- Kodie Slivosky; Kindred -- Gunnar Braaten, Andy Freier, Riley Staton; Oakes -- Gabe Quandt; Valley City -- Mitchel Taylor, Austyn Thornton.

Coaches -- Scott Olsen, Hillsboro-Central Valley, assisted by Tyler Kosel, Fargo South, Greg Dobitz, Oakes, and Matt Crane, Kindred.

9-man East

Cavalier -- Andre Carrier, Isiah LeTexier, Colton Ratchenski, Tanner Urlaub; Nelson County -- Parker Frederick; North Border -- Jacob Johnson; Mayville-Portland-CG -- Dawson Sedivec, Sam Satrom; North Prairie -- Garrett Mongeon, Ezera Wuori; Finley-Sharon/Hope-Page -- Jack Ihry, Phillip Platt, Carter Rings; St. John -- Bradley Defender, Adam Jollie, Darrion Wilson; Benson County -- Carter Tandeski; New Rockford-Sheyenne -- Bo Belquist, Nathan Holzwarth, Hunter Thompson; LaMoure-Litchville-Marion -- Zac Thielges; Hankinson -- Hunter Medenwaldt; Richland -- Carter Lingen, Cole Myers, Gavin Reiland.

Alternates

Cavalier -- Colby Thorlakson; Nelson County -- Jon Haman, Dalton Hassel, Brady Larson; North Prairie -- Matthew Greendahl; New Rockford-Sheyenne -- Nick Presnell; Hankinson -- Noah Falk, Skylar Keller.

Coaches -- Elliott Belquist, New Rockford-Sheyenne, assisted by Larry Fountain and Andrew Kainz, Finley-Sharon/Hope-Page, and Josh Keller, North Prairie.

11-man West

Dickinson -- Peyton Hanson; Bismarck High -- Thomas Colby, Nick Hinsz; Bismarck Century -- Grant Anderson, Damon Dixon, Cade Feeney, Nick Korom, Skyler Riedinger, Cody Sorenson; Bismarck Legacy -- Rhett Clements, Keaton Erhardt, Josh Haag; Bismarck St. Mary’s -- Chris Birnbaum, Connor Puetz; Mandan -- Austin Frey, Elijah Klein, Kobe Poitra; Minot -- Johnny Butz, Derry Lentz, Preston Olson, Payton Philion; Minot Bishop Ryan -- Keegan Henjum, Corbin Okeson; Hazen -- Isaac Doll, Fred Lundstrom; Bowman County -- Matt Osendorf, Jacob Svihovec; Beulah -- Tryston Miller, Korey Rueb, Cade Steffan; Turtle Mountain -- Darrick Frederick; Williston -- Caleb Doeden, Connor Murphy, Denver Sheets; Southern McLean -- Jack Sannes.

Alternates

Jamestown -- Thomas Falk; Dickinson -- Alex Praus; Bismarck High -- Jared Hager, Tyce Halter; Bismarck St. Mary’s -- Drew Dosch; Bismarck Shiloh Christian -- Josh Lardy, Jaden Mitzel; Mandan -- Dane Carlson, Will Kleinknecht, Aaron Riopelle; Minot -- Triston Emke, Parker Jacobson, Preston Jones, Carter Peterson, Hunter Sidener; Kenmare-Bowbells-Burke Central -- Keagan Lautenschlager, Garrett Stroklund; Des Lacs-Burlington -- Jameson Lesmann, Coy Spooner; Turtle Mountain -- Kobe LaVallie, Keisin Peltier, Diego Samuelson; Bowman County -- Nate Boehm, Jaxson Fischer, Andrew Narum, Mitch Stuber; Beulah -- Jonah Larson, Jace Lee; Richardton-Taylor-Hebron -- Skyler Heiser, Britton Paulson, Owen Voigt; Hazen -- Gabe Pfliger, Tyson VanInwagen, Garrett Ward, Garret Werr; Southern McLean -- Dylan Williams.

Coaches -- Ron Wingenbach, Bismarck Century, assisted by Rod Breitbach, Century, Todd Frie, Bowman County, and Kasey Koepplin, Beulah.

9-man West

Towner-Granville-Upham -- Reese Mohagen, Jared Lovro; Mohall-Lansford-Sherwood -- Henry Savelkoul; Kidder County -- Ty Biesterfeld, Parker Hager, Isaiah Harter, Thomas Thompson; Linton-HMB -- Jaden Bosch, Paul McCrory, Chandler Nagel, Quinn Roemmich; Grant County-Flasher -- Greg Greicar, Joey Leingang, Steven Schmid; Ray-Powers Lake -- Isaac Nordloef, Wyatt Puckett; Divide County -- Brendon Molloy; Central McLean -- Parker Christenson, Kayden Hornberger, Ty Snyder; Beach -- Gage Swanson; Surrey -- Kolby Nelson, Ryder Holien; Mott-Regent-New England -- Jaxon Hewson; Center-Stanton -- Ben Thompson.

Alternates

Mohall-Lansford-Sherwood -- Nate Beha, Kaleb Foltyn, Garrett Schmidt, Adam Southam; Central McLean -- Nathan Sims; Beach -- Jhett Farstveet; South Border -- Payton Hulm; Surrey -- Cody Fuchs; Standing Rock -- Ethan Thunder Hawk.

Coaches -- Jack Biesterfeld, Kidder County, assisted by Ben Wollenzien, Towner-Granville-Upham, Tanner Purintun, Linton-H-M-B, and Mark Kennedy, Surrey.