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Girres Receives Special Statewide Honors

By Staff | Mar 24, 2016

PLAYER?OF?THE?YEAR - GT/RA’s Michael Girres, left, was named the Eight-Man Player of the Year by the Iowa Football Coaches Association. Girres will also play for the North Squad in the 2016 Iowa Shrine Senior All Star Game in July at UNI. -- Dan Voigt photo

GRAETTINGER – It’s been quite the year for Michael Girres of Graettinger.

The 5’11” 200-pound son of Doug and Staci Girres led the Graettinger-Terril/Ruthven-Ayrshire Titans into the playoffs, earned Iowa Newspaper Association All State Honors as well as All District Honors.

At the beginning of the year, Girres was selected to play on the North Squad for the 2016 Iowa Shrine All Star Football Game in July.

But in the last week, Girres was voted as the Eight-Man Player of the Year by the Iowa Football Coaches Association.

To top it off, Girres has also signed a National Letter of Intent to continue his football career after graduation at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, SD.

So how does one earn the honor of Eight-Man Player of the Year, among his other honors?

It’s through hard work, determination and a love of the game.

After suffering an injury in the final playoff game of the 2014 season, Girres missed the basketball season, but worked on rehabbing in order to compete in track and field in 2015. A stint on the diamond over the summer served as a warm up for the football season in 2015, and when the first kickoff opened the season, Girres was on his way.

As the senior quarterback for Coach Todd Hough’s Titans, Girres became the focus of every team’s defense through the season, due to the multi-faceted threat he posed on the field.

Girres attempted 77 passes during the season and completed 45 throws to tally 723 yards and 11 touchdowns with just three interceptions. That gave Girres an average completion of 16.1 yards per pass.

But it was with his legs that Girres made his statement on the gridiron. Rushing the ball, Girres carried the pigskin 235 times during the season, and racked up 2,055 yards, an average of 8.7 yards per carry. He would go on to score 37 touchdowns, with his longest scoring run being a 65-yard jaunt.

Showing his versatility, Girres would catch three passes for a total of 94 yards, an average of 31.3 yards per catch, and scored two touchdowns off those catches, including a 45-yard catch for a score.

All told on offense, Michael would tally a total of 222 points through rushing and 12 points from pass receptions, as well as scoring 22 points off of two-point conversions attempts. And, Girres also scored 36 points off punt returns and returns of kickoffs during the season.

In the Eight-man game, a majority of players go both ways, playing both offense and defense, and Girres was no different. The senior made 62 solo tackles and added 21 assisted tackles for 83 total tackles on the season. Girres also fielded seven kick offs, returning the kicks a total of 360 yards for an average return of 51.4 yards. He would go on to score four touchdowns off those returns, with a long run-back of 78 yards. He also fielded four punts for 162 yards, an average of 40.5 yards per return and scored two touchdowns off those returns, including a 67-yard return for a score.

But along with his prowess on the gridiron, Girres also stands out in his school and community, factors which led to his selection to the 2016 Iowa Shrine Senior All Star Game. The 44th Annual Shrine Senior All Star Game will be played July 23 in the UNI Dome at the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls.

The Iowa Shrine All-Star game is an event, which extends the maximum visibility to the Shiner’s great philanthropy 18 orthopedic hospitals, three burn centers, and one hospital that treats all types of needs in North America.

To be selected to the Shrine Senior All Star game, players are nominated by coaches, who are asked to nominated both offensive and defensive players they feel would be a good representative of their school and community.

The player must not only a good athlete, but also one who is also academically successful, and active in school and community activities. In July the Iowa High School Coaches Association selects a Head Coach for each Squad. They in turn select five assistants so as to have one from Class 4-A, 3-A, 2-A, and 1A/A. and 8 person. The coaches select the players from the nominations submitted earlier by their coaches. Every effort is made to select players from across the State, with a representative balance in the number of players from each Shrine Center jurisdiction.

There are 46 graduating High School Seniors selected for each Squad by the coaching staffs. The division line for the North and South basically is Highway 30 as it crosses the State, East to West, with the western extension from Denison to Onawa. All schools bordering Highway 30 have players on the South Squad, except for the Cedar Rapids schools where the players are on the North Squad. The exception is Cedar Rapids Prairie, which represents the South Squad. In 1986 the number of players was increased from 40 to 44 to permit participation of more small schools on the All-Star squads. In the 2002 game an additional kicker was added and in 2006 a punter was added for a total of 46.

The Shrine Senior All Star Game is administered by a Board of Directors, which is structured to have three Shriners from each of Iowa’s four Shrine Centers: Abu Bekr of Sioux City; El Kahir of Cedar Rapids; Kaaba of Davenport; and Za-Ga-Zig of Altoona. The Board appoints a General Manager each year, which is responsible to the Board for the administration of the annual All-Star game.

Not only are senior football players honored, but All Star Game Cheerleading squads are also part of the program. Several years ago, the Shriners added the All-Star Cheerleader program which has been very successful. The cheer squad members are nominated by their schools and must attend a tryout, which is held in January. Professional trainers, who are judges, assist in the selection of who are invited to attend the pre-game camp. A total of 60 cheerleaders are selected each year for the All Star Game.

In past years, players and cheerleaders would travel to one of the Shriners’ Hospitals in Minneapolis or St. Louis, but this year, a “Mini-Camp” will be held on the UNI campus in Cedar Falls for the hospital children. All children will work with the football players and cheerleaders to learn skills of football and cheerleading during the day camp.

The players and cheerleader’s enthusiasm for the day of this annual game will be heightened when they see how their efforts in the game will help hundreds of Iowa’s physically handicapped children.

The operating budget for the Shriners’ network of hospitals and burn centers is $826 million, which is over $2.2 million dollars per day to run the various hospital facilities.

The contributions from the annual Shrine Senior All Star Game now total over $2.6 million dollars in support of The Shriner’s Hospitals for Children programs. All profits from the game are distributed to The Shriner’s Hospitals for Children.