Hawkeye freshmen shine in their final high school game, the Iowa Shrine Bowl

Published: Jul. 27, 2022 at 10:54 PM CDT
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CEDAR FALLS, Iowa (KCRG) - It was easy to see he was the best defensive player at the Shrine Bowl, but the most popular player at the UNI Dome was also future Hawkeye Aaron Graves.

His teammates on the North team yelled out his name when he won the defensive most valuable player award.

“It kind of started like a couple of the guys started screaming ‘Aaron Graves’ in public just to embarass me,” Graves said. “So of course they do it at the end of the game in front of the whole crowd.”

“I’ve gotten to know a lot of the guys and it’s been a great experience. Just like the brotherhood I’ve formed with these guys is special.”

That brotherhood will grow even deeper with his Hawkeye teammates Landyn Van Kekerix, who won the North’s offensive MVP, and Luke Gaffney.

“I think it says a lot, ‘best in Iowa go to Iowa,’” Gaffney, who was named all-state after his senior year at Linn-Mar, said. “I couldn’t be happier for Aaron graves, love that man, same thing for Landyn.”

Even though it was just an All-Star game, Graves says the week helped prepare him to get back to Iowa.

“This was a perfect way to prepare us for this season just kind of getting the pads on playing football.”

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