Offensive MVP only part of what made Shrine Game experience special for QHS’s Flachs


Quincy High School offensive lineman Chris Flachs, who is headed to play at Quincy University, was named the offensive MVP for the blue squad in last Saturday's Illinois High School Shrine Game in Bloomington, Ill. | Photo courtesy Illinois High School Shrine Game

QUINCY — Had the week been solely about football and showcasing his talents for a state-wide audience, Chris Flachs would have walked away satisfied.

The heart-felt moments that accompanied playing the game he loves sent him home humbled.

The recent Quincy High School graduate and soon-to-be Quincy University freshman offensive lineman took part in the Illinois High School Shrine Game last Saturday at Illinois Wesleyan University’s Tucci Stadium in Bloomington.

The 6-foot, 290-pound Flachs was named the Blue squad’s offensive MVP, helping pave the way for a pair of touchdowns despite the Red team winning 21-13. The game featured 86 of the top seniors throughout Illinois playing in their final all-star game.

“I really didn’t think an offensive lineman would get MVP,” Flachs said. “I just went out there to do my job and give it everything I have.”

There was no choice in that matter, not after what Flachs and the other all-stars experienced.

During the five-day event — players arrived on the IWU campus Tuesday and practiced for four days leading up to the game — the all-stars were given the opportunity to interact with patients from Shriners Children’s St. Louis and Shriners Children’s Chicago.

The hospitals are designed to provide innovative pediatric specialty care, research and medical education with specialized physicians providing comprehensive care for orthopedic conditions, spine conditions, neuromuscular conditions, orthotics and prosthetics and plastic surgery.

The players were invited to use some of the prosthetic limbs to accomplish simple tasks, things the Shriners patients do on a daily basis.

“That was pretty humbling,” Flachs said. “It’s interesting when you realize we don’t think about brushing out teeth in the morning, and they have to think how they’re going to do it every day.

“Getting to see how those kids struggle to open Gatorade bottles — some even struggle just to walk — that was eye-opening. It was about learning their stories.”

The emotional response from the players was genuine.

“When we were listening to their stories, some of us were in tears,” Flachs said. “Realizing how good we have it and how lucky we are to be able to play football hit home. That was the whole purpose of being in there. It was about learning and opening our eyes to how lucky we are and how blessed we are.”

The Shriners patients attended last Saturday’s game and interacted with the players prior to warmups. After that, football became the order of business and no one took it lightly.

“It was competitive,” Flachs said. “It got a little chippy. When you bring some of the best players throughout the state of Illinois together and they’re all competitors, it can get chippy.”

Flachs is as competitive, strong and determined as any of them.

“It showed me I can hang with the best of the best, and it reassured me I don’t have to be scared to go play college ball,” Flachs said. “It showed me I can play.”

Quincy High School offensive lineman Chris Flachs was named the offensive MVP for the blue squad during last Saturday’s Illinois High School Shrine Game in Bloomington, Ill. | Submitted photo

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