By Dennis Minich
On Dec. 1, Ben Styron accomplished something which had not happened in 67 years. He scored points in the Mineral Water Bowl game. The last player to accomplish the feat was Robin Wright, playing for the Harrisonville Wildcats on Thanksgiving Day in 1951, the last year the game was played by high school athletes.
Styron, a graduate of Harrisonville High School, is the kicker for the Missouri University of Science and Technology Miners and he scored nine points, one field goal and six extra points as the Miners upended Minnesota State University – Moorhead 51-16 in the annual bowl game played in Excelsior Springs. The Miners finished second in the Great Lakes Valley Conference this year.
He laughed as he talked about his historic accomplishment.
“I didn’t know about it, but then I saw it on social media and thought that’s pretty cool,” he said.
Styron is also making a name for himself in Missouri S&T’s history. With the conclusion of his junior season, he has scored 242 points, the most ever by a Miners’ kicker. He started his career as a walk on at the time, but has since not only earned a scholarship, but for the past two years has been a second-team all-conference pick.
While a NCAA Division II bowl game might not have all of the glamour of a Division I event, Styron said the trip to Excelsior Springs was a fun event.
“It was really cool. We traveled up on Thursday and got to stay at The Elms. There was a banquet that night where we got to meet the other team.
“The next day we practiced and then went to eat in Kansas City and toured Arrowhead Stadium. We had another banquet where we learned about the history of the event. The next day was the game,” he said.
Styron, son of Sam and Pattie Styron, is majoring in civil engineering
Wright scored two touchdowns in the 1951 game in which Harrisonville topped Higginsville 14-13.