PENDLETON — Four Pendleton football players will get a chance to play with, and against, some of the top talent in the state next week.
Blake Davis, Aiden Patterson, Everett Willard and Ian Bannister were selected to play for the South team in the 72nd annual Les Schwab Bowl.
The game will be played at 6 p.m. June 15 at Hillsboro Stadium. The South and North teams report Monday and will practice during the week at Pacific University in Forest Grove.
Bucks coach Erik Davis was selected to coach the wide receivers and special teams. He guided the Bucks to a 10-2 season, which ended with a trip to the 5A state semifinals.
“This is very exciting,” coach Davis said. “I want to coach him (son Blake) one more time. One last hurrah before we send them off to college.”
Willard will play at Eastern Oregon University, while Blake Davis, Bannister and Patterson are headed to Western Oregon University.
“It’s a good chance to put the pads on one last time and represent Eastern Oregon,” said Blake Davis, a second team all-state wide receiver. “Playing with Everett one last time will be fun. It will be a really cool experience. I talked to the guys who went last year. It’s bigger than a football game.”
Throughout the week, the players for both teams will go into the community to perform service projects, including hospital visits and mentoring at-risk youths.
“I’m glad we can use our talents and platforms to make a difference in communities,” said Willard, who will line up at center.
The former Bucks were out running routes during spring drills with up-and-coming players this week.
Blake Davis, Patterson and Willard all participated in track, and all four have put in some serious time in the weight room the past few months.
“The one thing about this group, is they have dedicated themselves in the weight room,” coach Davis said. “They were out running routes, and Everett was snapping the ball.”
The Pendleton crew, and the rest of the South team, are primarily from 5A level schools, while the North draws mainly from the Portland area 6A schools.
“We are going to spread it out and have fun,” coach Davis said. “Go out and be athletes and showcase some athletes who are going to the next level. The North is a pretty strong 6A contingent. We will see what the big schools have.”
The South will feature a few 6A players, but there is some exceptional talent at the 5A level, including quarterback Nate Overholt from Wilsonville, who was the Oregon Gatorade Player of the Year.
“It’s exciting to know I will be playing with a guy of that caliber,” said Willard, a first team all-state center. “I’m excited to see how I stack up.”
At 6-foot, 265 pounds, Willard was happy to see he will share the line with the likes of Jahi Richardson (6-3, 310) of South Eugene, Madden Salisbury (6-3, 295) of Sheldom, Andre Beal (6-5, 285) of North Salem, Richard Estrella (6-4, 310) of Churchill and Jacob Ferenczi (6-5, 285) of North Bend.
“I’m not used to being undersized, but in this game, I will be,” Willard said. “I’m just trying to put myself in the best position I can to compete with them.”