PENDLETON — For 14 former Buckaroo all-stars, the glory days are a gift that keeps on giving.
On Friday night, the Pendleton Linebacker’s Club welcomed over 300 friends, family, and past inductees alike to the Pendleton Convention Center, where they honored a select group of standout former Pendleton High School athletes and added them into their longstanding and ever-growing Hall of Fame.
“Every one of these inductees had a huge impact on Pendleton High School Athletics,” said Linebacker’s President Dennis Hunt. “And they all went on to compete at the collegiate level. That’s really special.”
The induction followed an evening of cocktails, dinner, and an auction of items that ranged from Portland Trail Blazers tickets and parking passes to a University of Oregon Ducks football helmet.
This year’s class of honorees was voted on by the Pendleton athletic community at the beginning of the year.
The 14 new members joined the likes of former Bucks softball coach Steve Cary, former PHS basketball and golf coach Dale Warberg, and Pendleton alumnus Bob Lilly, who went on to play 14 seasons with the Dallas Cowboys.
From 1995-98, Hunt was a 10-letter Buckaroo athlete who competed in football, wrestling, and baseball. He was a receiver and defensive back for one year under coach Wayne Looney, and played for former coaches Cary, Lyle Phelps, and Mike Hodgen on the baseball diamond, where he earned four of his letters.
However, neither of those accomplishments compared to his time as a wrestler, where he would become one of the school’s most-decorated athletes. Hunt won a state title at 135 pounds for his senior season, where he went 35-0.
After graduation, Hunt would enroll in Portland State University and transfer to the University of Oregon, where he earned three more wrestling letters at 141 and 149 pounds.
“I’m honored and I’m humbled,” Hunt said. “The Pendleton community is very supportive of their athletes.”
From 1974-78, Peterson collected nine letters during his time as a football, basketball, and baseball athlete. He was a two-year starting quarterback, leading his team to the semifinals in 1977. To this day, he remains in the top 12 Buckaroos in passing yards and touchdown passes.
On the court, he aided in a state championship run in 1978.
On the diamond, Peterson amassed a .316 hitting career and tallied over 70 career hits. He was named to the All-Conference First Team as a shortstop.
Peterson continued his baseball career at Blue Mountain Community College, Lane Community College in Eugene, and the University of Oregon Club Team.
He eventually returned to BMCC to coach basketball, as well as girls basketball at Pendleton and Gresham High School.
From 1995-99, Keeler was an honor student who joined Pendleton’s basketball, softball, soccer, and track teams.
Although she earned an All-Conference mention in track, basketball was her sport of choice. She was a four-year starter and a four-year alternate conference player each year, a two-time IMC Player of the Year in 1998-99, a two-time All-State mention, and earned an array of other honors, including Umatilla County’s Female Athlete of the Year, Oregon’s Top 20 Female Athlete of the Year, and USA Today‘s All-American Honorable Mention for her senior season.
At the University of Washington, Keeler joined the Huskies basketball team, which won the Pac-10 Conference once and twice made a run in the NCAAs. She led the team in blocked shots.
After college, she coached at the University of Portland and Central Washington University.
“I was lucky to be a part of such great teams and have great coaches,” Keeler said. “I can’t say enough about my experience as a Buckaroo.”
Hodgen is a Pendleton athletics mainstay from the Class of 1967. He played baseball at Eastern Oregon University, and has coached high school baseball for the past 44 years, including 27 years with Pendleton’s American Legion teams.
Sara Jane Rosenberg
A decorated volleyball and track athlete, Rosenberg was a four-time long jump champion from 2001-04, and still holds the district record in the event. She was also a two-time triple jump champion from 2003-04.
She was also a member of the girls 4x100 relay teams for all four years, and was a part of the district championships in 2001 and 2004, where the team placed fourth in the state both years.
Rosenberg received a track scholarship to the University of Idaho.
The 1963 class president, McCrae was a starting guard for Warberg’s champion basketball team, and played football as a sophomore for coach Don Requa.
He was also Pendleton’s top golfer for four years, from 1961-64, gaining four letters. He won the district title his senior year, and led that team to a sixth-place finish in the state tournament.
At Oregon State University, he was a four-year golfer, playing at No. 1 for his last two years. He was also co-captain of the team. His post-college career earned him four Round-Up City Amateur Championship titles.
Corey played football, but baseball is where he shined. He threw a no-hitter in a 1992 state title game against La Grande. He was also a top pitcher at Willamette University from 1994-98.
He went on to play semi-pro for the Atlanta Braves. He also helped the Myrtle Beach Pelicans win a championship with their debut season of pro baseball.
He finished his pro career with the Milwaukee Brewers organization.
After earning All-Conference and All-State honors during his time on the Bucks football team from 1956-58, Fossatti was a freshman linebacker and center at the University of Oregon.
Fossatti was also a catcher and outfielder for the Bucks from 1957-59 under coach Bob White and competed in the state golf tournament in 1958.
He brought his athletic knowledge to Lake Oswego High School, where he coached football from 1966-71 and golf from 1967-71. He also coached at Lakeridge. His skills earned him three Coach of the Year awards and a National High School Golf Coach of the Year nomination in 1985.
A three-year football letterman, Larson played football, basketball, and track from 1997-2001.
For his final season, Larson caught 28 passes for 703 yards, including 11 touchdowns. He averaged over 25 yards per catch. He was named to the All-Eastern Oregon Team by the East Oregonian as a tight end and safety. He is 16th all-time in career catches.
He gained All-Conference First Team recognitions in his senior year in Bucks basketball, and holds the third all-time longest triple jump at 44.6 feet, as well as ninth in javelin throwing at 159.3 feet in 2002. He now teaches and coaches at Lakeridge.
Rickman was a two-year starter on the Bucks 1981 and 1982 football teams and was twice an All-IMC linebacker. He also earned the Hammer Award for most tackles both seasons.
Rickman earned three letters in basketball and earned another All-IMC mention for his 1983 senior year. He also found time for one year of baseball under Lyle Phelps.
He would earn a full-ride scholarship to the University of Montana, where he played one more season of football.
In the fall of 1970, Ransom grabbed 12 passes for 165 yards with a 13-yard-per-catch average. He would go on to score 50 points to earn a Shrine All-State honor for his one and only season with Pendleton football. His talent got him a football scholarship to the University of Las Vegas, Nevada.
1963-64 Buckaroo Football Team
This legendary Pendleton football program included Linebacker’s Hall of Famers Dick Jones, Jack Baird, Jim Rackley, Eric Larson, Steve Cary, Mike Temple, and Gary Froberg.
“They were all really great athletes,” said Jim Rohde, a defensive tackle on the team. “We were undersized, but we were light and quick.”
Under coach Requa, the team scored 322 points and gave up just 68. They went 9-1 and fell 14-9 against the North Salem Vikings at Round-Up Stadium.
“You respected him a lot,” Rohde said of Requa. “When he spoke, you listened. He could be tough.”
A football, basketball, and baseball athlete, Jenson collected three letters from 1968-72.
On the court, he scored over 600 career points, averaging 18.2 per game as a senior. He also led his team in assists and was named to the All-Conference First Team.
Jenson is an active member in the Pendleton athletics community, having coached a variety of youth sports over the past 40 years, including AAU basketball and youth basketball, baseball, softball, and soccer. He also serves on the Pendleton School Board, and is a director at Happy Canyon.
A two-time All-Conference volleyball player, Johnston’s team went 17-5 for her junior year, and 19-5 as a senior. She led her team in attacks.
For her 1984-85 basketball season, she and her team made school history with their first state appearance under coach George McClendon. She is the second-highest Bucks scorer of all time with 779 career points and an 18 per-game average. She was also hot off the board with 11 rebounds per game.
Her basketball skills earned her a full ride at Oregon State University, where she competed in the Pac-10.
In track, Johnston placed sixth in the discus event as a junior, hurling for 134.1 feet, the second-longest throw in school history.
In addition to the night’s inductees, three Bucks from the Class of 2019 were also honored with a series of scholarships.
Aiden Patterson, a football player and wrestler, earned the $10,000 Don Requa Award. He’ll play football at Western Oregon University this fall.
“I remember being a freshman and seeing seniors receiving this scholarship, and thinking, ‘I really want to be that guy,’” Patterson said during his acceptance speech. “And now, I’m really proud to be that guy.”
Patterson’s football teammate Kirk Liscom received the $4,000 Alex Stuvland Memorial Scholarship.
The $10,000 Schindler Bush scholarship, awarded to a three-sport Buckaroo, went to Shawn Yeager, who excelled in football, wrestling, and track.
And the Linebacker’s own $1,200 scholarship, comprised entirely of donations, was awarded to Hunter Blake, a kicker for the Bucks football team. Blake was the school’s first-ever female varsity football player.