By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– The challenge was there for Cody Price following his AC Sprain Week 1 against Liberty to stay involved with his squad on the road to recovery.
Over the next four weeks before returning their sixth-game of the year against McNary, Price had remained a vital part for the Sprague team who went 2-2 after his return to the Olympians Week 6 of the 2019 season. Something that Head Coach Jay Minyard was happy to see from the Running Back and Linebacker.
“He did a great job of staying in tune with our game plans and practices while he was injured, which made it real easy for him to translate back into playing and being a leader on the field for us,” said Minyard. “He’s a very tough kid, and I think he was playing through more pain than he let on. He was a real shot in the arm to have back for league play and was an integral part of us improving and finishing 2-2 in league play.
“He also has great work ethic and is a great team leader.”
Price was a Second Team Linebacker and an Honorable Mention Running Back for Sprague after the season as the Senior commits to play at George Fox University for football.
“In high school with the new league changes our schedule became very difficult and we had to overcome this,” said Price, who will be majoring in Engineering. “Even though we didn’t finish with the record we wanted to I still loved every moment of the journey and I can’t wait for the next chapter to improve as a player and person.
“I was determined for that not to be the end of my senior season. My whole goal was to get it good enough to play in our big rivalry game against south and I achieved that goal. I was a little hesitant for the first half of that game but I feel like I found my stride again after that. I was still battling it throughout the season but with dedication it continued to get better to the point where I was even able to take the load of playing both linebacker and running back.”
The tough schedule with the new Mountain Valley Conference with it’s challenges of the five non-league games that featured teams like Central Catholic, Liberty, Tigard and Sherwood has helped mold them.
Elias Polanski himself knew how tough those preseason games were on top of the slate against teams like McNary and West Salem were as Polanski joins Price at GFU for football.
“It made me have to step up even more as a leader to keep my teammates heads up and keep getting better every day. It taught me that how to over come adversity and keep working,” said Polanski, who once was a third-string Quarterback not to long ago for Sprague.
“I’m working on getting bigger, faster, and stronger for these next four years. I will be focusing on getting to learn the new playbook and system as fast as possible to get up to speed.”
Despite his short stature, at five-nine, his work ethic garnered the Senior Honorable Mention All-League Team MVP in 2019 as well as team offensive Player of the Year in 2018. Polanski will major in Exercise Science.
The big move came from Judson Blair. The Senior who is a three-time District Champion, finished third at State as a freshman, second as a Junior at the State Meet and placed third in the National Indoor tournament in Kansas City and ranked 24th in the National rankings as he commits to San Diego State University.
“High school has been a great way for me to be the best I can, while helping other teammates along the way,” said Blair, who’s planning to major in Business Finance major. “I am looking forward to my college experience because I’m excited to have opportunities to work hard and achieve goals, and becoming one of the best. “
The hard work on and off the court of play has helped Blair to achieve this moment, working three-plus hours a day in Portland to prepare for this moment while trying to leave his mark behind him.
“One of the main reasons I have improved so much, is because of the fact that I put in just as much work off the court as I do on the court,” said Blair. “I travel to Portland to train with an academy at the University of Portland and train for 3+ hours a day on court. Off court about another hour. Some of my goals are making the NCAA tournament, and playing top three in the lineup during my freshman year.
“I love the team aspect of sports because I think it builds great character. Being an individual sport athlete has definitely shaped me differently than other athletes, but I still want my teammates to succeed and do the best they can. That is what I am also excited to be apart of a new team at SDSU.”