By Jeremy McDonald
AMITY, Ore.– Amity’s Jacob Bernards remembers his first start of his Varsity career. It was their fourth-game of the season against Clatskanie, stepping in for Jeffery Coleman who was out with an injury.
The Warriors entered the game 2-1 on the year en route to a 7-3 season that year, reaching the 3A opening round before falling to Harrisburg a few weeks later. There was no doubt there was nerves for the then-young offensive lineman stepping in where his team needed him, but coming out of the 32-27 victory that Friday night, Bernards was confidence in his ability.
“I felt like I really proved myself that game. But before the game I had butterflies in my stomach and couldn’t sit still. My adrenaline was pumping I was probably the most nervous I’ve ever been,” Bernards laughed about that day.
Pressure was there to perform well in Amity, considering some strong programs they’ve went up against in recent years like Rainier, Santiam Christian, Dayton and Willamina. The expectation is to win, so it makes you want to work harder.
“It made me work a lot harder on and off the field. I’d practice harder and I’d workout harder. I always had the mentality that I was overlooked that I wasn’t one of the guys the other team was preparing for,” said Bernards. “So, every game I wanted them to remember me for the next time.”
The Warriors reached the playoffs the next two years. Reaching the 3A State Semi-Final round in 2018 and the 3A Quarterfinals this past season. Bernards was a 3A Second-Team All-State Selection this past Fall for Amity, who went 8-3 in 2019.
To wrap up his High School career, the six-foot-four-inch, 250-pound offensive lineman was selected to the 1A-4A East-West Shrine Game in Baker City to be held in August. A big honor considering teammate Robby Scharf was apart of the game last Summer following his Senior year.
With the Coronavirus Pandemic however, it brings up a bigger life lesson of how to step up to adversity on-and-off the field. At the end of the day, Bernards has been blessed to be a part of such a supportive community as the one in Amity.
“It was a huge honor to even get invited to something like that. And I was working hard to prepare for that,” starts Bernards. “For it to just get canceled was a terrible feeling because it would’ve been one more time stepping on the field. But this virus has been teaching me many lessons about life and how unfair it can be.
“Playing for amity has been amazing I don’t know of a more supportive community. I have nothing but love for everyone in that community. And I just feel very blessed to be able to call myself an Amity alumni.”