By Jeremy McDonald
BAKER CITY, Ore.– This ended up being one of those close, great games that you hope for.
After the last two Shriners East-West All-Star Games being decided by a large margin, this was a nail-bitter in the annual All-Star Game put on by the Shriners to benefit the Shriners Hospital Saturday night at Baker High School.
“It meant everything. Just all my new teammates, this was a great week,” Jefferson’s Cody Jurgens said of being a part of the game.
Each team got a week to practice, live up in the dorms and bond in preparation for the game. Jurgens was part of an offensive line that helped put together drives. Tempo helped points the Lions-grad in their success as the West took a 7-0 lead off a Luke McNabb (Scappoose) to Tanner Jackson (Knappa) late in the first quarter.
The West defense limited the East offense to one first half score, off a Connor Martin’s (Adrain) touchdown pass. Martin from 8-Man success with the Antelopes scored was part of the two East strikes with the latter coming with 12.8 seconds left in the third quarter with both squads having a defensive stalemate for the entirety of the game.
For Cascade’s Isaac Schneep, who was flying around Saturday with 5.5 tackles, a forced fumble and a sack to go with two receptions for 14 yards, this week and game served as an introduction for the Cougar-grad for what is to come at Linfield University.
“This is a big introduction for Linfield. All the work, every single guy out here was putting in. All of these guys are working their tails off, but it felt good to come out and see the improvements from stuff like that and getting ready for Linfield,” Schnepp said. “I’ve made some life-long friends. This week has been unbelievable…this has meant a lot to be out here, especially with Lance (Van Hoose), one of my teammates and coming out with a win. At Cascade, we didn’t end the season with a win, so ending our High School careers with a win was crazy.”
Talk about wins, St. Paul’s Clancy Koch played in the 8-Man All-Star Game and was playing defensive back Saturday night in Baker City, both games ended in wins for the former Buckaroo as he closes out his prep career with two All-Star wins.
“It’s a lot of fun to both represent St. Paul, but to play with guys I’ve played against. I’ve made new friends with everyone and win one more football game,” Koch said. “All these guys are so cool. The whole week has been so much fun, we’ve put in so much work. This game was really intense, we’ve been having fun all week but at the end of the day we all knew we all wanted the win. We didn’t want to go home with a loss.”
With how this game was going, it wouldn’t have been a surprise that it went into extra time with overtime. And once again the West defense clamped down as Kenney Tripp (Rainier) came down with an interception to give his offense one more crack at the win.
Enter Woodburn’s Santi Roque-Manzo.
After a few plays to get the West inside the ten, the West on fourth down elected to kick the game-winner. Roque-Manzo had kicked the two extra-points going into the game-winning attempt as he was the lone representative coming from the Bulldog program.
“It actually means a lot to me. Being the only Woodburn kid here, it actually means a lot to represent my community. And this is what I like about the Shrine Game…it’s just a pleasure to be here and get the game-winning field goal for the West side,” Roque-Manzo said. “At the end I had the nerves, I had everyone screaming. It felt nice when it went up through the uprights.
“(This game) meant a lot. I want to thank all my coaches back in Woodburn, everyone on the Woodburn coaching staff. It just means a lot.”
With a storm of noise around the Woodburn-grad, he lined up and hit the 25-yard Field Goal to hand the West team the 17-14 win in Overtime. Walking off the game with the West team screaming onto the field to celebrate their win all together as a team.
From the local Salem-area, Dayton’s Dylan Pipps collected 3.5 tackles, Van Hoose contributed four tackles, Amity’s Hunter Barber picked up a tackle and the Pirates Charlie Estrada added a tackle-and-a-half. Regis’ Andre Pelayo (0.5 tackle), North Salem’s (0.5 Tackle) each helped the West defensively.
Stayton’s Aidan Lulay and Central’s Brayden Foreman were part of the game as well Saturday.
If you would like to donate to the East-West Shriners Football Game: https://www.eastwestshrinefootball.com/donate
Photos By Jeremy McDonald