Freedom fighters

Camas and Washougal football players team up for children at Shriner's Hospital

By Dan Trujillo, Columbian staff writer

Published:

 

One more week of high school football starts today for the 83 graduates selected to play in Saturday’s Freedom Bowl Classic, at Kiggins Bowl.

Eight of these athletes are from Camas, and two more are from Washougal. These proud Panthers and Papermakers will put their differences aside and work together to raise money and awareness for the children of Shriner’s Hospital.

“One of the things you learn is life’s a lot bigger than football. Not everybody is dealt the same cards,” said East All-Stars head coach Bob Jacobs of Washougal. “There are a bunch of kids in that hospital who would love the opportunity to be able to play football. In some ways, we are playing for them.”

The all-stars from Camas include offensive lineman David Anderson, tight end Kyle Ervin, wide receiver and defensive back Jeremy Faulkner, quarterback Logan Grindy, linebacker Ikaika Gunderson, wide receiver and defensive back Addison Owen, and wide receiver and defensive back Miguel Salamanca. Running back and linebacker Ryan Erdwins, and offensive and defensive lineman Robert Melton are the representatives from Washougal. For a list of participants from the other high schools involved, go to www.freedombowlclassic.com.

The East All-Stars are practicing in the evenings this week, at Fishback Stadium in Washougal. Both teams meet tonight at a barbecue, before visiting the Shriner’s Hospital later in the week. All of these events lead up to the game Saturday. Player introductions begin at 6:45 p.m., followed by the opening kick off at 7:30.

“We are going to do the best we can in these four days of practice to be competitive, have fun and be classy. It’s going to be fast and furious,” Jacobs said. “It’s great that these guys are getting the opportunity to play high school football one more time. Ultimately, the goal is to raise as much money as we can for the hospital. You couldn’t find a higher calling.”

Before the high school stars take the field, four Clark County Youth Football teams have been selected to play at 2 and 4 p.m. The first game features the fourth- and fifth-grade Washougal Panthers taking on the North County Colts. The Panthers are coached by Leon Connz.

“After only one year in the league, we are proud of our boys for being recognized for their sense of fair play,” said assistant coach Ron Stevens. “Our kids were not chosen for this event based on their record. They were chosen because of good sportsmanship, integrity for the game and effort.

“We didn’t have the best record, but the teams that played us knew they were in a football game,” he added. “Our kids played hard until the final whistle because they are so dedicated.”

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