Nick Cody helps inspire Hockinson

By Greg Jayne, Columbian opinion editor

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Nick Cody casts a large shadow — literally and figuratively.

That’s what happens when you are 6-foot-5 and 301 pounds. And that’s what happens when you come from a small high school in Southwest Washington and play at the highest level of college football.

“He’s a very important person to our community,” Hockinson High School coach Rick Steele said of the former Hawks standout. “I know when he’s here on the sideline, he spends half his time posing for pictures and shaking hands and kissing babies.”

Cody, now an offensive lineman for the highly ranked Oregon Ducks, was on the sideline Friday at Hockinson. He watched the Hawks rally for a 14-13 win over Mark Morris of Longview, enhancing his status as a good-luck charm.

“I’m 5-0 when I come back to watch,” said Cody, a fourth-year junior for the Ducks. “It’s really big for me; this is a program I helped build.”

Oregon (4-1) is coming off a 43-15 victory Thursday night over California. It was the Ducks’ fourth straight win since a season-opening loss against Louisiana State.

Cody, who is the starter at right tackle, has appeared in all five games, helping an offense that is averaging 50.2 points a contest.

With the Ducks having a rare Saturday off, he had time to make the trip north for Hockinson’s game. He even celebrated the victory by dousing assistant coach Randy Pearrow with a bucket of water at the final gun.

But that wasn’t the reason Cody came back to Hockinson.

“I just want to come back and show that you never know what can happen if you put work into it,” he said.

Steele said that serves as inspiration for the current Hawks.

“It makes them feel really good that he takes the time to come back,” Steele said. “I mean, here’s a kid who played in the national championship game.”