Riggs thankful for one more football game opportunity

Hockinson senior had an injury-free season in 2016 for Hawks

By Meg Wochnick, Columbian staff writer

Published:

 

The most pain Devan Riggs’ felt was the time lost.

Not the pain from breaking his collarbone twice in four months. Not a combined 10 months of rehabilitation, including seven after his 2015 football season at Hockinson ended prematurely.

That, in part, is why Riggs, a recent Hockinson High School graduate, is thankful for the opportunity to play in Saturday’s annual Freedom Bowl Classic football game, featuring some of Southwest Washington’s top graduated seniors in their final high-school game. He views it as a privilege, and he also views it as making up for the lost time.

“It’s nice to be out here again,” Riggs said this week, as the East and West all-stars face off in Saturday’s 7:30 p.m. game at McKenzie Stadium. “It’s nice to put the cleats back on, and where the helmet again. Especially now.”

You see, the tides turned in Riggs’ favor again this past fall — his senior year — after some hard-pressed luck in 2015. That’s when he broke his left collarbone twice in a four-month span; first was at summer team camp, and when he returned for the Week 5 nonleague game against Hudson’s Bay after three months of rehab, he broke it again — in the same spot — trying to avoid an Eagles player heading out of bounds.

Two cleans breaks equaled one tough break for Riggs. Fortunately, surgery wasn’t needed either time, but the injury the second time around cost him the rest of the 2015 season. Hockinson went 11-1 overall and reached the 2A state quarterfinals with Riggs sidelined, heartbroken.

“I knew we were going to go far; I wanted to be a part of that,” Riggs said.

Now, after an injury-free senior season in 2016 with 527 receiving yards on 26 catches and seven touchdowns, he’s one of six Hockinson players on the Freedom Bowl Classic’s East roster, coached by Hawks head coach Rick Steele.

It might be Riggs’ last organized game, too. He said playing college football at Boise State, where he’ll enroll in the fall, is a possibility for 2018 should he land a walk-on spot. But regardless, he’s hoping to make the most from Saturday.

“Hopefully make some good plays,” he said. “Maybe put some kids on the ground, but not hurt them.”

Freedom Bowl Classic

Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. Saturday at McKenzie Stadium. 
Radio: AM 1080

Tickets: $10.

Rosters

EAST

Kevin Aguirre, Prairie

Denis Baraiac, Heritage

Ryan Bishop, Hockinson

Nick Bobst, Prairie

Wyatt Close, Prairie

Theodore Fischer, Heritage

Alec Gawley, Prairie

Clayton Hansen, Stevenson

Tashiem Hurse, Heritage

Gannon Kytola, Hockinson

Gavin Lee, Heritage

Seth Mattix, Hockinson

Austin McLaughlin, Washougal

Luke Miller, Mountain View

Bryson Pena, Prairie

Bryan Person, Prairie

Devan Riggs, Hockinson

Zachary Saeman, Hockinson

Whitey Sosene, Heritage

Jaelen Stephen, Prairie

Jason Williams, Hockinson

Head coach: Rick Steele, Hockinson

WEST

Jared Bacon, Hudson’s Bay

Adam Blake, Battle Ground

Kaleb Fletcher-Haggard, Columbia River

Dalton Garrett, Columbia River

Matt Garrison, King’s Way Christian

Michael Garrison, King’s Way Christian

Jordan Hickman, Hudson’s Bay

Ryan Hull, Hudson’s Bay

Ashtin Jennings, R.A. Long

Daylin Kemmer, Ilwaco

Blake Krout, La Center

Spencer Matz, Battle Ground

Zack McCarthy, Mark Morris

Dillon Miller, R.A. Long

Derek Nelson, Skyview

Levi Nickelson, Skyview

Riley Opgrande, R.A. Long

Hunter Pearson, Columbia River

Walter Romero, Columbia River

Shawn Sadler, Columbia River

Keith Stricker, Columbia River

Sergio Vega-McBride, Hudson’s Bay

Casey WIshon, Hudson’s Bay

Jeremiah Wright, Skyview

Head coach: Christian Swain, Columbia River