Memories flow as West beats East at Freedom Bowl Classic

Late Hunter Pearson in minds of players at summer all-star classic

By Meg Wochnick, Columbian staff writer

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The play’s name is Stretch.

It’s nothing fancy; it’s a simply run play, and if you watched Columbia River’s football team this past fall, it was a popular play every game.

So on a night when the halftime ceremony of the 15th Freedom Bowl Classic honored the Chieftains’ top rusher last fall, the late Hunter Pearson, including a presentation of his would-have-been game-worn Freedom Bowl jersey to his parents, you bet Nathaniel Trevino, one of four Columbia River players in Saturday’s game, ran for him when it when it was first-and-goal from the 2.

“It gave us that feeling that he was next to us, playing with us,” Trevino said. “He always gained more yards than I did.”

It was the first of two touchdowns on the night by Trevino, named the West’s defensive MVP in what turned out to be a 38-23 victory by the West team at McKenzie Stadium.

Trevino intercepted East quarterback, Kevin Aguirre of Prairie, which set up his eventual 2-yard score the next offensive series to make it a 19-7 game.

But how the West won this one was its passing game.

The Vancouver Public Schools duo of Hudson Bay quarterback Jordan Hickman and Skyview receiver Jeremiah Wright hooked up for three touchdowns as the West led by as much as 32-7.

All of the Hickman-to-Wright touchdowns came in the first half. Wright earned game MVP honors as he finished with a high school-best 267 yards on 13 catches.

Hickman, the West’s offensive MVP, 22 of 44 for 311 yards and four touchdowns.

Aguirre was the East’s offensive MVP finishing with 81 yards rushing and 234 yards passing on 13 of 31 completions. He had two touchdowns, including one to Hockinson’s Devan Riggs as part of the East team’s two fourth-quarter touchdowns.

Hockinson’s Gannon Kytola was the team’s defensive MVP of the game for his handful of tackles.

The Freedom Bowl recognized Pearson, who died in a drowning accident May 27 as part their pregame player introductions, and at halftime when his No. 30 red West team jersey was presented to his parents, George and Marina.