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MTV cast, Duck alumni have a ball in charity game

Oregon Football Association raised a few thousand dollars to mentor young people at Saturday's football clinic and scrimmage
by: JOHN LARIVIERE Jonnie Penn, left, of the MTV reality series ‘The Buried Life,’ dodges fellow cast member David Lingwood in a charity football game at Tigard High School Saturday.

Summer isn't normally associated with football, but University of Oregon fans came in droves to Tigard High School Saturday to see some of their favorite players take to the field in a seven-on-seven game to help a local nonprofit.

The Oregon Football Association, a Beaverton-based football mentoring program that puts on football camps for kids across the state, invited more than a dozen former Oregon players to coach a free camp in the afternoon and then play a flag football game in the evening.

Families began lining up outside Tigard High School at 10 a.m., hours before the children's camp began.

'This is really exciting,' said Lesha Clark of Tigard, who brought her children to the camp. 'We moved here from Canby, and they don't do a lot of things with football out there. I got here and was like 'wow.''

Many in attendance didn't bring children, but came to see the Oregon players in action, as well as the game's special guests, the stars of the MTV television show, 'The Buried Life.'

The cast of the reality show, which chronicles four friends as they work to cross items off their bucket list, turned out at the event to help with the camp and then take on the Ducks.

Clark's children may have taken part in the camp, but Clark - dressed in UO garb and waving a large sign supporting 'The Buried Life' - said that she also came to see the cast of one of her favorite shows.

'I love their show; it always makes me cry,' she said. 'I was really excited, I wanted to make sure I got my picture taken with them.'

The cast came to Tigard after accepting a dare from the Oregon Football Association to take on a team of former Oregon players.

'We are super excited to be here and support these kids,' said cast member Ben Nemtin at the event.

Fellow cast member Jonnie Penn agreed.

'(The OFA) put on an amazing event. All the kids are having a ball, and we're honored to be a part of it and see the kids having fun.'

Others in the stands, like former Oregon football player Pat McNally, came to support OFA.

'It's a great program,' said McNally, who played football for the Ducks in the 1970s. 'They're a group of guys looking to help other kids out; it's great.'

It was a festive atmosphere both on and off the field as fans cheered and teammates heckled each other for missed catches and failed plays.

'It was like we were back in college,' said OFA founder and former Oregon safety Ryan DePalo. 'All the Oregon alumni guys had a blast. It was such a success.'

DePalo said the organization was able to raise a few thousand dollars and plans are in the works to put on the event again next year.

'We're thinking this could be an annual thing' he said. 'It's great for all of us to get together and do some fun stuff with the kids.'

And 'The Buried Life' cast?

'They said they wanted to come back, too,' DePalo said.