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Area gridders set to play in Les Schwab Bowl

Football: The all-star game will be played Saturday at Hillsboro Stadium
by: DAN BROOD ALL-STAR BOWMAN — Sherwood graduate Michael Balfour is one of nine area players selected to play in Saturday's Les Schwab Bowl.

HILLSBORO - Tigers and Timberwolves will be playing together on the same team.

That already makes things plenty interesting - but it gets better.

That's because, on the other sideline, there will be a trio of Bowmen ready for action.

Tigard, Tualatin and Sherwood look to all be well represented at the 64th-annual Les Schwab Bowl, a high school football all-star game, which will start at 6 p.m. Saturday at Hillsboro Stadium.

The game will feature many of the top graduating Class 5A and Class 6A players from around the state.

Tigard and Tualatin players will be part of the South team in Saturday's contest. The Timberwolves, with four representatives, have the most players from any one school on the South squad.

'It's pretty cool,' Tualatin's Brian Balsiger said of being selected to play in the Les Schwab Bowl. 'I've watched it every year since I've been in high school. It's cooler to get to share this with my teammates, who also are my best friends as well.'

Balsiger (6-foot-2, 195 pounds) will be a receiver for the South team. He was a first-team Class 6A All-State selection as a senior, when he helped the Timberwolves reach the state championship game.

Tualatin's Matt Yarbrough (6-0, 195) is one of three quarterbacks on the South team roster. He was a first-team All-Pacific Conference and second-team all-state selection as a senior.

Balsiger and Yarbrough will be joined by a pair of Tualatin linemen in Dan Grimes (6-2, 260) and Jordan Ellisen (6-3, 285). Ellisen and Grimes both were first-team all-state picks on offense while Ellisen also earned first-team all-state accolades on defense.

'I'm excited to get a chance to play with them one last time,' Balsiger said.

Meanwhile, the Tualatin foursome will get a chance to play with a pair of Tigers for the first time.

Tigard's Michael Flannigan (6-0, 202) is listed as a running back/defensive back for the South team. As a Tiger senior, Flannigan was a first-team all-league pick as a receiver, defensive back and kick returner. He also was an all-state second-team pick as a defensive back.

Tigard's Beau Hansen (6-0, 200) will play at linebacker for the South team. He was a first-team all-league pick at linebacker for both his junior and senior years at Tigard. He also was an honorable-mention all-state pick at linebacker.

Other Pacific Conference players, who are the North team roster, include Mikie Rodriguez, Tyler Fernstrom, Heath English and Jason Ferguson of Hillsboro and Hayden Plinke of Glencoe

Sherwood, which won the 2010 Class 5A state championship, will have three players on the North team in Saturday's game.

Sherwood's Jake Lawrence (6-0, 180) will play at receiver for the North. As a Bowmen senior, Lawrence was a first-team All-Northwest Oregon Conference pick on both offense and defense. He also was an honorable mention Class 5A all-state pick at receiver.

Sherwood will also have a pair of linebackers in the game in Michael Balfour (6-0, 220) and Trent Duppenthaler (6-2, 230).

Balfour and Duppenthaler both earned first-team all-state honors on defense for their play in the Bowmen's 2010 state championship season.

Other Northwest Oregon Conference players on the North team include Kody Kansala from Sandy and Neil Ochs of Wilsonville.

Sherwood coach Greg Lawrence is an assistant coach for the North team. Aloha's Chris Casey is the head coach of the North squad.

Former Tigard coach Frank Geske is the head coach for the South team. Geske led Marist to the Class 5A state championship game.

Tualatin's Sarah Grant, Madelyn Reynolds and Katie Watt will be among the cheerleaders for the South team. Sherwood's Mikky Cecil is one of the cheerleaders for the North.

Ticket prices for the Les Schwab Bowl are: $15 for reserved adult; $12 for reserved student/senior; $8 for general admission adult and $6 for general admission student/senior. Tickets are available at the door, or at www.lesschwabbowl.com/ lsb_tickets.htm.

Gates open at 3 p.m.

Saturday's game will wrap up a week full of activities for the North and South teams.

'I'm just excited about the whole week,' Balsiger said.

Event proceeds from the Les Schwab Bowl benefit the Oregon Athletic Coaches Association general scholarship fund and all of Oregon's Class 5A and 6A schools.