Two Pacers, one Laker to play in Fridays Les Schwab Bowl
A trio of Lake Oswegans will represent their respective teams at the upcoming Les Schwab football game on Friday, June 22. Taylor Young and Sean Howley from Lakeridge each earned a spot on the North roster along with Lake Oswego's Kyle Lavender.
Local standouts have traditionally fared well at the annual all-star showcase, featuring some of the top graduating seniors in the state and it's a safe bet to assume that the Pacers and Lakers will shine once again.
Lakeridge's Taylor Young was one of the most feared players in the Three Rivers League last year on both sides of the ball. As a receiver, there were moments where he looked unstoppable.
'Taylor's a great kid. I wouldn't be surprised to see him playing on Saturdays in the near future,' Pacer assistant coach Forest Marcum said.
One of the most lethal plays in the Pacers' arsenal last season was a simple toss to Young along the sideline whether he was single or double coverage. Acrobatic catches, often in the end zone, became routine for the talented senior who dominated opponents with both his size and quickness.
'He was an absolutely huge weapon for us on offense,' Marcum said.
But it wasn't just Young's athletic abilities which impressed his coaches. He worked exceedingly hard off the field to improve his game and was one of the more knowledgeable players on his team by the season's end.
'He's one of the best route runners I've seen and one of the best defenders we've had. He was in the weight room every day,' Marcum said.
Young will attend a junior college next year and will gain valuable experience with the intention of signing on with a bigger program later on.
Young's teammate, lineman Sean Howley, was equally valuable to the Pacers on all sides of the ball.
'It's nice to see the guys who worked the hardest get honored. Sean played both ways for us and we used him on special teams. That just shows how talented he is,' Marcum said.
With low numbers last year, depth was an issue for Lakeridge for much of the season, particularly on the offensive and defensive lines.
Howley was a co-captain on last year's team and anchored the lines.
He was a huge factor in the Pacers' dominant running attack last season which could completely take over games at times.
'He was a guy who we ran plays toward in big situations. Sean helped keep everyone on track. If he made a mistake you knew it wasn't going to happen again. He was his biggest critic,' Marcum said.
Howley was also an Honors student at Lakeridge and hopes to continue playing football in college.
'I think he has the potential to be a really good player at the next level,' Marcum said.
Lake Oswego's lone representative this year will be one of its most versatile players from last year.
Kyle Lavender wore many hats last season for the Lakers but perhaps none was more valuable to his team than the role he filled as the tight end.
'Kyle will represent us well. He's been a huge part of our program over the years with his attitude and his leadership,' Laker coach Steve Coury said.
Lavender is a talented blocker but also possesses soft hands and quickness for a player his size, making him a unique weapon for Lake Oswego on offense.
'He's going to be a huge loss for us. He was a multi-use guy for us and made some huge plays,' Steve Coury said.
Lavender's unselfishness on the field also played a key role in the team's success this season. Lavender had a great deal of success at the linebacker position during his junior campaign but, heading into last season, the team had a hole to fill at defensive end.
Lavender willingly stepped into that role and continued to be one of his team's most consistent defensive performers, making second-team all-state at both defensive end and at tight end.
'Kyle is the ultimate team guy. We were able to move him and get someone else on the field,' Coury said.
His role as a leader also earned him high praise from his coaches.
'We've had a lot of great guys come through the program and Kyle's close to the top. It's nice to see him get to play in a game like this,' Coury said.
Lavender will play tight end next year at Western Oregon University where a number of Lakers have attended in the past.
All players selected to the teams spend the week together practicing and getting to know each other. They attend a number of various events throughout the week, culminating in the game. It will mark the last high school game that the athletes will participate in for their careers.
The Les Schwab Bowl will kick off at 7 p.m. on Friday. Tickets range from $5-$15 and are on sale through TicketMaster. They may also be purchased at PGE Park on the day of the game.