Four local stars help the North team roll to a win in the Les Schwab Bowl
PORTLAND - A great experience.
Some new friends - some being former foes.
A fitting showcase to end to their prep football careers.
And, to top it all off, there was an impressive victory.
Four area high school gridiron stars had all of that - and more - as they played in the 2006 Les Schwab Bowl all-star football game, held Friday at PGE Park.
'This was just a lot of fun,' Bubba Lemon, a 2006 Tualatin High School graduate, said after the game. 'Everyone had a blast.'
Lemon, his Timberwolf teammate Joe Schelsky, Tigard's John Hoskins and Mau Nomani all played for the North team that walked away with a 49-24 win over the South.
'I'm proud of our whole team,' said Hoskins, who played at both defensive tackle and at offensive tackle for the victorious North squad. 'And we played as a team. That was great.'
The all-star contest featured many of the top graduated seniors from Class 4A schools from around the state. The North squad included players from the Portland Interscholastic League, the Metro League, the Three Rivers League, the Mt. Hood Conference and the Pacific-9 Conference.
The South squad included players from the Valley League, the Midwestern League, the Southern Oregon Conference and the Intermountain Conference.
Bringing stars from different schools from around the state had some players a bit apprehensive.
'It was weird to start off with,' said Nomani, the 6-foot-6, 300-pound Tigard offensive lineman who will play college football at Oregon State University. 'But, by the second day, we clicked. We all became friends. That was the best part.'
Nomani, for most of Friday's game, lined up at left guard. Right next to him at left tackle most of the night was Schelsky. At times, the North offensive line had Nomani and Hoskins at left guard and left tackle and Schelsky at right tackle.
'During the season, I hated those guys,' Schelsky said with a smile. 'But I found out they're good guys.'
'I used to hate Joe,' Nomani said. 'But to play with him, right beside me, was great. He's a great guy.'
'I never thought I'd play with Joe,' Hoskins said. 'Everyone was cool.'
The two Tigers and Schelsky were all playing on the offensive line on the North's first scoring drive of the game. Nomani and Hoskins each threw key blocks on a rollout pass play that ended with Westview's Cody Kempt throwing a 4-yard touchdown pass to John Sheffield of Lincoln.
'To play on the same line with John and Joe was awesome,' Nomani said.
The TD pass cut the South's lead to 7-6 with 2 minutes and 58 seconds to go in the first quarter.
The North also scored the next time it had the ball, getting an 18-yard scoring pass from Beaverton's Kevin Riley to Sam Oltman of West Linn coming with 0:53 to play in the opening quarter.
Then, it was Lemon's turn to get into the action.
Lemon, a quarterback during his senior year at Tualatin, played at receiver for the North in Friday's contest and he ran in the two-point conversion on a reverse to give the North a 14-7 lead.
On the play, Lemon took a handoff from Jesuit running back Keo Camat and sprinted to the right side of the field, giving over the goal line. The last time Lemon and Camat were on the PGE Park field together was back in December in a Class 4A state playoff semifinal game, which the Crusaders won 42-0.
'Yeah, those guys have dogged me about that all week,' Lemon said with a laugh. 'But this was awesome. We're all like a great big family now.'
Lemon ended up having a big game for the North team. In addition to his two-point conversion run, he also had three pass receptions for 79 yards. All three of his catches came on passes from Riley, including a 53-yard connection late in the second quarter, setting up a touchdown.
Lemon also played some at safety on defense. In addition he also held on place-kicks and he also punted for the North. He had a 43-yard punt in the second quarter and a 28-yard punt, which was downed on the South 6-yard line, in the fourth quarter.
'They had me doing a bit of everything,' Lemon said. 'I just tried to be the best player I could for the team.'
Meanwhile, Hoskins, Nomani and Schelsky all played strong on the line.
'It's great that we won big,' Schelsky said. 'We just bonded together as a team.'
That, the local players say, was a big reason for the victory.
'We came together like a great big family,' Lemon said. 'That's why we got the result we got.'
While the win was nice for the North team, the week included more memorable moments than just the game.
There was also the team's visit last Thursday to the Center for Medically Fragile Children at Providence Child Center.
'That was the best experience I've ever had,' Hoskins said of the hospital visit. 'I feel blessed.'
'The trip to the hospital was awesome,' said Tigard football coach Mitch Sanders, who was an assistant coach for the North team. 'They showed a lot of love for the kids. The whole week was a great experience. The kids were awesome. To be around all these kids was so much fun.'
The local foursome are now eyeing their college football future.
Nomani is looking forward to starting up with the Beavers.
'I go down there next month,' he said. 'It's the next step and I can't wait to take it.'
Lemon and Schelsky will be teammates at Linfield College. Hoskins is looking to play junior college football in California.