Two Scappoose grads play for Panthers, setting a scene for conflicted loyalties in Seahawks-friendly town

COURTESY: RYAN SVENSON - Derek Anderson and David Mayo pose for a pregame photo in the Carolina Panthers dressing room. Both players hail from Scappoose. In Oregon, where the state's football teams stop at the collegiate level, the Seattle Seahawks have become the default NFL team to root for.

But in the week leading up to the second round of NFC divisional playoff games, fans in Scappoose were divided.

With the Seahawks scheduled to play the Carolina Panthers on Sunday, many in Scappoose pledged Pacific Northwest loyalty, but for others, the presence of not one, but two Scappoose High graduates on the Panthers roster commanded excitement for a team in a city more than 2,700 miles away.

In Scappoose, rain pelted the sidewalk outside the Chevron gas station and mini mart owned by the Engstrom family. It didn't deter the local business owners from placing a Panthers flag above the doorway to the market. The flag was on loan from Wayne Mayo, whose son, David Mayo, was drafted by the Panthers as a linebacker last year after playing high school football in Scappoose and then at Texas State University.

Mayo joined fellow Scappoose grad Derek Anderson, who was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in 2005, then went on to play with the Cleveland Browns and Arizona Cardinals before being signed as a free agent with the Panthers in 2011. He now serves as a backup quarterback.

Despite Scappoose's ties to the Panthers, not everyone approved of the flag at the mini mart.

PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP: COURTNEY VAUGHN - Greg Engstrom, co-owner of Engstrom Food Mart in Scappoose, places a Carolina Panthers flag above the entrance to the Chevron gas station and mini mart. The flag has been displayed at the gas station all week, despite an attempt from vandals to remove the flag.Greg Engstrom arrived at the store Thursday morning to find the flag removed from its metal bracket and thrown on the ground.

"We've been bringing it inside each night but I guess someone forgot to take it down last night," Engstrom said, returning the flag to its temporary home above the doorway.

The odds of two local grads making it to the NFL and playing for the same team are low, but the reality is sweet for one local football coach.

Ryan Svenson had just started as an assistant coach when Anderson was a senior at Scappoose High. He was still around when Mayo joined the Scappoose Indians roster.

“For me, I've always been more of a college football fan, so I've always just rooted for whoever Derek is playing for,” Svenson said. “I'll definitely be rooting for the Panthers wholeheartedly on Sunday. I would hope that most people from Scappoose that are Seahawks fans would set that aside for one week.”

Scappoose Mayor Scott Burge took to Facebook last Sunday after Seattle's win to announce he'd be rooting for the Panthers.

Scappoose ties or not, others were staunchly devoted to their Northwest neighbors in Seattle.

“Too bad both these fine players are playing for the wrong team!” Scappoose's Deb Parmley said Wednesday. “I wish them well, but I'm cheering for the Seahawks!”

Parmley noted that she works alongside Marla Anderson, wife of Derek Anderson's father, Glen Anderson.

“Makes it fun at the office,” Parmley added.

Sunday won't be the first time the Panthers have taken on the Seahawks, but the game is special, particularly for those with a connection to Mayo and Anderson.

Svenson saw Anderson test his athletic prowess on the basketball court and the football field. He says he knew Anderson was destined to continue his football journey beyond high school.

Now, Svenson runs Anderson's annual summer football camp in Scappoose and has watched the pro football player evolve over the past 14 years.

“He's in a really good place personally and professionally and enjoying his teammates,” Svenson said of Anderson.

Svenson said Mayo, who graduated from SHS in 2011, wasn't as predictable as his local NFL predecessor.

“David's story is especially remarkable,” Svenson said. “He was a really, really good high school player, but to go from a good high school player to a pro, that comes from sheer work and determination."

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