The close-knit group of 32 players has special memories

by: DAN BROOD - THE CAPTAINS -- Sherwood High School senior captains (from left) Scott Skurdahl, Andrew Rice, Nick Aspen and Keegan Lawrence, with all the rest of the Bowmen seniors lined up to their right, await the opening coin toss prior to Saturday's Class 5A state championship game. HILLSBORO — Some of them say it’s been since third grade.

Some say it’s been since fourth grade.

No matter, one thing is for certain — the seniors on the Sherwood High School football team have been together for a long time.

“Yeah, 10 years is a long time,” Sherwood senior lineman Travis Kotowski said following Saturday’s Class 5A state championship game. “I wouldn’t have wanted to play with anyone else than these guys. I love all of them.”

The large, close-knit group of Bowmen seniors saw their days of playing football together come to an end with Saturday’s state-title contest, when Sherwood was edged 21-20 in overtime by West Albany in a game played at Hillsboro Stadium.

But, the Sherwood seniors insist they created special friendships that will last a lifetime.

“We’ve been together since about fourth grade,” Sherwood senior quarterback Kevin Larkin said. “We have 32 seniors on the team. That made a difference. We’re a brotherhood.”

“We made bonds that will last the rest of my life,” Sherwood senior defensive end/tight end Jordan Kurahara said.

“We’ve played together since third grade,” Sherwood senior lineman Nick Aspen said. “Nothing changes. We’ll always be a family. We’ll always remember.”

And there sure seems to be plenty to remember — such as when Larkin’s mother made commemorative t-shirts when the group played in the eighth-grade youth football championship. And, of course, there were the high school football seasons at Sherwood.

Most of the Bowmen seniors played two years at the varsity level.

In those two years, Sherwood had an overall record of 25-1.

The Bowmen won the Class 5A state championship in 2012 and, of course, they were one point away this year from making it back-to-back DAN BROOD - TAKEDOWN -- Sherwood High School senior linebacker Andrew Rice (54) looks to bring down West Albany running back Jake LaCoste in Saturday's Class 5A state championship game.

And, according to Sherwood coach Greg Lawrence, the current crop of seniors played a big part in the Bowmen’s success.

“They’re a totally special bunch of players, and I couldn’t be more proud of them,” he said. “They really led the team.”

And, while the Bowmen seniors may have served as leaders in the locker room, and on the practice field, they also seemed to get the job done on game day.

Sherwood senior running back Keegan Lawrence put together what easily could be described as an amazing senior.

He rushed for 2,030 yards and 31 touchdowns on 117 carries on his way to earning Northwest Oregon Conference Offensive Player of the Year honors.

Bowmen senior fullbacks Mickey Schaefer and Jake Reimer added 1,100 and 874 rushing yards, respectively.

Larkin ran the show at quarterback, with senior Nic Clarke being one of his favorite targets at a receiver spot.

The Sherwood offensive line was anchored by a powerful group of seniors, including Cam Theimann, Kotowski, Andrew Rice and Aspen.

The Bowmen defensive line was led by seniors Kurahara, Martin Layna, Ryan Jurgens and Austin Goldstein.

Sherwood has a dominant trio of senior linebackers in Reimer, the NWOC Defensive Player of the Year, Schaefer and Rice.

Seniors Keegan Lawrence, Tanner Shadbolt, Clarke, Spencer Clay and Larkin patrolled the defensive backfield for the Bowmen.

by: DAN BROOD - TO THE END ZONE -- Sherwood senior running back Keegan Lawrence (21), with fellow senior Tanner Shadbolt to his left, sprints to the end zone during overtime in Saturday's state championship game.“It’s definitely a special group,” Keegan Lawrence said of the Bowmen seniors. “There are 32 of us, and most of us have been together since third grade. We’ve been together forever, and it’s been a heck of a ride. I think we all love each other.”

“It’s been an unbelievable experience,” Clarke said. “We’re like a second family.”

“We’ve been through the highs and lows together,” Kurahara said. “It’s been memorable.”

“I respect and love them all,” Larkin said of his fellow Sherwood seniors. “We have no regrets.”

“It’s a great group of guys,” Jurgens said.

The total list of the 32 seniors on the Sherwood football team includes Brian Lee, Ben Vanderzanden, Cole Nixon, Tyler Booth, Tristan Flint, Ryan Pino, Jordan Hodney, Larkin, Clarke, Clay, Lawrence, Schaefer, Scott Skurdahl, Nick Dickson, A.J. Smith, Harley Peters, Kurahara, Goldstein, Shadbolt, Reimer, Brae Riess, Rice, Hank Tremaine, Kotowski, Jake Brookhouse, Brendan Woodrow, Theimann, Jurgens, Aspen, Layna, Joseph Faircloth and David Copfer.

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