Local stars shine at Les Schwab Bowl
HILLSBORO — Sure, they're rivals.
But three Tigers and one Timberwolf teamed up to write what could be considered to be a perfect ending to their high school football careers.
Tigard High School graduates Jashua Allen, Brock Klosterman and Ryan Minniti, and Tualatin graduate Jared Ellisen helped the South team come away with a 10-7 win over the North squad at the 2017 Les Schwab Bowl.
The all-star football game, featuring many of the top graduating Class 6A and Class 5A seniors from around the state, was played under blistering hot conditions Saturday at Hillsboro Stadium.
"It was really good," said Klosterman, who had a key fumble recovery from his inside linebacker position, helping set up the South team's only touchdown of the game. "It was a good game, and we showed up."
"On paper, the talent was better on the North," said Minniti, who started at a roll-down rover spot for the South defense. "We had something to prove, and we proved it."
"Coming in, I didn't thing that winning the game would be that important," said Ellisen, who started at receiver for the South squad. "But, more and more as the week went on, it became important. We all really wanted to win this game."
"I'm really happy to be playing in this game," Allen, who played at running back for the South squad, said with a smile following the contest.
And, Allen had a big reason to be smiling, as he was named the Back of the Game for the victorious South squad. He rushed for a game-high 79 yards on 11 carries, while also having a reception for nine yards.
"I'm happy with it," Allen said, as he held his Back of the Game plaque.
While Allen came away with the big honor, all four of the local players seemed to play a key role in the South victory.
Minniti made his presence felt right from the very start, as he came away with a tackle on the game's opening kickoff.
"It was intense," Minniti said. "We all wanted to win."
Meanwhile, Klosterman came up with what could have been the biggest defensive play of the contest.
Late in the first quarter, North receiver Justin Altenhofen, from West Linn, caught a 6-yard pass from David Douglas' DeQuahn Dennis-Lee. But Altenhofen fumbled as he was hit.
There was a wild scramble for the loose ball, with Klosterman falling on it, giving the South possession at the North 21-yard line with 2 minutes and 32 seconds left to play in the opening period.
"My buddy, Zach Diehl (from Sheldon), dove on it, and it popped up," Klosterman said of the fumble. "I saw it, and jumped on it."
Three players later, South quarterback Wyatt Smith, from McMinnville, threw a 17-yard touchdown pass to Wilsonville's Harrison Steiger, giving the South a 7-0 lead with 0:58 remaining in the first quarter.
The South team would go on to keep that 7-0 advantage going into halftime.
The South squad would turn more to Allen, and the power running game, more and more in the second half.
Allen, with third-quarter runs of 10, three and seven yards, helped set up a 24-yard field goal by Grants Pass' Jerin Appling, which upped the South lead to 10-0 with 4:37 left in the period.
Early in the fourth quarter, Allen broke free for the game's biggest gain from scrimmage, coming on a 55-yard run down to the North 25-yard line.
"I saw the hole, and hit it," Allen said. "That felt really good."
The South, on that drive, ended up turning over the ball, but field position switch would be a key.
The North would eventually trim the South lead to 10-7, when Clackamas' Jake McGreevy scored on a 2-yard run with 1:15 left in the game.
With the North having no timeouts remaining at that point, the outcome of the contest very well could have been decided on the ensuing onside kick.
Beaverton's Tristan Lewis hit a bouncing kick to his right. But, Ellisen grabbed and fell on the ball for the South squad.
"We hadn't put together a hands team all week," Ellisen said. "We just put some guys out there. I saw the ball, and got it."
Two kneel-downs later, the South got to celebrate its 10-7 victory, tying up the series with the North at 33-33-4.
"Bragging rights — that's what it's all about," Klosterman said with a smile.
"It was really good to get the win," Minniti said.
"It was definitely important," Allen said. "It was a competitive game. The North came out strong, but we got going."
In addition to getting the victory, the local players also got to make some friends with their new South teammates during the week.
"The best part was just hanging out with this bunch of guys," Ellisen said. "It was really cool to hang out with guys I've played against."
"The Sheldon guys probably hated me at first," Minniti said, referring to Tigard's 27-0 win over the Irish in the quarterfinal round of last fall's state football playoffs. "But, now, they're my best friends."
"It was great meeting these guys, and having the opportunity to make new friends," Klosterman said.
"(Lebanon's) Nathaniel Maddox, No. 6, definitely has some dance moves," Allen said with a laugh. "And an interesting taste in music."
Allen, in addition to his big game running the ball, also punted twice for a 31.0 average, despite not punting at Tigard.
"It's something I always wanted to try," he said.
Minniti had five total tackles in the contest, including one tackle for a loss. Klosterman had two tackles, including one for a loss, to go with his fumble recovery. He also ran the ball on offense once for a 7-yard gain.
"They showed me some love," Klosterman said.
Hillsboro's Sage Roundtree was named the North's Lineman of the Game. Terrell West of Jefferson was named the North's Back of the Game. Cooger Smith of Redmond was named the South's Lineman of the game.
Smith was tabbed the game's Most Valuable Player.
Allen and Minniti will be playing football at Western Oregon University this fall. Ellisen and Klosterman will each be playing at Linfield College.