West wins Shriners East-West football game
All-star game features high school players
BY ANDY WOOLDRIDGE, August 6
BAKER CITY — The West overcame an early East lead, and held off a late rally, to claim a 28-26 win in the 56th annual East-West Shriner football game.
The all-star game splits the best players from the 4A, 3A, 2A, and 1A classifications into two teams and pits them against each other in an annual fundraiser game for Shiners Hospitals for Children. Three area linemen excelled in the contest.
Clint Olheiser, from Cascade of the Capital Conference, started at guard on offense, and was instrumental in opening holes for the West rushing game. Olheiser’s blocking was a key to the West’s first scoring drive, which answered the East’s initial score, and put the West up 7-6. Olheiser, who was a two-way first team all-Capital Conference selection, also saw some plays on defense.
Robert Keudell, representing Regis of the PacWest Conference, spelled Olheiser at guard in the second quarter, when the West took the lead for good, scoring twice.
Keudell, a Class 3A first team all-state offensive lineman, also played defensively, and had a key fumble recovery in the second quarter, which set up the second of two West scores in 53 seconds, and gave the West a 21-12 lead.
“I got free, and was in the right place at the right time,” Keudell said. “I’m smaller than most of the other lineman, but I’m faster.”
The West built the lead to 28-12 in the third quarter, and held off a fourth-quarter rally for the win. The East scored to pull within two points with 2:05 left to play, but failed on a two-point conversion. Olheiser was again in the middle of the action, as the West used their ground game to work down the clock in the later part of the game.
Mohawk’s Brody Wilkins, who threw two touchdown passes for the West, credited the offensive line, noting “The offensive line played great. They won the game today.”
Santiam’s Aaron Hutchinson, who will next play for Western Oregon University, played extensively for the East team, on both the offensive and defensive lines.
The game is also an opportunity for players to make new life-long friends of people who used to be bitter rivals.
Olheiser and Hutchinson both reflected on their experiences similarly, despite one winning and one being on the losing end.
Olheiser and Hutchinson said described the experience was “awkward the first couple of days,” referring to being teammates with players they previously competed against so fiercely.
But as Olheiser put it, “Now, we are all friends,” referring to former Capital Conference competitors from Molalla, Gladstone, North Marion, and La Salle, who joined Olheiser on the West squad, and formed a nucleus of the team.
The West was coached by Gladstone coach Jon Wolf, who noted “It was nice to have these other Capital Conference guys on my side for a change.”
Hutchinson also said he made a lot of new friendships.
“It was a good opportunity to play with some of the best players in the state,” he said. “You learn to deal with the rivalries, and think of them as being on your team.”
The West win broke a two-game East winning streak, including a 42-6 East win in the 2007 game. However, the East still leads the series 30-23-3.