by: JEFF GOODMAN / PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP - Kyle Rademacher, who played his entire senior Canby football season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, will continue his athletic career at Pacific.Standing on the turf at Jeld-Wen Field after the Canby football team’s loss to Jesuit in the state semifinals, Kyle Rademacher had a strong conviction.

He didn’t want his playing career to be over.

“I knew that wasn’t the end,” he said. “It’s been my dream to play college football, and it’s incredible that my dream is becoming a reality.”

Rademacher, who was a member of the Cougars’ powerful front line this past season, recently decided to continue his athletic career at Pacific University in Forest Grove.

The 6-foot-3, 230-pound lineman will join a Division III team that went 7-3 overall and 3-3 in the Northwest Conference as part of a landmark 2013 season under coach Keith Buckley.

The Boxers, who reinstated their football program in 2010 after a long hiatus, set new school records for yards of total offense (3,990), average offensive yardage per game (399), total points (346) and average points per game (34.6).

Rademacher, who expects to contribute as a defensive end, will aim to bolster a roster that includes Canby alumnus Brandon Harms as well as several other area products.  

Rademacher said he also considered Western Oregon but chose Pacific for its combination of athletic and academic opportunities. He intends to study exercise science and pursue a career in physical therapy.

“I just looked at what the school had to offer, and they have an outstanding football program that’s going to be very good,” he said. “The education is outstanding, too, and I saw it as a perfect fit.”

The Boxers will inherit an athlete who played his entire senior season at Canby with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.

Rademacher said he sustained the injury during the Cougars’ spring camp and that he was advised to have surgery right away.

The rehabilitation process, of course, would have kept him out for the year. So he waited until December — after Canby reached the state semifinals for the seventh time in school history — to have the operation.

“Sometimes it bothers you, but you learn to play through it,” he said. “It was mind over matter. I knew I couldn’t let my senior season go to waste over an injury. I was willing to do whatever it took. And I made it through the season.”

Rademacher received all-conference honorable mention as a guard, helping the Cougars average 293.8 rushing yards per game.

Pacific will serve as the latest spot on a rewarding journey for Rademacher, who starting playing football in fourth grade. He said he was drawn to the sport’s mix of strategy, physicality and competitiveness.

“I’ve just loved it ever since,” he said. “You can let your emotions play with you.”

Rademacher said the most memorable moment of his Canby football career was probably defeating defending state champion Eugene-Sheldon on the road in the playoffs. But being a member of the Cougars’ formidable front line was a season-long highlight.

“It was phenomenal,” he said. “There’s nothing like it, just being able to play with the brothers that you’ve been with since grade school. It’s you and your teammates next to you, winning games. You’re opening up angles, and no one can stop you. It was outstanding. It’s the best feeling there is.”

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