Most players at the Les Schwab Bowl were excited to get back on the football field again, either because it would be the last time they suited up, like Newberg's Jacob LaPointe, or simply because it was the first chance to do so in seven or eight months.
Few were as excited to return to action as much as LaPointe's teammate, Anthony Adams. That's because Adams hasn't played any sport since the end of the football season, as a fracture in his foot kept him from playing basketball, baseball or track as a senior.
"It was great just getting back to practice even," Adams said. "Most people kind of dread practice, but I was looking forward to it every day because it kind of got me ready to go for this summer and fall. I really enjoyed getting the pads backs on."
Adams will play for Portland State this fall and the week of football was the perfect place to shake off the rust and test out his foot now in a low-stakes environment.
"It was nice to make it through every practice injury free and make it through a game injury free and get a feel for my foot and how everything was there," Adams said. "I got those first couple of hits in and it was good."
Adams got to play every snap on defense, registering six tackles as a cornerback and a safety to tie for the team high for the South squad. He also played about 10 snaps on offense as a running back, carrying the ball three times for 10 yards.
Luckily for both LaPointe and Adams, the South's offense was coordinated by Lebanon coach Ty Tomlin, brother of their longtime coach at Newberg, T.J. Tomlin, who also coached Adams and the other defensive backs for the South team.
"It was pretty simple, plus the offense was pretty similar to what we ran at Newberg," LaPointe said. "It was easy to catch up on."
Defense ruled the day on the field, with the South shutting out the North for more than 48 minutes before holding on for a 10-7 win.
"Both defenses could run really well and had a lot of athletes," Adams said. "That definitely changed the course of the game, but offensively it's just really hard to install something in one week."
The highlight for Adams was simply winning the game, in part because Ty Tomlin made a point of it when practices started.
"A lot of people think it's just an all-star game, so there's not much riding on it," Adams said. "As players, once you strap up the pads and get your helmet on, it's kind of 100 percent or nothing, so as players there was a lot riding on us just because."
The players were also treated to a movie and a couple of meals out, including a wings-eating contest. LaPointe also participated in a mock job interview put on by Express Employment Professionals. What he and other players didn't know, at least until LaPointe was named as the winner, was that they were also interviewing for the company's Hope Scholarship, which is given to a student who goes above and beyond in their community by giving back and encouraging others to do the same.
LaPointe considered playing football in college, but none of the schools he looked at for football had the academic offerings he's looking for, so instead he will attend Linn-Benton Community College for two years before transferring to Oregon State to major in agricultural business management.
"It was pretty fun, the whole experience, being able to play another week finally," LaPointe said. "I also played with some really good guys, too."
Adams said he was a bit surprised at how quickly he was able to form new friendships over the course of just one week. He also had the opportunity to meet some of his future teammates, as seven other players in the game are Viking recruits.
Overall, the experience was mostly just fun, including the tradition of trading helmet decals.
"That was almost the first thing we did when we got there," Adams said. "I have a Thurston Colts symbol right in the front, then a Sprague 'O' on the top of my helmet. I also have a Hermiston sticker, Tigard, Tualatin, Summit and Wilsonville, so my helmet's pretty loaded up."