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Riedel caught three passes in the West's 20-8 win in the Baker City summer showcase event

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO - Wyatt Riedel (right) stands with Ted Wickman from Yoncalla and a child from the Shriner's hospital after the all-star game earlier this month in Baker City.

Wyatt Riedel has been a special football player for Estacada the past two years.

As a junior, Riedel was an honorable mention performer on the defensive line and helped the Rangers earn a 2016 Tri-Valley Conference championship, as well as a spot in the 4A state semifinals.

He played an even bigger impact on the 2017 Estacada squad, earning first-team all-league nods for his play as a tight end and linebacker as the Rangers won a share of the conference title and made it to the playoffs for the second straight year.

10 months after his high school career came to a close, Riedel got to the opportunity to put on the pads one more time.

On Saturday, August 4, Riedel got to represent Estacada in the 65th Annual East-West Shrine All-Star Football game in Baker City as a member of the West squad. The contest features the best players in the state from the 1A through 4A levels with all benefits going to the Portland Shriners Hospital for Children.

"When we nominated Wyatt for the Shrine Game, we knew he would represent our school in community in a positive way," Estacada head coach Andy Mott said. "He's an all-around great kid who has great football ability. But he also is a leader on and off the field."

The game itself is a pretty big deal to this small town community in Eastern Oregon. There are a number of pregame festivities and the contest was even televised on ROOT Sports Northwest. But as the week goes on, it becomes clear to the players that this event is about much more than football.

All of the participants get a chance to visit the Shriners Hospital to meet the kids that they are playing this game for. This experience had a profound impact on Riedel.

"It was definitely a cool experience to go visit the children and know the purpose for playing this game," Riedel said. "I had the chance to talk to some awesome kids. It all made me feel very blessed and thankful to use the talents that God has given me."

This was the second straight season that an Estacada player was selected for this event — Doug Kirchhofer played in this game back in 2017. With the Rangers recent success as a program, Mott looks to continue to send kids to this all-star game in the coming years.

"The more success we have as a program, the more opportunities we get to send guys to this event," Mott said. "With the type of kids we have and the talent that we produce, I feel like we can send more players in the coming years. When coaches see an Estacada guy nominated, I want them to know that they are getting a high-quality kid."

It was a bit odd for Riedel at first to put the pads on with a bunch of strangers, but as the week progressed, he began to develop new friendships and prove why he was an all-star caliber player.

"I wish this lasted more than a week," Riedel said. "I got to become friends with some absolutely amazing dudes and I was really happy with my performance on the field."

Riedel caught three passes for 34 yards and ran the ball three times for four yards. He also saw some time at linebacker and helped the West take home a 20-8 victory in what is likely the his last football game of his athletic career.

Riedel, who was also a first-team all-conference pitcher for Estacada in the spring, has been offered to play baseball at Linn-Benton, but hasn't made a decision on whether he will do so or not. His plan for the meantime is to dual-enroll at Linn-Benton and Oregon State University.

His goal after college is to come back to Estacada and be a youth coach.

Now that his days as a high school athlete are officially over, Riedel can't help but be filled with gratitude when looking back at his time as a Ranger.

"I love all the guys that I have gotten to play with over the years. We were able to accomplish a lot and I enjoyed every minute of it," Riedel said. "I am very fortunate and thankful that I got to play in this community. It has truly been one of the best experiences of my life."

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