The Sherwood stars step up big at the Les Schwab Bowl

by: DAN BROOD - PICKED OFF -- Sherwood High School graduate Jake Reimer (47), a linebacker for the North team, makes a spectacular interception during Saturday's Les Schwab Bowl. Reimer also had a fumble recovery in the game. HILLSBORO — Having fun.

Making friends.

Enjoying the moment.

These are all very nice.

But there’s something else that make those even better — getting to celebrate a victory.

Keegan Lawrence and Jake Reimer got to do just that.

Lawrence and Reimer, both 2014 Sherwood High School graduates, helped the North team score a 31-21 win over the South in the 67th Les Schwab Bowl. The all-star football game, featuring many of the top graduating Class 5A and Class 6A seniors from around the state, was held Saturday at Hillsboro Stadium.

“This was very important to us,” Reimer said of the victory. “This was a great accomplishment. And no one wants to end with a loss.”

“This was important,” Lawrence said. “We practiced hard all week for this. And this is kind of the last time to represent Sherwood.”

And, Reimer and Lawrence sure seemed to represent Sherwood well.

Reimer, starting and playing at middle linebacker most of the game, came up big for the North defense. He came up with a pair of first-half turnovers — an interception and a fumble recovery — to help his team claim a 17-14 lead at the intermission. Reimer also finished the game with three solo tackles, which tied for second most on the team, and four assists, with tied for the top mark for the squad.

“That felt amazing,” Reimer said with a smile as he talked about the two turnovers. “It was good.”

Lawrence, playing at a slot receiver for the North, had two rushes for 7 yards and he had four receptions for 18 yards. He also played some at safety on defense late in the game, as the North was trying to hold off the South offense and wrap up the victory.

“They came prepared, and we were prepared,” Lawrence said.

Lawrence’s first carry of the game, a 12-yard run that moved the ball to the North 46-yard line, helped set up a 3-yard touchdown run by North QB Aiden Wilder, of Central Catholic, giving the team a 7-0 lead with 6 minutes and 35 seconds left in the first quarter.

by: DAN BROOD - MAKING A MOVE -- Sherwood's Keegan Lawrence (right) looks to get past South Medford's Anthony Gomez after catching a pass in Saturday's Les Schwab Bowl. A 30-yard field goal by Alex Beekman of Southridge upped the North lead to 10-0 at the end of the opening period.

The South, getting an 8-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Gage Gubrud, of McMinnville, to Connor Mattison of West Salem, cut the lead to 10-7 with 9:48 left in the second quarter.

Soon after, the South had the ball again, with ideas of taking the lead. But Reimer had other ideas.

With the ball on the South 27-yard line, quarterback Danial White, of Ashland, look to complete a pass to Roseburg’s Levi Holden near the left sideline. But Reimer, sprinting over from the middle of the field, made a leaping, stretched-out interception at the South 37-yard line.

“That was intense,” Reimer said. “I saw the receiver cut across the middle, saw the quarterback look that way, and I said ‘I got it.’”

After Reimer’s interception, the South got a turnover of its own — a big one. South defensive lineman Hunter Hermansen, of North Medford, scooped up a North fumble and ran 58 yards for a TD that gave his team a 14-10 lead with 4:45 left in the first half.

But Reimer helped the North regain the lead.

With just over a minute left in the first half, Gubrud was sacked by North defensive end Joshua Brown of Sunset, with Gubrud fumbling the ball on the tackle. Reimer fell on the loose ball on the South 46-yard line.

On the ensuing drive, Lawrence caught a short pass to help set up a 6-yard touchdown run by Wilder, coming with 17 seconds left in the half, giving the North a 17-14 halftime lead.

In the second half, the North got a 13-yard touchdown run from Clackamas’ Dan Sherill and a 35-yard interception return for a score by Aloha’s Maurice McSwain to wrap up the 31-21 win, and ignite a spirited victory celebration.

“This was a lot of fun,” Lawrence said. “It went back and forth.”

“I thought our defense was awesome,” Reimer said. “We got so close. We got turnovers, turnovers and turnovers.”

Soon after the game, Reimer hugged Sherwood coach Greg Lawrence, who was one of the assistant coaches for the winning North squad.

“I’ve known him since I was in third grade,” Reimer said. “It’s been great playing for him. I think he’s the best coach in the world.”

And, there was the week leading up to the game, where Reimer and Lawrence got to bond with their new teammates.

“It was awesome,” Keegan Lawrence said. “We created a brotherhood. We really bonded as a team.”by: DAN BROOD - EAGLES REPRESENTED -- Jacob Sturtevant, who played for Westview and is a Westside Christian High School graduate, played at receiver for the North squad.

“It was amazing,” Reimer said. “I talked to (2013 Sherwood graduate) Nick Rowlands (who played in last year’s Les Schwab Bowl) and he told me it would be a blast, and I had a blast.”

Lawrence and Reimer will begin their college football careers this fall. Reimer will attend Linfield College and Lawrence will be playing for Southern Oregon University.

There was another area player of sorts on the winning North team. Westview’s Jacob Sturtevant, who played at receiver for the North, is a 2014 Westside Christian High School graduate.

Sturtevant had one catch for three yards and he also recovered a South fumble on kickoff coverage.