It’s not all fun and games for North Medford’s Tre Holmes and Crater’s Will Hutson but there has been plenty of that this week for the recent high school graduates as they prep for Saturday’s 70th edition of the Les Schwab Bowl in Hillsboro.
The 6-foot, 245-pound Holmes and 6-4, 275-pound Hutson will look to control the defensive and offensive lines, respectively, for the South squad as they take on the North team at 12:30 p.m. Saturday at Hillsboro Stadium. Both are Southern Oregon University football commits.
Proceeds from the annual event, which pits the top graduating seniors at the Class 6A and 5A levels, benefit the Oregon Athletic Coaches Association general scholarship fund and all of the state’s 6A and 5A schools.
“It’s been really fun but at the same time it’s a lot of hard work and competing with the best,” Holmes said of his week leading up to the game. “We have two practices a day and we just go all out each time, but it’s such a blast to play against the state’s best.”
“Something that I really take pride in and makes me better as a player is to be able to play against the best,” added the all-Southwest Conference lineman. “Also to prepare myself for the next chapter in my life at SOU and in college football, I want to be the best I can be so it’s an awesome time here for me.”
Besides the on-field action, Holmes and Hutson have been privy to plenty of fun away from the gridiron this week, including a team-bonding trip Tuesday to see the “Wonder Woman” movie and — always a highlight — the wing-eating competition at Buffalo Wild Wings on Wednesday night.
Holmes had been mulling his teammates’ pleas to compete for the South squad in the wing-eating battle versus North’s chosen eaters but ultimately decided that was more of a challenge than he wanted to bite off this week.
Hutson, however, was game and suffered a close loss in his bid to down six wings faster than his foe. The all-Midwestern League lineman was in the process of swallowing his sixth wing when his opponent finished up.
Ultimately, the North squad won a close overall battle for the wing-eating crown, but Holmes has high hopes that will be the final loss his South squad has to endure.
“I think we have a pretty good chance,” Holmes said of Saturday’s game. “I know there’s some people who think there’s more talent on the North side, I don’t know if that’s true or not, but at the same time the South squad’s drive and all of our motors are really high. We just never stop until the whistle blows so I think eventually we might be able to break down the North squad.”
Other SOU recruits competing Saturday will be South Salem offensive lineman Tyler Coates (6-2, 290) for the South and West Linn center Connor Maloney (6-2, 252) for the North.
While a final high school victory will be the goal of all involved, Holmes said the camaraderie aspect surrounding the Les Schwab Bowl has been fantastic since he got up to Hillsboro.
“It’s been really fun to be able to bond with these guys and get to know them outside of football, too,” said Holmes.
“I think it’s just going to be a great atmosphere and really fun game to play in,” he added of his expectations Saturday. “Everybody wants to win but at the same time it’s an all-star game and everybody just wants to have fun playing their last high school game and go out strong and move on to the next chapter of our lives.”
For more on the Les Schwab Bowl, go to www.LesSchwabBowl.com
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