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North Medford's Mayben is playing his final football game

PORTLAND — Nate Mayben figures this is the last week he?ll be donning football gear, so there's nothing to lose and fun to be had.

The former North Medford High quarterback is one of 11 recent Southern Oregon Conference graduates playing for the South team in Saturday's Les Schwab Oregon Bowl at Civic Stadium in Portland.

— — — Oregon Bowl SOC Players

— — — — Tyson George, — — Ashland, C/DE — — — Mike De La Grange, — — Grants Pass , OT — — — Robin Knebel, — — Roseburg, OT — — — John Bracken, North — — Medford, DE — — — Scott Toney, — — Crater, DL — — — Matt Brock, — — Roseburg, DL — — — Kevin Johnston, — — Eagle Point, CB — — — Kenny Halpin, North — — Medford, DB — — — Kevin Linderman, — — Roseburg, QB-K — — — Len Nuanez, Grants — — Pass, LB — — — Nate Mayben, North — — Medford, QB — — — Assistant Coach

— Rod Rumrey, North — Medford — — Some of the Southern Oregon contingent, such as linemen Mike De La Grange of Grants Pass and Robin Knebel of Roseburg will surface at Pac-10 schools next fall. Others will play ball at small colleges.

After Saturday's game, Mayben will walk away from the gridiron. He's going to Western Baptist in Salem, a school that doesn't even field a football team, and will play baseball.

This is my last game and I don't think I'll ever be putting on the pads again, he says. But it's a nice way to go out, being in an all-star game.

The Oregon Bowl is in its third year after taking the place of the Shrine All-Star Game, which ran for 50 years. For the Shrine Game, players had two weeks of drills before the contest. Now, participants cram all their preparation into a single week. That's unusual for present-day players, used to a summer-long grind of camps, clinics and conditioning before daily doubles in August.

It's definitely a little different, Mayben says. We're not really doing a lot of individual stuff. Instead we're working on getting our timing down with the linemen and backs.

South head coach Robin Hill of Sprague High in Salem mapped out a simple game plan for Mayben and Roseburg quarterback Kevin Linderman on Monday featuring options, sprint-out passes and roll-outs.

The biggest adjustment for Mayben, who stands 5-foot-10, is peering over a bunch of 6-foot-6 linemen.

The linemen at North weren't the biggest guys, Mayben says. It's real nice to have those big guys on my side now; I just can't see over them.

The team has banged heads four hours each day, but there has been plenty of recreation on the side.

One night, the North and South teams went bowling going head-to-head in foursomes.

Then there was the laser tag outing and the trip to the water park.

It's been a blast hanging out with the guys, Mayben says.

Come 7 p.m. Saturday, Mayben will put aside the frolicking and don the game face one more time.

I don't feel I have anything to prove, Mayben says. But it will still be tense because we want to win.