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SOC could have strong influence

The defense for the South squad during Saturday's Oregon Bowl all-star football game could have as many as six players in its starting lineup from the Southern Oregon Conference.

The game matching the top graduating seniors in the state kicks off at 7 p.m. Saturday at Portland's PGA Park (formerly Civic Stadium).

Tackles Scott Myers of North Medford and Blake Cam of Eagle Point, outside linebackers John McKay of South Medford and Mac Contreras of Ashland and cornerback Parker Lane of Grants Pass are all expected to be on the field when the opening whistle sounds. Defensive end Ben Holtey of Ashland is also making a strong bid to crack the starting lineup.

"Every one of those guys is playing well in practice," says Rod Rumrey, the head coach of the South team who will be coaching his last game following his retirement as the North Medford High coach. "Guys from the SOC have a history of stepping up in this game."

Rumrey says his team's defensive line needs a strong performance to counterbalance an explosive North offense led by Central Catholic quarterback Mike Harrington and Jesuit wide receiver Mike Haas, who was the offensive player of the year in the state last season.

Harrington, the younger brother of Oregon quarterback Joey Harrington, is headed to the University of Idaho on a scholarship. Haas plans to walk on at Oregon State.

With no blitzing allowed in the game, the onus will be on the South line to pressure Harrington, Rumrey says.

"They're going to be throwing the ball all over the place," he says, "and we'd like to put a little pressure on their quarterback."

Applying the most heat could be South defensive end Bill Swancutt of Sprague, the state's reigning defensive player of the year. The 6-foot-4, 240-pound Swancutt is headed to OSU on a scholarship.

"He's extremely quick and very physical," says Rumrey of Swancutt. "He looks like he could help a lot of college football teams right now."

South's offense, meanwhile, will also have an SOC flavor. North Medford quarterback Kevin Foreman, wide receiver Mike Olson and center Dan Crawford will all draw starting assignments, as will Roseburg tackle Brian Frasnally.

"It's nice to have the quarterback and center who have run your offense for the past two years," Rumrey says, meaning Foreman and Crawford. "It's nice to have that familiarity."

Foreman will share time with 6-foot-5 Jeff Rhode of Churchill. Foreman will play at Linfield in the fall while Rhode is headed to the University of Hawaii.

Speedy Niles Mittasch of Churchill and hard-nosed ron Woods of North Salem will start at tailback and fullback, respectively, although the South team will be in a lot of single-back sets, Rumrey says.

Another player who has stood out in camp is tight end Jordan Hunter of South Albany, a 6-6, 240-pounder who will play at California in the fall. Hunter ran the 100 meters in 11.1 seconds this spring in track.

"They ran a double wing (at South Albany) and he didn't get the ball much," Rumrey says. "We're going to change that Saturday. This kid is a great player."

The North team, meanwhile, will feature three other Jesuit players in addition to Haas: kicker John Dailey and linebackers Kyle Floberg and Luke Hanset.

Dailey, who kicked three field goals of 50 yards or more last season, is headed to OSU on a baseball scholarship but will also play football for the Beavers.

Hanset might be the smartest player on either squad. He registered a 4.0 grade point average and earned valedictorian honors at Jesuit and scored 1,480 on his SAT test. Hanset is headed to Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y.

North head coach Ken Potter of Jesuit admits his team will heavily depend on Harrington and Haas to move the ball through the air.

"We're a finesse team - we'll be going with four wideouts most of the game," Potter says.

Potter believes Hass, a 6-1, 185-pounder who scored 21 touchdowns in leading Jesuit to the Class 4A state championship last season, will make his mark at OSU even though he's heading to Corvallis without a scholarship.

"He's got tremendous hands and he's a big-time playmaker," Potter says. "And he's not afraid to go over the middle.

"They say he's not fast enough to play Division I football, but he's run a 4.5 (40-yard dash). How fast do you have to be?"

Assisting Rumrey are Craig Walker of Bend, Robin Hill of Sprague, Scott DuFault of South Salem and Marty John of Sheldon.

The North team's assistants are Ray Baker of Clackamas, Joe Bushman of Central Catholic, Kevin Moen of Dallas and Tim Price of Jefferson.

Proceeds from the game benefit the Multnomah Athletic Foundation and the Portland Oregon Sports Authority. The former group supports athletic programs for disadvantaged youth in the Portland area while the latter group funds participation fees and equipment for underprivileged youth in Oregon high schools.

This year marks the 53rd anniversary of the all-star game, previously known as the North-South Shrine Game.

Reach reporter Don Hunt at 776-4469, or e-mail