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Eagle Point, South Medford alums to clash on gridiron

EAGLE POINT ' The high school football season doesn't officially kick off until Sept. 3, but fans can get a preliminary peak of local pigskin play when Eagle Point tackles South Medford in an alumni game Saturday night at Eagle Stadium.

Kickoff is 7 p.m.

The 22nd annual event is one of the longest-running alumni games in the state. Launched as a fund-raiser by former Eagle Point head coach and current assistant Mike Johnston and Eagle Alumni president Phil Cam in 1983, the game nets about &

36;3,000 each year, Cam said.

The proceeds help disadvantaged athletes pay for gear, get to camps, fulfill pay-to-play requirements and meet other expenses, Cam said.

— The game also lures players out of retirement and gives them another chance to throw a block, make a tackle and make one last run to glory.

You're not used to hitting and you get a little sore afterwards, says Luke Schauffler, a 2001 Eagle Point graduate who will play in the game for the third time. But it's a blast. You get that adrenaline going, just like the old days.

Eagle Point, which played itself (players who graduated in odd years squared off against those who graduated in even years) and then Crater in the early years, has lost just one game in the series. But the Eagle alums expect a stern test Saturday against South Medford, which will feature several players off its 2000 Southern Oregon Conference championship team.

Former Panthers expected to suit up include quarterback/tight end Eric Fischer, running backs Andy Narus, Trevor Reed and Jason Roberts, linemen Travis Phillips and Bjorn Johnson and wide receivers Ryan Benson and Thom Whiteaker.

We'll put some guys out there who can still play, says Fischer, a 6-foot-5, 230-pound Linfield College player. It's going to be a fun deal, but most of the guys on our team are still competitive.

Eagle Point will be led by quarterback Dan Woodward, a 1996 EP graduate who went on to star at Southern Oregon University. Other ex-Eagles expected to play include Sean and Kevin Johnston, Luke and Brian Schauffler, and Steve Meeker, who at 28 will be the oldest Eagle alum.

Each team has been practicing for the past week.

An added feature to the game this year will be a salmon feed put on by the Eagle Point volleyball team prior to the game. It will start at 6 p.m.

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