A trio of Douglas County football standouts took part in the 67th annual East-West Shrine All-Star Football Game at Bulldog Memorial Stadium in Baker City on Saturday.
North Douglas High School graduate Cal Parks grabbed the first of three interceptions for the West and helped his team to a 43-10 victory over the East.
The win snapped a four-game losing streak for the West. The East team still leads the overall series with a 33-31-3 record.
Parks was the lone Douglas County representative on the West team. Dillon Towne of Glide and Douglas lineman/linebacker Kadin Baker played for the East.
The all-star contest features the top graduated seniors from last school year in the 1A, 2A, 3A and 4A classifications.
“Oh man, that game was fun,” said Parks, who started at defensive back for the West. “You don’t get to see a lot of top-tier talent in the lower division of 1A and just being able to play with high-class and high-skilled guys was just real fun all week.”
Parks figured he was in on about a dozen tackles, making about six solo. He volunteered to play strictly on the defensive side of the ball, despite going into the week with expectations of focusing on the offensive side.
Towne had three catches for 42 yards as a tight end for the East. His squad struggled offensively and trailed 30-0 after the third quarter. The East finally got on the board in the fourth quarter. Towne scored a two-point conversion on a throw from Gus Ramsden of Wallowa to get the East within 30-10.
“Overall, it was a great experience,” said Towne, who also played on the defensive line where he recorded two forced fumbles, a sack and a couple tackles for loss.
The game was the last of Towne’s football career, as he gets ready to begin a collegiate track and field career at Oregon Institute of Technology in Klamath Falls.
“I was excited I got to do it one last time,” said Towne, who plans to throw the shot put, discus, hammer and javelin for OIT. “A little bit of sadness, but after everything has been said and done I was just happy I was able to go ahead and play one last game.”
The Shrine game serves as a fundraiser for the Portland Shriners Hospital for Children. The players for both teams visited the hospital and patients there during a tour a week before the game.
“It’s amazing just to see the people out there doing so much for kids out there who can’t necessarily do all the things that everyone takes for granted,” Towne said. “That’s kind of why I love the experience. Yeah, it’s for a football game and yeah we get to suit up one last time, but ultimately it wasn’t even about us. It’s about us being able to help the kids who don’t get the same opportunities that we have.”
Parks was also proud to be taking part in such a beneficial event.
“(The Shriners) do a lot of fantastic work. They can help so many people and change so many lives for the better up there,” Parks said. “It was just really good to know that I was helping out so many people by being a part of the biggest fundraiser for them.”
The game was recorded by ROOT Sports and will be aired six times on the channel in the month of August. The next showing will be Wednesday at noon. For more details on broadcast times, visit eastwestshrinefootball.com.