The 72nd annual Les Schwab Tires Bowl was the culmination of a high school career and a glimpse into what’s to come for Roseburg football standout Zack Mandera.
The soon-to-be Portland State University freshman made seven tackles, including two for a loss, and helped lead the South to a 33-28 victory over the North in the All-Star game featuring Class 6A and 5A players on Saturday at Hillsboro Stadium, home of the PSU football team.
Mandera said he had a blast during the week of practice and at the game. The athletes stayed on the campus of Pacific University in Forest Grove and had daily doubles each day leading up to the contest.
Mandera, a 2019 Roseburg High graduate, added a fumble recovery to his stat line, but just missed out on a prized possession for linebackers, a sack.
“I was close a couple of times,” Mandera lamented. “I could have had a big hit, but the quarterback ran out of bounds. He got a little lucky on that.”
Outside of the game, the teams took part in a number of group outings like bowling and visiting the St. Mary’s home for boys. The most memorable part of the week for Mandera was making new connections.
“It’s really different when the guys that you’re going to play with you’ve been playing against the last four years,” he said. “You don’t think you’re going to be friends. By the end of the week you’re best friends.”
Mandera got to play with a few of his future PSU teammates on the South team. Former North Medford standout Elias Spence led the South with 39 rushing yards and Churchill’s Demontre Thomas passed for 231 yards and two touchdowns. Kimani Quade led the South with 62 return yards.
The foursome were all two-star recruits that signed with the Vikings in 2019.
Mandera is enrolled in a summer class and will begin voluntary practices and workouts on Monday in Portland. The Vikings begin fall practices on Aug. 1 and play their season opener at Arkansas on Aug. 31.
Mandera was honored as the Southwest Conference defensive player of the year for the Indians as a senior and was a second-team all-state selection at linebacker.