At this point last year, Hermistons Bobby Adams was lifting weights, preparing for his final football season in Dawg purple and gold. Now, hes gearing up for the final high school game of his life, the Les Schwab Bowl.
Oregons large-school all-star football game is made up of Class 6A and 5A talent from across Oregon, and will be played at 6 p.m. tonight at Hillsboro Stadium.
Adams was selected to play in the bowl game after his stellar senior season packing the pigskin for the Dawgs, in which he ran for an eye-popping 2,058 yards and earned a second-team Class 5A all-state selection.
Along with his South team teammates, Adams has been working through two-a-day practices at Pacific University in Forest Grove since Monday and said theres one distinct difference between this game and the ones he played in the fall.
Everyone is bigger, on both sides of the ball, he said. The offensive line guys are the best in Oregon and Im looking forward to running behind them.
When a star-studded event is put together, the best players from every corner of the state are assembled. When Adams got to Pacific to check-in, he said he wasnt so sure about being able to come in and play with the size and skill of his teammates.
Coming in, to be honest, it was very intimidating, he said. I lost a little bit of confidence, but once we got going and I showed them what I could do, I gained it back and its been great. I worked my butt off and I feel like I deserve to be here.
At 5-foot-7 and 165 pounds, it doesnt take a bodybuilder to out-size Adams, but hes not a slouch when it comes to tests of strength for a guy his size. He can bench 200 pounds, squat 425 and power clean 225.
Adams said his roommate, Eagle Point HS grad and University on Montana-bound defensive end Tyrone Holmes, is 6-3, 235 pounds and every single bit of it.
Hes huge, Adams said. I just havent seen guys that big, and everyone is like that here.
With South coach Steve Turners offense, formerly of Mountain View and coach of the 2011 state title team that knocked off Sherwood, 14-13, Adams said he and Thurstons Trevor Westover have taken the bulk of the carries in practice, along with Mountain Views Dimitri Dillard.
The learning in sports never stops, and Adams said hes been able to soak in the offense Turner runs. Adams, according to his recruiting profile on the website Hudl, runs the 40-yard dash in 4.56 seconds.
Even with Adams big year in the books, he said that he didnt think he would be in a game such as the Les Schwab Bowl. Whether it was modesty or knowing that sometimes players east of the Cascade Mountains are forgotten, when Adams found out about the opportunity he tried his best to stay in shape for it.
I ran and lifted weights to prepare for it, he said. My legs feel surprisingly good, and Im just a little sore from all the hitting we do.
The South team, Adams said, really gets their licks in during defensive drills. He said they have been hitting more and more each day in full-pad practices and that the North team hasnt even practiced in full pads.
Weve got that edge over them, I think, Adams said. Weve been looking pretty good for it being the summer time.
One thing Adams said he enjoyed was trading helmet decals with the other players. As tradition in most all-star games like the LSB, players usually have a menagerie of stickers adorning their domes as if they want every part of it covered with something.
As for the atmosphere on the field, Adams said its high-intensity and his team is focused on winning.
This is completely different, he said. Practices are varsity-on-varsity, all the time. It makes you tougher and everyone is playing to showcase their ability, so they are ready to go.
Adams hasnt taken too many big shots during practice and has been able to stay fresh, he said, and is hungry to put one in the win column for the South team. Adams isnt the type of guy to predict the outcome, but he knows what it will take to come out on top in his final high school game desire.
Its just going to come down to who wants it more, he said.