Putting the Pads On One Last Time
ALL-STATE: Napavine, PWV Football Players Competing on the Gridiron One Final Time
By Matt Baide
Napavine’s Jordan Purvis and Noah Lantz and Pe Ell-Willapa Valley’s Bradley Prestegord are all putting on football pads this weekend to represent their high schools one last time during the 24th Annual Earl Barden East-West All-State football game at Eisenhower HS in Yakima on Saturday.
This will likely be the final time Purvis puts on football pads with or without a Napavine helmet on.
“It’s a bittersweet feeling to be representing Napavine for the last time,” Purvis said. “It’s been an awesome journey with my team and community and I’m excited to see what they’ll do in the future.”
Purvis and Lantz were last seen on the football field in late November in Centralia, falling to Kalama 20-13 in the State 2B football semifinals at Tiger Stadium.
Prestegord is going to Eastern Washington University and hopes to walk-on to the football team.
PWV was last seen on the football field in Kalama on Nov. 17, losing to the Chinooks 50-15 in the State 2B football quarterfinals.
“It’s weird. I’m grateful for the experience,” Prestegord said. “It definitely felt like the last time was the last time playing against Kalama. It’s nice putting it back on.”
Kalama has two members from their state championship team at the game in Corbyn Byrnes and Jacob Herz.
It can be tough to move on from football after playing the last four years, but the life lessons learned and the friendships that have been built will last beyond the field.
“Football has taught me so many life lessons and being able to be coached by the coaching staff that we have is an honor,” Purvis said. “I wouldn’t trade them or my teammates for anything.”
This week has brought back a lot of those memories for Purvis, who has been in Yakima the past week getting prepared for the game.
“The week has gone great. The players here are amazing both on the field and off,” Purvis said. “It’s bringing back some good two-a-day memories.”
Prestegord noted the preparation for the game is much simpler than the experience while playing for PWV.
“It’s hot. It seems like it’s a lot simpler, our coach is keeping stuff simple,” Prestegord said. “It’s a lot of the same but not as much conditioning.”
Purvis, Lantz and Prestegord don’t have to worry about learning a new position this week, as Lantz will play running back, Purvis will be at wide receiver and Prestegord will be in the trenches at right guard and defensive tackle.
Prestegord became friends with Purvis and Lantz during track season and was excited to play on the same team this time.
“I made friends with them in track,” Prestegord said. “I made good relationships with them so it was cool to hang out with them this week.”
Even though it’s an All-Star game, the two sides are going out there to represent their schools and try to earn a win.
“We’re here to win and we got a lot of talent representing the west side,” Purvis said. “We’re going to be giving it all come game day but we’re also having a blast in our off time.”
There are players from all classifications and Prestegord noticed quickly the talent level at some of the bigger schools.
“There’s kids from Sedro-Woolley. I always thought I was pretty good and then he’s tearing me up,” Prestegord said. “You get to the bigger schools and there are a lot of kids that are a lot more talented.”
Prestegord wants to win the game, but has two simple goals in mind for Saturday.
“Have fun, but don’t mess up,” Prestegord said. “You can definitely tell kids don’t want to lose to the east.”
Along with the win, Purvis hopes to leave Yakima on Saturday with some new friends.
“My personal goals for this weekend is of course come out with the W and making relationships with new people and having fun,” Purvis said.