BOMBERGER, FEIK PREPARE FOR SHRINE GAME
By Pierre LaBossire
Observer Staff Writer
Two local athletes from entirely dissimilar kinds of schools and widely different goals after this summer will see action in the 51st Annual Shrine East-West All-Star game in Baker City Saturday.
One is a star quarterback looking to land a spot on a college roster this fall.
The other is an undersized lineman from a tiny school likely playing in his last game.
La Grande quarterback Kyle Bomberger and Powder Valley noseguard Brad Feik were selected to be part of the East squad. They spent this past weekend at Eastern Oregon University meeting other football athletes from around Oregon and beginning practice sessions.
The one thing Feik and Bomberger said they do have in common is that they're developing a lot of new friendships at the Shrine game camp. Feik said he's especially made friends with a couple of rivals from other small towns Andrew Rietmann of Ione and Ryan Joyce of Crane whom he had never gotten to know that well before.
Bomberger, who was looking at possibly playing for Portland State and other schools, will be trying out this fall for the Eastern Oregon University Mountaineers. He had a spectacular senior season for the Tigers, leading La Grande in both passing and rushing. On the defensive side of the ball, Bomberger was another team leader, making the All-Greater Oregon League team as a linebacker.
Bomberger said it had been his goal for years to get selected for the Shrine game.
"I've been looking forward to making it (the Shrine squad) since my sophomore year," he said. Making the squad was the culmination of a lot of time and effort he put into football during the past several years. "My hard work paid off," he said, "I achieved one of my goals from high school."
Bomberger said he may play both defense and offense in the Shrine game. He said the game is good preparation for the beginning of college training camp later this month.
Not surprisingly, Bomberger's best memory from his high school career was last year's season-ending game against Ontario, which at the time was the No. 3-ranked team in the state. Bomberger engineered two touchdown drives in the final minute of the frigid game as La Grande staged a huge come-from-behind upset over Ontario. There's an Ontario player on Bomberger's Shrine squad "but he doesn't talk very much about it (the La Grande game)," he laughed.
Bomberger well outweighs Feik, though Feik is a lineman. Feik played noseguard at Powder Valley, a position that doesn't really exist outside eight-man football. At 175 pounds, he's going to be heavily outgunned on the line. "I should've been a linebacker," Feik said.
Feik, who had five quarterback sacks in a playoff game last year, said it was a "cool" experience when he heard he was one of just a handful of Class 1A players to make the East squad. He's learned from his other teammates that success hasn't come easily for any of them.
"You've got to work for what you want," he said.
Feik's Powder Valley teams had a lot of success, making it to the state semifinals three years. Last year, the Badgers went into the "final four" of the 1A playoffs as the top-ranked team in the state, but they lost during a hurricane in Hillsboro to a fast team from St. Paul.
Feik said he will be working to save up money for college and doubts he'll play football in college. He said it still really bugs him that Powder Valley was never able to win a state championship while he was at the school, but he likes the Badgers' chances this year. Powder Valley is bringing back most of its skill players, and Feik wishes he could be part of the team one more year.
"They better take it this year," Feik said. "I kind of wish I could've stayed behind a year. I already miss it."
Despite the lack of a championship, Feik still has a positive memory of his football years at Powder Valley. He said his teammates all had great attitudes, "and a lot of heart."
The Shrine game will be played at 7 p.m. Saturday at Baker High School.