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IT'S SWEET TO BE FIRST

SPEED TEST: Brad Sweet of La Grande runs the 40-yard dash during Shrine game practice Tuesday. (The Observer/PAT PERKINS).
SPEED TEST: Brad Sweet of La Grande runs the 40-yard dash during Shrine game practice Tuesday. (The Observer/PAT PERKINS).

By Pat Perkins

Observer Staff Writer

Had La Grande High School stayed at the Class 4A level last year, Brad Sweets final football game would have been a 55-6 trouncing of Mac-Hi in November.

Thats not a bad finish, but Sweet probably would not have been selected for the Oregon Bowl, the summer all-star game for graduated seniors from 4A schools.

As it happened, the Tigers dropped to the 3A ranks, and Sweet ended up being chosen to play in Saturdays Shriners Hospital Oregon East-West All-Star Football Game in Baker City.

The offensive/defensive lineman almost didnt get the honor; he was tapped in January as an alternate, along with La Grande teammate Preston Roe. Sweet will be the first La Grande player to play in the East-West game. The school has had several players chosen over the years for the 4A all-star game.

I found out a month ago, Sweet said. That was more of an honor (because) it surprised me. I wasnt expecting it.

It was kind of a goal once we moved down, he added. I just wanted to have all-state honors as one of my goals. (The Shrine game) is a real honor and something that not many people get to do.

An outstanding senior season helped him attain all-state recognition. Sweet was a first-team Greater Oregon League defensive lineman and was given honorable mention on the all-state team. He also served as a fullback and scored one touchdown.

In 1999, La Grandes last year in the Intermountain Conference, Sweet was a second-team offensive guard and a second-team defensive lineman.

He will play on both sides of the ball during Saturdays game, which starts at 7 p.m. at Baker Bulldog Stadium.

Even though Sweets two uncles, Bruce Sweet and Brian Sweet, represented Enterprise High School in the Shrine game in the 80s, Brad has never even been to the annual Shriners Hospital fund-raiser.

Everythings going to be a new experience, he said.

Sweet is also proud to be the first La Grande player to participate.

Actually it means a lot even though we moved down to 3A this year, Sweet said. Im laying stepping grounds for the La Grande players.

 
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