YAKIMA — High school football players from across the state gathered at Zaepfel Stadium in Yakima for the 25th annual Earl Barden Classic on Saturday. The game featured seniors from 2A, 1A, 1B and 2B schools across Washington.
The all-state game brought players together for a week of practices and activities as they signed off on their high school football careers. The East roster featured three players from Royal: Angel Farias, Alonso Hernandez and Sawyer Jenks.
Jenks said it was a great experience being able to hang around a great group of guys for a week, doing something you love. As his time with Royal football comes to an end, Jenks said his four years with the Knights have meant everything.
“Growing up, with Royal, everything’s football,” Jenks said. “We’re just raised that way. So being able to go and play for four years, it was just everything to me.”
The East managed to take the victory in the game, 37-6, taking command early and holding the West side scoreless in the second half. The East side got the scoring started in big fashion with a 72-yard touchdown pas from Kanen Ables to Troy Yarter. The lead doubled after a 10-yard interception by Jacob Newsom before West answered with a touchdown before the half.
Royal’s Angel Farias found the end zone in the second half with a 22-yard pass from Ables. Jenks threw the second touchdown of the half with a 31-yard toss to Cameron Ditter. Selah’s Scott Ditter coached the East side and kept with his regular season tactics, as the East went 3-4 on two-point conversions.
Ditter said it was a tremendous honor to be asked to coach int he game, giving him one more chance to coach his son.
“It’s a great way to end the connection, the relationship as coach and player that we’ve had,” Ditter said.
Ditter said the big emphasis he had with his players all week was to take advantage of opportunities. The Selah coach said he felt good about his team’s chances coming into the battle Saturday, but, ultimately, the score didn’t matter.
“It’s about the experience and the relationships that I know I’ll keep with these guys, coaches and players alike, and I just love it,” Ditter said.