PORTLAND — With all the fanfare surrounding last Saturday’s Les Schwab Bowl, one would think that the state’s all-time leading rusher would have played a crucial role in the outcome.
But, in the end, Hood River’s Jacobe Krizman played only a minor part in the 56th annual senior all-star game at PGE Park, carrying the ball just three times for 10 yards.
“It was a little frustrating,” said the recent Hood River Valley High School graduate, whose South all-star team lost 23-21 to a team of North all-stars.
“The coaches called mostly pass plays and none of the running backs really got a chance to show what they could do. So that was disappointing. But just being there was a lot of fun.”
Krizman’s biggest gain of the night came during the first half, when he carried the ball for six yards up the middle. But his biggest loss was that the game went by so quickly.
“I was looking forward to this game for a few months and then, just like that, it was over,” he said. “But it was a great experience.”
Instead of griping about what could have been, the Southern Oregon University-bound running back chose to look at the positive side of the 2003 Les Schwab Bowl.
Even though Krizman didn’t get a chance to showcase his break-away speed — or the nose for the endzone that made him a hometown hero last fall — he still views his experience with the South all-stars as a victory.
“Just having the chance to be there was an honor,” said Krizman, who was the first Hood River Valley High School player to participate in the game since Kevin Holcomb in 1999.
“I didn’t expect to play every down or anything. I guess I could have played more, but that’s not up to me. The coaches make those calls, and that’s fine. I had a lot of fun either way,” he said.
The reality is, few people are going to remember Krizman for what he did — or didn’t do — in the high-school all-star game.
Instead, he will be remembered for leading the Eagles to their best-ever Class 4A record, and setting two state rushing records in 2002: Most yards in the regular season (2,366) and most yards including playoffs (2,845).
He also set school marks with 39 rushing touchdowns, 44 total TDs, and 352 yards in a single game (Oct. 25), on the way to becoming the Intermountain Conference Offensive Player of the Year.
“Jake isn’t the kind of guy to take all the credit,” said friend and teammate Nate Dethman, who played with Krizman since seventh grade when the two were the center-quarterback duo at Hood River Middle School.
“But he’s not hesitant to go out and be the best. He’s doesn’t want all the glory, but he’s not going to stand around and let someone take it from him either. He just wants to get out and play, and see what happens,” he said.
What happened in the 2003 Les Schwab Bowl wasn’t exactly what Dethman and the other HRV faithfuls were hoping to see.
But, at the same time, it wasn’t the game itself they were concerned with. It was watching their hard-nosed, hard-working teammate complete a long journey that started four years ago.
“He hasn’t exactly had the easiest life,” Dethman said, “and without sports, who knows what would have happened to him? It’s just good to see him finish on top.”