Former Knights enjoying football at Ridgefield, Skyview, Prairie, and Evergreen
They had to play football.
Even when football was taken away at their school, they just had to put on the pads.
At least six athletes from King’s Way Christian ended up playing football during this abbreviated season, representing Skyview, Evergreen, Prairie, and Ridgefield.
Four of the athletes ended up enrolling at their new schools. Two are still students at King’s Way Christian but opted to play for their “home boundary” teams.
King’s Way Christian announced last summer, before there was official word that football was going to be pushed back during the pandemic, that its high school football program was going to be put on hiatus.
Those who wanted to continue to play quickly found a way.
Tonight is the end of the Class 4A and 3A abbreviated football season, two weeks after Class 2A wrapped up its season. We talked to six former King’s Way Christian football players who have no regrets about taking the field in a new uniform.
“There was definitely nothing wrong with King’s Way football,” said Ty Snider, now a junior enrolled at Ridgefield. “It was disappointing we weren’t going to have a season. I had to make the best of the situation and do what I felt was best for me.”
In fact, three former Knights became Spudders.
Connor Delamarter and Bailey Meek also enrolled at Ridgefield and shined during the five-game schedule. The Spudders went 4-1.
Meek, the biggest football recruit in King’s Way history, ended up being voted the 2A Greater St. Helens League’s Defensive Player of the Year. He will be going to Army this summer.
Snider was first-team, all-league as a wide receiver.
“Playing for Ridgefield was a smooth transition,” Snider said. “They accepted me and Connor and Bailey like we were family all the way. It didn’t seem like we were outsiders. It always felt like we were part of the team.”
“I always held out hope that there was going to be a team (at King’s Way), but the ball didn’t roll that way,” added Delamarter. “Although I was disappointed, I’m happy at Ridgefield. I love my teammates, my coaches. I couldn’t ask for anything more from Ridgefield.”
Meek said it turned into a perfect situation. He still has friends at King’s Way. He has met new friends at Ridgefield. Plus, two teammates from King’s Way joined him in Ridgefield, along with coach Brian Rodriguez, who became an assistant with the Spudders.
“I still made some lifelong memories as a senior,” Meek said.
Mason Packer, a senior, is suiting up for his final game with the Skyview Storm tonight. An athlete who can do a lot of everything, his main focus is quarterback. He has signed with Portland State in hopes of becoming a college quarterback.
King’s Way Christian had Class B numbers but opted up to play in Class 1A. Packer noticed right away just how big a Class 4A program is when he enrolled at Skyview.
“It’s been so weird to have so many dudes at practice,” Packer said. “It was hard to practice at King’s Way because we didn’t have numbers. We get to do things we’d never get a chance to do. Preparing for games is so much easier now.”
Packer was a Knight, but he has also always been part of Skyview’s family. His dad used to coach with the Storm. Mason Packer grew up with this coaching staff.
“I’ve known them my whole life. It’s been cool getting to play for those guys,” he said.
Skyview is 5-1 going into its finale against Battle Ground.
One of the more interesting plays of this abbreviated season came in Week 2 when Skyview was taking on Prairie. Packer was in at quarterback. Prairie’s Aidan Sweeney was in at defensive end.
“I was talking to him before the game, saying hi to him,” Sweeney said. “I was hoping I’d get to sack him.”
And he did.
Knight vs. Knight.
Skyview and Packer ended up getting the win, but on one play Sweeney got the sack.
Sweeney, a sophomore, is still a student at King’s Way but plays for his home boundary school.
“I love the sport, and I wanted to keep playing,” he said. “This team is awesome. I love it here. The guys, I’ve made friends easy. They’re all welcoming and accepting.”
Jamison Duke, also a sophomore, ended up in a starting role for the Evergreen Plainsmen. He remains enrolled at King’s Way Christian. He did not play football as a freshman but made up his mind that he was going to go out for the team as a sophomore.
“I wanted a team at King’s Way, but I was honestly happy to play for Evergreen,” Duke said. “It’s my home school. I just want to play football.”
Duke said he loves the culture that Evergreen coach Christian Swain has brought to the program. He feels welcome at Evergreen.
As earlier noted, the former head coach at King’s Way Christian ended up as an assistant at Ridgefield.
Rodriguez was surprised at the decision to press pause on the football program at King’s Way, but now he is an assistant to his close friend Scott Rice.
“Funny how things work out,” Rodriguez said. “So happy we get to be with Rice and embark on this journey together.”
A door closes, another opens.
King’s Way Christian does not have a high school football program right now but King’s Way Christian does have high school football players.