Garcia and White suit up for West
Garcia and fellow former Dayton teammate Jered White are on the West roster and are set to play against the East on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. at Baker High School. The game is being televised regionally on Root Sports.
Garcia will enter Lane Community College in fall and begin to focus on baseball.
“It’s my last football game,” he said. “I’ve been thinking about it. Four years went really fast.”
Garcia said he will be a starter at running back for his team, coached by Scappoose’s Sean McNabb.
The players gathered July 24 at the Al Kader Shrine Center in Wilsonville and have been enjoying a life of practices and appearances and dinners ever since.
The teams visited the Shriners Hospital for Children in Portland before moving to Eastern Oregon for a series of events and game preparation.
“It was inspirational to see all of the little kids and learn what happened to them in their lives,” Garcia said. “I feel blessed to play for them and to play at all.”
Together, Garcia and White accounted for 259 of Dayton’s 311 yards from scrimmage and four touchdowns last December in a 34-28 championship game victory over Cascade Christian. It was the Pirates’ first title since 2002.
The two Dayton players have been roommates this week at Eastern Oregon University. White, a receiver at Dayton, isn’t done playing. He begins his college career at Linfield in a couple weeks.
Garcia and White also played on a state championship basketball team at Dayton as juniors in 2012 and helped the Pirates take third at the state tournament this year. Garcia was also the West Valley League baseball player of the year.
The teams are comprised of 30 graduated seniors each and split geographically. The championship teams from Class 4A, 3A and 2A are allowed two players each. No other school is permitted more than one player. Schools from classifications 4A, 3A, 2A and 1A are represented.
The players have been feted with tours and dinners wrapped around an intensive two-a-day workout schedule.
“It’s been fun. I’ve made a lot of new friends,” Garcia said. “It was tough in the beginning of the week (physically). But then my legs started getting used to it again.”
The East-West Shrine Game is in its 61st year but has had a couple of gaps. The East has won 29 games, the West has 25 wins and there have been three ties.
Saturday’s game is preceded by a steak and pancake breakfast and parade. Pre-game festivities at Baker’s Bulldog Stadium beginning at 11:30 a.m.