Caleb Statham found himself facing some of his most intense rivals on the football field June 26.
This time, though, they were his teammates. Statham was selected to play in the Earl Barden Classic, East-West All-Star game at Zaepfel Stadium in Yakima. The game brought together senior all-stars from 2A, A, B, and B-8 classifications.
“It was a blast,” said Statham, despite having to endure two practices a day in 90 degree temperatures throughout the week. Statham was part of a significant contingent of Whatcom County players selected including Jordon Hastings and Ryan Seto of Lynden, Garret Kirshman of Squalicum and Bo Morris of Meridian.
“The best part of the week was getting to spend time with the Lynden guys and Garret from Squalicum,” Statham reflected, “I used to live in the Meridian school district and knew Bo from when I was young. It was great to play with him.”
The West team was glutted with backs and receivers so many players found themselves playing their final high school game in an unfamiliar position.
For Statham, he spent the first half as a slot receiver on offense and an outside linebacker in the second half. Statham got two carries in the first half for 9 yards but did deliver the springing block for West offensive most valuable player Mike Brown’s 15 yard touchdown run as the West took a 7-0 first quarter lead.
Both Statham and Seto saw time late in the game on offense though. Trailing late in the fourth quarter, West coach Casey Johnson of Adna brought the two Whatcom county stars on in an attempt to rally.
The East held on for a 21-17 victory over the West.
“Yeah, we brought Statham and Seto in to stretch out the defense and see if Hastings could hook up with them,” Johnson explained, “[Statham] is a fantastic kid. I wish him the best of luck at Montana.”
Statham, who rushed for over 1400 yards and 21 touchdowns for the Borderites as a senior will be leaving in August for the University of Montana to try to win a position in their high-powered, wide-open offense.
“I think I can show the coaches I’m ready to play now and not red-shirt,” says Statham looking forward, “I’ll do whatever role they want me to. If they want me to play special teams, that’s great. I love returning. I just want to play football.”