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Rasean Jones of Baker a must-see player for Portland-area fans at Saturday’s Les Schwab Bowl

“God gifted me with a gift, and it’s cool to use it.”
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By Dan Brood 

On the Team Columbia roster, Rasean Jones, a Baker sophomore-to-be, doesn’t have a specific position listed next to his name.

It just says “ath,” short for athlete.

There might not be a more accurate description to be found.

Whatever needs to be done — receiving, pass defense, returning kicks, even holding for kicks — Jones is ready to go.

“I think in this game I’ll be playing at receiver,” Jones said. “I’ve played safety, I’ve returned kicks, I’ve held for kicks, just a bunch of different things.”

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No matter what he’s doing, the 6-foot-3, 185-pound Jones is happy to get the chance to do it during Saturday’s Les Schwab Bowl, a high school football all-star game featuring many of the top players from around the state, to be played at Linfield University in McMinnville.

“It means a lot,” Jones said before a Team Columbia practice session Tuesday. “It’s a cool experience to be out here with the best of the best, competing and having the good time.”

To make Jones’ selection to the game even more impressive, he’s just the third player to compete in the contest following his freshman season. Central Catholic’s Timmy Mitchell in 2021 and Putnam’s Jace Eveland, last year were the first two freshmen to suit up for the game.

“It’s cool,” Jones said of being the third freshman to play in the contest. “God gifted me with a gift, and it’s cool to use it.”

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He used his gift, and athleticism, plenty during his freshman year at Baker. In the fall, he helped the Bulldogs go 5-4. He was an all-Greater Oregon League first-team selection at receiver, defensive back and returner.

“It went OK,” Jones said. “We definitely could have done a little better. We had a lot of injuries. I think next year will be pretty good. We lost only five seniors.”

In the winter, he helped Baker reach the Class 4A boys basketball state tournament. He might have been at his best during the spring track and field season, when he won Class 4A state championships in the 110-meter high hurdles and the 300 intermediate hurdles.

“Basketball is just something to do, because I have nothing else to do,” Jones said. “Track, I take a little more serious. I do hurdles and have a good time. Doing those things helps with football. It trains different muscles.”

Jones is also looking to make the most out of his 350-mile trip from Baker City to McMinnville.

“It’s definitely worth it, coming this far. There’s not a lot out there,” he said with a laugh. “I hope to learn better skills and better techniques that I can carry on and bring home. I’m meeting new people and the coaches. I’m just learning stuff.”

And, of course, there’s Saturday’s game, where Jones and Team Columbia will take on Team Willamette in the all-star tilt.

“It’s important to win and also have a good time with it,” he said.

Proceeds from this year’s Les Schwab Bowl, presented by Express Employment Professionals, will benefit the Oregon Athletic Coaches Association general scholarship fund, the Brayden Bafaro Scholarship Fund, and various youth charities.

This is the 75th game in the series, but just the second that won’t be North vs. South. Instead, players were drafted by the Team Columbia coaching staff, with head coach Steve Pyne from Central Catholic, and by the Team Willamette coaching staff, with head coach Josh Line from Sheldon. In last year’s game, the first under this format, Team Columbia posted a 28-9 win over Team Willamette.

Gates will open at 3 p.m. Saturday, with food carts on site. Kickoff is slated for 6 p.m.

Tickets for the game can be purchased at The game can also be streamed online, at a cost of $10, at