Jefferson HS students talk healing after shooting as football team works towards cup

Published: Nov. 10, 2022 at 8:26 PM PST
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PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) – The OSAA is trying something new this year for the 6-A level of high school football. While the top 16 seeds are playing for the state championship, teams seeded 17th through 32nd are competing in a secondary bracket for the inaugural Columbia Cup.

FOX 12′s Nick Krupke was invited out to practice for one of those teams still playing in November as the Jefferson Democrats look to move beyond last month’s shooting to celebrate the good times the Jefferson way.

“This ain’t what everybody thinks, this is really like, we really work out here, for real,” said Jefferson senior Jeray Mott Jr.

It was Oct. 18 when off-the-field life got all too real for the kids at Jefferson High.

“It was around like 4:00, we all had weight training so we’re all outside, and then all you hear is the car coming down the street and after that it was just... shots,” said Sanborne Melson, a Jefferson senior.

A drive-by shooting had the teens fleeing for safety while a senior member of the Demos football team was hit by a bullet in his leg with a non-life-threatening injury. The experience is now with the whole group for the rest of their lives.

RELATED: 2 students injured after shooting near Jefferson High School

“It’s one of those scenarios where you just have to thug it out. You don’t forget it, you’re not going to forget it, but you know, we keep him in our hearts and our prayers,” said Jefferson sophomore D’Marieon Gates.

The Demos are aware of being the first Jefferson team to still be playing in November in many moons, into the quarterfinals of the Columbia Cup bracket in 6-A football.

“I think everyone would rather be playing for a big trophy, but I’ll take it,” Jefferson head coach Anthony Stoudamire.

Second-year coach Anthony Stoudamire is on his third tour of duty for the Demos. The Washington high grad started his coaching career at J.H.S. in 1978, then came the perennial playoff run as head coach from 2006 to 2012.

“I’m not here to please anybody but these kids,” Stoudamire said. “They had six coaches in nine years since I left and that’s not good for any community or any football program when you are trying to build one.”

The man who built the Demos youth league is old school that works in the new school.

“He’s going to tell you to go hard, he ain’t going to tell you to do the little fancy, all that new stuff but he is going to tell you how to get there though,” said Mott Jr.

Discipline, accountability and winning – first in the classroom.

“We’re about academics and football here,” Stoudamire said.

The Demo-lition defense has allowed less than 30 total points during a six-game win streak, including last Friday’s home playoff game against McMinnville, the first postseason victory for any PIL team in five years.

“We’re looking pretty strong, and we have a really strong defensive unit that is making some big noise and making us look good in these playoffs because I feel like we are really like, like that,” Melson said.