Worden: Does lack of Oregonians hurt the Civil War?

The Civil War’s greatest moments have been made by out of  staters

Ken Simonton streaked down the sideline and scored the game-winning touchdown. Yes, the 1998 Civil War.

It’s Bedlam in Parker Stadium — okay, I won’t go overboard — but it’s one of the biggest moments in OSU’s football history ever, let alone in Civil War memory.

But wait, Simonton is from Pittsburg, Calif. What does this mean? Should we erase 1998 from the record books?

Look, I’m not trying to take anything away from the Oregon State-Oregon matchup. In fact, I’d like to do the opposite.

The Civil War’s importance, or significance, or intrigue — whatever you want to call it — is not diminished by the fact that many players do not actually come from the state of Oregon.

Sure it’s fun to watch Portland product Derek Anderson, for example, lead OSU to a 39-point win in 2004 over the Ducks.

But it pains me to hear people complain about not having enough Oregon players in the Civil War. Allow me to rattle off a few reasons.

One – College is not about going to the nearest university to your hometown. If you want to study computer science while playing defensive end on the football team, go make something of yourself at Carnegie Mellon. Does CMU have a football team? No idea. But you get the point.

Two – The state of Oregon is not exactly a recruiting hotbed, so if there aren’t many local players with the Beavers or Ducks, don’t blame them. Oregon hasn’t produced an ESPN-rated four or five-star recruit the last two years. Sure, there have been missed opportunities before (Ndamukong Suh, for example), but again, who’s to say all Oregon high schoolers are better off staying in state?

Three – Fans care about rivalry games, and they already carry the emotional ties making the rival game significant to them. If you want to see Oregonians play football, go watch some Corvallis High School games.

Let’s look back at some recent highlights in Civil War history. I’ll stick with positive ones for OSU because there have been too many Duck victories of late.

Remember James Rodgers’ tightroping overtime touchdown in 2007? Or Dorian Smith and Derrick Doggett making the game-winning tackle moments later on Jonathan Stewart? Maybe Matt Moore’s huge day in 2006 and Alexis Serna’s game-clinching field goal?

None of those players are from Oregon.

But those were still big moments in Civil War history, right? Just because the players spent the first 18 years of their lives located outside of Oregon’s geographical borders doesn’t mean their efforts are worthless.

Fun fact: the last Civil War with a native Oregonian attempting a pass was in 2005. Kyle Bennett, who attended Brian Rathbone’s (Daily Barometer Sports Editor) alma mater David Douglas High School, completed one pass for the Ducks while Ryan Gunderson, from rival Central Catholic, went 22-for-43.

The next 637 passes over nine Civil Wars have all been attempted by out-of-state players. That’s 15 different student-athletes, none of whom came from Oregon, from the likes of Marcus Mariota and Sean Mannion to Justin Roper, Luke Del Rio and Colt Charles.

And there have been some great Civil Wars since then. If you’re a Beaver fan, look fondly on 2006 and 2007 (with Moore and Torrance, Calif.’s Lyle Moevao to thank) and if you favor the team down south, pick any game from 2008 onward. Jeremiah Masoli? Born in San Francisco. Darren Thomas? Houston. Marcus Mariota? Honolulu.

I grew up in Corvallis. If anyone is going to complain about a lack of native Oregon pride in the Civil War, it should be me.

I like seeing out-of-state players make an in-state rivalry great. If athletes choose to attend OSU or Oregon, fantastic. And if you don’t like rooting for people who didn’t grow up nearby, ask Dorian Smith and Derrick Doggett if they think their 2007 game-winning tackle is meaningless. Maybe they’ll lay you out like they did Jonathan Stewart eight years ago.

On Twitter @BrightTies

Was this article helpful?