Gabe Gambleton and Mason Van Arsdall, Baker High School teammates and 2021 BHS graduates, recently learned they had each received a Scholar-Athlete award and scholarship from the Oregon chapter of the National Football Foundation.

“I was honored, we have a lot of great seniors on the football team, a lot of great guys, so it was an honor to be chosen for that scholarship,” Gambleton said.

“To be selected to receive it (the scholarship), especially two of us from Baker, to be selected is definitely a proud moment,” Van Arsdall said.

To qualify for a scholarship, students must have played football their senior year, been selected either first- or second-team all conference, and have a grade-point average of at least 3.0 midway through their senior year.

Baker football coach Jason Ramos, who submitted information to the National Football Foundation for all his graduating players, said he’s grateful to see Gambleton and Van Arsdall rewarded for their hard work in the classroom.

“I’m appreciative of the program to actually rewarding or honoring the kids for what they do in the classroom,” Ramos said. “Both Mason and Gabe are great examples of what we would strive our kids to do to be recognized as a student athlete, especially of what they’ve done in the last year and a quarter, going through what we’ve gone through with the pandemic and still maintaining a real focus, and high expectations for their academics.”

Gambleton was one of the three valedictorians for the BHS Class of 2021, which graduated Sunday, June 6. He credits his parents for helping him prioritize being successful in the classroom before he was able to excel on the football field.

“My parents taught me at a very young age about studying hard and getting good grades,” he said. “It’s a huge deal to me and I took it very seriously.”

Van Arsdall is proud to show his work ethic with academics as well as athletics.

“It’s not just on the field that matters, it’s life that matters to you,” he said. “That you are going to leave school, leave college with a work ethic in everything that you do.”

Van Arsdall will attend Eastern Oregon University this fall, where he signed a letter of intent to play baseball.

Gambleton will attend Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington.

Van Arsdall to represent Baker in Shrine Game

Van Arsdall has had quite the week. In addition to graduating from BHS and receiving the scholarship, he was picked to compete in the 69th-annual East-West Shrine All-Star Football Game, which returns to Baker Bulldog Memorial Stadium on Aug. 7. The game, which features top players from Class 1A, 2A, 3A and 4A schools, is a major fundraiser for the Shrine Hospital for Children in Portland, was canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I actually found right before our basketball game the other day that I got selected, it was pretty exciting,” Van Arsdall said. “I had some people coming up to me, congratulating me and I hadn’t even known yet. So I went to my dad and he showed me that I was on the roster and it was a pretty amazing feeling.”

Van Arsdall’s dad, Jef, understands that feeling.

So does Jef’s dad, and Mason’s grandpa, Jim Van Arsdall.

Both Jef and Jim also played in the Shrine game, making Mason, who plays on both offensive and defensive lines, a third-generation honoree.

Jef played in the 1990 game, representing Seaside.

Jim played in the 1961 game, representing Franklin High School in Portland.

Knowing that his dad still has his jersey from the 1990 game, Mason is excited to cherish his jersey for the memories that are bound to come.

“My whole family has gotten to be a part of this organization, it’s pretty amazing to be a part of this program, this whole community to have through Shriners,” Van Arsdall said.

Ramos is proud that Van Arsdall was picked for the game.

“We are always proud of our kids that get selected to be on the Shrine team, because that is such an important distinction for kids,” Ramos said. “He is a great representation of our program.”

Van Arsdall looks forward to playing one final game on what’s been his home field for the past four years.

“The fact that I get to be the host, and bring visitors onto my field and to play one last game on my field with people coming from all over the state is an amazing opportunity,” Van Arsdall said.

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