I’d like to nominate a new sports team rivalry to enter the Sports Hall of Fame alongside the likes of the 49ers and the Rams, and the Ducks and the Beavers—that of our very own high school teams, the Lakeridge Pacers and the Lake Oswego Lakers who face off against each other this Friday, October 7 at the Lakeridge field at 7 p.m. (Check out the official countdown) Both are undefeated, with Lake Oswego ranked second in state and Lakeridge sixth in the AP Poll.
I see the rivalry as a good thing. With three kids who went through the ranks as Pacers, I saw firsthand how pumped up and focused they got before a game against their cross-town rivals. While none of them played football, the rivalry crosses sports boundaries. As Lakeridge girls varsity soccer player, Katey Jacobsen said, “When we play LO it’s almost like a state championship because everyone is so ready for it and pumped up.” The team wears rubber bands across their cleats that say, “Take the Lake,” inspire each other with notes, and carpool if it’s an away game, honking and singing their fight song when they arrive.
A rivalry, if it’s a good one will do what it’s supposed to do: define the team and bring them together. Local Pacers and Lakers seem to agree that’s what theirs does:
- Ian Lamont, Lakeridge Athletic Director: “It’s a chance to take pride in your community and school,” he explains. And it’s not just the players. Lamont says one of the highlights is “the excitement the fans bring to the games.”
- Tom Smythe, Lakeridge Football Head Coach: “It’s a wholesome rivalry. People in this town understand that one team or the other is going to be on a roll,” he explains. That team on a roll was the Pacers during Smythe’s last twelve years coaching at Lakeridge during his first stint from 1971 to 1987 (this is his third season in his second go-around). “Lately, it’s been the other way around,” he admits, “but we are closing the gap.”
- Steve Coury, Lake Oswego Head Football Coach: “The rivalry speaks highly of our city—we have two of the best teams in the state in the same city,” he explains. “So kudos to our kids, our community, and the competitive spirit.” Coury’s fondest rivalry memory is his first game as the Laker coach. At that point, the Lakers had been on the losing end of the crosstown match-up for many years. “We were over-matched, they were three times the team we were, none of our guys could have made their team,” he recalls. “But we won the game. We had no right but it speaks to what a rival game is all about. You can throw out the records and the stats—it has its own weird way of playing itself out.”
- Tom Knecht, Lakeridge football quarterback: “It’s definitely the biggest game of the year and we look forward to it,” he explains. His highlight going into Friday night’s game against LO was last year’s match-up when Lakeridge held Lake Oswego to a 7-7 tie, midway through the third quarter before the Lakers took the lead to win the game. “The crowd really got into it,” Knecht recalls.
- Stevie Coury, Lake Oswego wide receiver. “It’s a whole different game than any other game all year,” he explains. “This year’s game is bigger than any in the last ten years because both teams are coming in with 5-0 records. There is a lot on the line and the hype is going to be up. Whoever wins has bragging rights for the year until we play each other again.”
When it comes to high school sports, it doesn’t get much better than this! See you at the game.
Be sure to check out the Good Neighbor Transportation and Parking Guidelines for all Lakeridge home games.
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