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Gridiron year gets early start

Are you ready for some football?

If so, you won't want to miss the Les Schwab Kickoff Classic, a pre-season doubleheader that will be held Friday night at PGE Park.

The first game, which will be held at 5:30 p.m., will pit Central Catholic against Evergreen of Vancouver, Wash. Then at 8 p.m., Lake Oswego will take on Bothel High School from the Seattle area.

The two contests are considered endowment games, which allows each participant to play an extra regular-season game. In addition to getting an additional game, each team also will receive one-half of the ticket revenue that is generated through their respective schools.

Lake Oswego coach Steve Coury said his team will approach Friday's game just like the Lakers would prepare to any other regular-season contest. The only difference is Coury and his assistant know virtually nothing about Bothel, which went 7-3 last year while finishing third in the class 4A Kingco Conference.

'It's kind of a blind deal and that makes it tough,' Coury said. 'But I think they're a very good team and they've got a great reputation up there … They've been a consistent winner, which kind of parallels what we've done for the last few years.

'The unknows are how fast are they and how big and physical might they be? And what are they going to do offensively and defensively?

'It might be a little bit of trial and error … feeling them out and then making adjustments,' Coury said.

Coury figured the best way to prepare his team for the game was to just work on the things the Lakers do well.

'What we did last week, and we'll continue to do this week (in practice) is just get better for us,' Coury said.

Certainly, he won't have the Lakers playing cautiously, just because they're unfamiliar with the opponent.

'When we play, we play to win,' the coach said. 'And our kids will be ready to play a game.'

Tickets for Friday's game will still be available Thursday morning through the high school. Tickets also will be available at a pep rally Thursday, at 6:30 p.m., at the high school stadium. Event organizers say any leftover tickets might still be available Friday morning at the school's main office.