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Pacers have speedsters everywhere

There's a good reason why football teams play in preseason jamborees before starting the season for real.

In the case of Lakeridge, the Pacers' coaches now know exactly what they have to work on before Friday's season opener against Canby. Much of that work will probably focus on the defense, which looked shaky at times in last Thursday's jamboree against Gresham and David Douglas.

'(The defense) is going to be our biggest concern. We've got some things that we've got to shore up,' Lakeridge coach Rob Kool said after the jamboree. 'But I feel real confident that by the end of the year, they're going to be one heck of a defense.'

The Pacer defense took its lumps at times while giving up three relatively easy scores against David Douglas. But by the time Lakeridge played Gresham a short time later, the defense was already starting to look better. In fact, Lakeridge shut out the hard-luck Gophers.

On the other hand, concerns about Lakeridge's offense were virtually non-existent after last Thursday's showing. The Pacers scored seven times combined in that three-way jamboree, and each of those scores were at least partially the result of the Pacers' blazing speed at the skill positions.

With Taylor Young at wide receiver, brother Zach Young at tailback and Robbie Kool, the coach's son, at quarterback, the Pacers have three of the fastest skill players in the state. That was evident last Thursday when the Young brothers flew past their defenders time after time. And the younger Kool looked equally capable of throwing the ball long or running the quarterback keeper. Against Gresham, each of those players was responsible for at least one play of 20 yards or more.

'They're special kids,' coach Kool said of his top skill players. 'Taylor, you just can't seem to cover the kid … And Zach makes big things happen … Then you saw Robbie on the option. If they don't touch him, he's going to be gone.'

'He's gone' was probably a phrase that several opposing players uttered when those Lakeridge kids got behind them. Against Gresham, that seemed to happen every other play.

'Some to those gains would have been five or six yards for most players. But for our fast, skilled guys, those will be 30, 40, 50-yard gains,' coach Kool said.

The only question about Lakeridge's offense will be whether the offensive line can keep up with the speed demons.

'It really comes down to our O line and how physical they're going to be. I have the confidence that they're going to do the job. And if they do their job, I know the skill kids will make it happen,' the coach said.

Coach Kool is confident his squad will be ready for action by the time they open the season on Friday at Canby. The host Cougars probably will be one of several teams that will have a size advantage against the Pacers. But that's something Kool believes his team can overcome.

'My big thing is I want to see us become more and more physical every week. So we can play the big, physical teams come playoff time,' the coach said.