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Metros 6 teams kick off football race Friday

The new, slimmed-down Metro League opens its 5-game run on Friday
by: MILES VANCE, METRO TIME — Southridge senior Justin Smith (left) and the Skyhawks open league play at Sunset on Friday.

The Metro League has long been known as one of the state's best in football, and the 2006 season, which starts in earnest on Friday, should do nothing to dispel that notion.

The new six-team Metro League begins its league schedule with three games set for 7:30 p.m. Friday, including Jesuit at Beaverton, Southridge at Sunset and Westview at Aloha.

Jesuit

Among those six teams is top-ranked and defending state champion Jesuit, which went 4-0 in non-league play, posting wins over Mountain View of Washington, 11th-ranked Central Catholic, ninth-ranked Lake Oswego and Tigard.

'The season's kind of three seasons now,' said Jesuit coach Ken Potter. 'The first one (non-league play) is over, then we've got the regular season and, hopefully, the playoffs. The Metro League will be tremendous this year.'

Westview

Fourth-ranked Westview is, like Jesuit, 4-0 after notching victories over Tigard, Wilson, No. 16 McMinnville and No. 13 North Medford.

'We've taken pretty good care of the football so far and we'll need to do that,' said Wildcats' coach Jon Evans. 'Our record isn't really 4-0 now, it's 0-0 heading into Metro play.'

Aloha

Then there's Aloha, currently the 11th-ranked team in the state after a sterling 4-0 preseason that included wins over Prairie, Wash., David Douglas, Gresham and Benson.

'It's good to be 4-0 ... but the Metro League will take it up a notch,' added Warriors' coach Chris Casey.

Southridge

Southridge, one of the league preseason playoff favorites, enters league play at 2-2 after opening its year with wins over McMinnville and Lake Oswego, then suffering through losses to Lincoln and Grant.

'We've got to ... work hard and get better at what we do for the teams ahead of us because we play a lot better teams ahead,' said Southridge senior defensive back Justin Smith.

Beaverton

In reverse fashion, perennial Metro League powerhouse Beaverton dropped its first two contests against seventh-ranked Tualatin and Grant, then rallying to 2-2 by beating unranked Redmond and Canby.

'We are really starting to develop and find out what we need to do to win,' Beaverton coach Bob Boyer said. 'We're starting to play Beaverton football and we're really excited about that.'

Sunset

Sunset was up and down through its non-league slate, falling to No. 7 South Eugene, beating Mountain View and Sandy, then losing to South Medford.

'We're going into the season 0-0 now,' said Sunset senior running back/linebacker Kerry Degman. 'We're tied with everybody else now.'