OC triumphs in Battle for the Bridge
Foundation for cystic fibrosis is real winner in the alumni rival game
The event was nearly a century in the making. Oregon City and West Linn, one of the most longstanding rivalries in prep football, have for years drawn large crowds of boisterous fans from both sides of the river. Saturday night that rivalry was put to good use as it drew hundreds of people to a full-contact charity football game for cystic fibrosis.
The teams consisted of alumni from both high schools, who donned their respective colors before charging onto West Linn High School's football field. The funds made from ticket sales, concessions and T-shirts went to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation's Oregon Chapter to aid research on the rare genetic disorder.
'My goddaughter Sophia has cystic fibrosis; her father Ian and I came up with an idea for a charity football game to raise money for the CF Foundation,' said Trent Tribou, co-organizer of the event.
Cystic fibrosis is a rare genetic disorder that affects the lungs causing them to produce excess mucus. Treatment usually consists of ventilation and antibiotics; however, since there is no cure, the disorder is life threatening.
'For a CF fundraiser this is pretty big because not a lot of people know what CF is, and everyone wants to see Oregon City and West Linn play,' said Adrienne Schweizer, a 2010 Oregon City graduate with CF.
Pretty big? With 800 presale tickets plus over 1,000 tickets sold at the door, this was a well-attended event. Both bleachers were full of people wearing combinations of red and black and green and gold.
'There's more people here tonight than on a Friday night game,' said Linda MacClanathan, whose husband and son were both playing for the West Linn side.
Todd and his son Mike MacClanathan both went to West Linn, where they both played for the football team, and even had the same jersey number. You could say they're like two peas in a pod, so when they heard about this alumni game, it was a no-brainer for both of them to sign up.
'This was a once-in-a-lifetime thing for them, and it's very cool to see them both on the field,' Linda MacClanathan said.
For a good cause
There was also a raffle for a money pot, which was split down the middle, half going to the winner and the other half going to the CF Foundation.
'They're obviously raising a lot of money, and it's for a good cause,' MacClanathan said.
Volunteers came out in droves for support. The NW Contexture Congregation, a neighborhood church, contributed multiple volunteers to help man the grill and sell hamburgers. Heather Carroll, a member of the church, said she supports the school and the community.
The event also had many business sponsors, including Willamette's Lil' Cooperstown and Alumni Athletics USA, which donated all of the equipment for the players minus the West Linn jerseys.
'They drove all the gear up from California, so this is all theirs, but coach Chappell let us wear the jerseys,' Tribou said.
With a bunch of old guys playing full contact football, you'd expect the scene at the end of MASH, with players dropping off like flies. However, with only six minor injuries, including sprained ankles, a popped shoulder and one pulled Achilles tendon the on-duty ambulance wasn't even called.
'An injury you can get in football always gets riskier with age,' said Sean Farrell, athletic trainer for West Linn. 'In a game like this, you're taking young guys who are just out of high school and pitting them against guys who haven't played for many years.'
About 55 guys took that risk for Oregon City, as did 45 for West Linn Call them heroes or crazy, they battled for bragging rights and a cure to a serious disorder.
Oregon City won 23-14, after West Linn threw up a Hail Mary pass in the final seconds of the game, which the receiver caught but then stepped out of bounds.
That Hail Mary pass, though inconsequential to the game, was a reminder of the spirit of this event. Tribou saw this event as the beginning of an excellent addition to an already century-old tradition.
'We all had a good time, we played hard, there were a few injuries, but everyone wants to come back and I think it'll be bigger next year,' he said.