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Central Catholic's football team has hit its stride at exactly the right moment. The Rams started 1-2. Now, behind a fast, ball-hawking defense, a high-octane return game and an improving offense, they have won their last three games.

The Rams (4-2, 2-0) are tied with Gresham and Barlow atop the Mt. Hood Conference. Central Catholic coach Steve Pyne says tonight's 7 p.m. matchup with Gresham at Hillsboro Stadium will reveal a lot about how good Central Catholic is with the state playoffs a few weeks away.

'We're going to play a playoff team, a very talented team that's playing extremely confidently,' Pyne says. 'We're going to know a lot about ourselves after Thursday.'

The other MHC contender, Barlow (2-0), takes on visiting David Douglas (0-2) tonight.

In Thursday games involving PIL schools: Grant (4-2) will meet Redmond (2-4) at Lincoln; Jefferson (3-0 PIL 5A, 3-3 overall) invades Franklin (1-1, 1-5); Wilson (1-1, 2-4) plays Benson (1-1, 1-5) at Marshall; and Madison (0-2, 0-5) goes to Cleveland (1-2, 1-5).

The Metro League plays on Friday, with Jesuit (2-0) host to Aloha (0-2), Southridge (2-0) at Sunset (0-2), and Beaverton (1-1) at Westview (1-1).

Also Friday, 5A Bend will play at 6A Lincoln (3-3 overall); 4A Roosevelt (4-2) treks to Crook County (3-3); and 2A Portland Christian (1-0 Northwest League, 3-2 overall) is at home against Neah-Kah-Nie (1-0, 3-3).

Chiles Center:

A $2 million pledge from Earle M. Chiles will enable the University of Portland to upgrade its Chiles Center. Work will begin next spring on locker rooms, a strength and conditioning center, a study area and additional office space. In all, more than 10,000 square feet will be remodeled or added to the facility, which was dedicated in 1984 and plays hosts to cultural and civic events, as well as athletics.

College volleyball:

Portland State (8-11 overall, 4-3 Big Sky) has a 7 p.m. Saturday match against Eastern Washington at Stott Center.

College men's soccer: The Portland Pilots, who were 5-6-1 overall and 0-4-0 in the West Coast Conference going into Wednesday's game at Gonzaga, will visit Saint Mary's (3-3-5, 2-0-2) on Sunday. … In the Cascade Collegiate Conference, first-place Concordia (11-1, 7-1) takes its No. 13 national ranking into a 3 p.m. Saturday game against Northwest Christian at Delta Park.

College women's soccer:

Portland (5-6-1, 0-1-0 WCC) has two games at Merlo Field this weekend. UP will take on San Diego at 7 p.m. Friday and Saint Mary's at 1 p.m. Sunday. … Fourth-ranked Concordia (9-3-1, 4-0-0 CCC) carries a six-game winning streak into Delta Park matches at 6 p.m. Saturday versus Corban and 7 p.m. Monday against Northwest Christian. Warner Pacific (3-2-1, 2-2-0) will be at David Douglas High at 1 p.m. Saturday against Northwest Christian and 1 p.m. Monday versus Corban.