Pacers will never have a season like this one again - ever

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One thing's for sure. There is never going to be a season like this again for the Lakeridge football team. Not even close.

And that in itself is reason to stay tuned all year. You have a team on the brink of forfeiting its entire season. A team that, in terms of experience, is ranked last in the Three Rivers League. A team whose head coach when asked about his football background answered with a laugh: 'watching games on Saturdays and Sundays on TV.' A team that will play the first true home game in its 37-year history. And a team that, if its goes 0-9, new coach Ian Lamont said would be considered successful since that would mean it actually completed the season.

You want to stack the deck against the Pacers any more? How about giving them just two weeks of practice before they take on Sunset from the Metro League in a Zero Week game?

Lakeridge could be forgiven if it adopted a fatalistic attitude heading into the year and, in all likelihood, it's going to take its lumps.

But that isn't how this team is viewing the season. Because something remarkable has already happened. Nearly doubling its numbers in a little over a week is impressive enough but this team and this season has become much larger than wins and losses.

'The kids know this is important. We've been telling them over and over that they're playing for something bigger than themselves,' Lamont said.

The community has rallied around this team. Lamont wrote an e-mail to the Lakeridge community and instantly received a response. On the popular social networking Web site Facebook, current players urged other to come out for the team to save the season and it worked.

Even those who are loyal to its most heated rival have pitched in to help during a season on the brink.

Steve Berlye, a Lake Oswego graduate whose children went to Jesuit, has stepped up as a consultant for this year's team.

And it's all coming together in an effort to preserve a program's proud history and possibly lay the groundwork to returning it to new heights.

But as for this season? This season that gets underway tomorrow? It's anyone's guess. Could Sunset lay a 40-point whooping tomorrow? Sure. Could the team go 0-9? Possibly. But…

'What if we win a game?' Lamont said. 'What if we win two? What if we somehow find ourselves with a chance to make the playoffs at the end of the year? Can you imagine that?'

And that is the question that could very well become this team's mantra. Can you imagine? It's the stuff Disney movies are made of.

Lakeridge's band of underdogs has the benefit of being a team opening the year with no expectations and, many times, that's a team that you want no part of.

Wins and losses will always be a gauge of success, especially in this city where athletic prowess is a tradition. But the season has already been a success in that the entire city of Lake Oswego, not just those who live within Lakeridge's district lines, has shown how important this program is.

And it's going to be a wild ride. No one can predict how the team will respond against Sunset or in its first league game or in the Civil War showdown against a Laker squad that could vie for a state title once again.

But when this team, half of which had no idea they would be donning a helmet three weeks ago, takes its home field against McNary in October and plays in front of a home crowd that is largely responsible for that game existing, it's going to be truly special no matter the outcome.