Lake Oswego, Lakeridge football teams look ahead to 2017 season
From the start of fall season practices on Monday, it's just 19 days until the first varsity football games kick off for real.
While Lakeridge and Lake Oswego coaches have hosted weight room sessions and passing league competitions over the summer, things really kick into high gear on Monday and continue at top speed until non-league play begins on Sept. 1.
And after that, it gets really busy.
Lake Oswego opens its 2017 season with a 7 p.m. non-league game at Lincoln on Sept. 1 — the Lakers beat the Cardinals 7-0 at Lake Oswego in last year's opener — hosts Beaverton at 7 p.m. Sept. 8 in Week Two, then advances to Three Rivers League play when it faces Tigard at Tigard High School at 7 p.m. Sept. 15.
Lake Oswego went 4-3 and placed fourth in TRL play last year, and finished 6-5 overall, eventually ousted in the second round of the Class 6A state playoffs by eventual state champion West Linn.
Lincoln was last year's Portland Interscholastic League champion at 7-0, went 9-2 overall and exited the playoffs in the second round. Beaverton, meanwhile, went 6-1 and finished second in the Metro League, went 9-3 overall and reached the state quarterfinals.
Our "schedule is extremely tough," said Lake Oswego coach Steve Coury. We have, "by far, the best league in the state and every game will be competitive.
"Our non-league schedule is Lincoln and Beaverton, both playoff teams that went a couple games in. The schedule is very challenging for our team."
For Lakeridge, meanwhile, things ramp up even more quickly, with the Pacers set to play in a jamboree at 6:30 p.m. on Aug. 25 — that after just 12 days of the 2017 fall season under their belts.
Following that jamboree, Lakeridge kicks off its 2017 season for real when it hosts Roosevelt in non-league action at 7 p.m. Sept. 1. One week later, the Pacers take their show on the road for a 7 p.m. contest at Wilson High School.
The Pacers went 0-7 in Three Rivers League play last year and 2-7 overall, winning both their non-league contests — against Roosevelt and Wilson — before coming up empty in the tough-as-nails Three Rivers League.
The Roughriders went 1-6 and tied for sixth in PIL play and 1-8 overall, while the Trojans also finished 1-6 in league and 1-8 overall.
"We've put in a lot of work as a staff and with our players. We had a great offseason," said Lakeridge coach Elvis Akpla. "I think this will be a defining year for our program."
In Three Rivers League play, the Lakers' schedule looks like this: Sept. 1 — Lake Oswego at Lincoln, 7 p.m.; Sept. 8 — Beaverton at Lake Oswego, 7 p.m.; Sept. 15 — Lake Oswego at Tigard, 7 p.m.; Sept. 22 — Lake Oswego at Canby, 7 p.m.; Sept. 29 — Tualatin at Lake Oswego, 7 p.m.; Oct. 6 — Lake Oswego at Sherwood, 7 p.m.; Oct. 13 — West Linn at Lake Oswego, 7 p.m.; Oct. 20 — Newberg at Lake Oswego, 7 p.m.; Oct. 27 — Lake Oswego at Lakeridge, 7 p.m.
Notable on the Lakers' schedule are its last three regular-season dates, with defending state champion West Linn coming to LO on Oct. 13, the Lakers hosting Newberg for homecoming on Oct. 20, and traveling to face crosstown rival Lakeridge in its TRL finale on Oct. 27.
"I love our kids and I think we have talent (but) my biggest concern is the numbers," Coury said. "We will have low numbers so depth is a huge concern. With low numbers there are a lot of challenges — depth, special teams, practice ability — that make it very challenging to compete at this level."
In Three Rivers League play, the Pacers' schedule looks like this: Aug. 25 — Lakeridge at Oregon City Jamboree, 6:30 p.m.; Sept. 1 — Roosevelt at Lakeridge, 7 p.m.; Sept. 8 — Lakeridge at Wilson, 7 p.m.; Sept. 15 — Tualatin at Lakeridge, 7 p.m.; Sept. 22 — Sherwood at Lakeridge, 7 p.m.; Sept. 29 — Lakeridge at Tigard, 7 p.m.; Oct. 6 — Canby at Lakeridge, 7 p.m.; Oct. 13 — Lakeridge at Newberg, 7 p.m.; Oct. 20 — Lakeridge at West Linn, 7 p.m.; Oct. 27 — Lake Oswego at Lakeridge, 7 p.m.
Notable on the Pacers' schedule are its game against Newberg — its closest league contest a year ago — its homecoming contest against Sherwood on Sept. 22, and its TRL finale when it hosts crosstown rival Lake Oswego on Oct. 27.
"Our conference is ridiculously tough," Akpla added. But if we get our "offensive line to take steps to control the line of scrimmage and ... have our defense be really dialed in with our new coordinator and become good form tacklers, I think we'll be a good football team."