Oregon City wins a 16-15 nailbiter and the third annual alumni football game between rivals raises $20,000 for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation

by: JAIME VALDEZ - Oregon City Battle For The Bridge honorary team captain Josephine Clark (center) walks with Oregon City alumni players to greet their opponents from West Linn prior to this years game. Pictured with Josephine are (from left) Russell Schneider (13), Mike Canchola (21), Steve Scott (23), Jerry Stone (44) and Justin Fisher (11). The game raised $20,000 for the Oregon Chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.The third annual Battle For The Bridge Alumni Football Game was a huge success, according to team captains and event organizers Steve Scott (Oregon City) and David Cote (West Linn).

“We won 16-15, a couple thousand people turned out to watch, and twenty grand was raised for the cystic fibrosis research,” said Scott.

“I want to thank everyone who spent any amount of time or contributed any amount of money helping make this happen....,” said Cote, a 2001 graduate of West Linn High School who has cystic fibrosis. “The consensus that night after the game was that we are definitely going to do it again next year.”

The game, played between alumni from Oregon City and West Linn high schools, was played Aug. 17 at West Linn High School. Proceeds from sponsorships, ticket sales and concessions went to the Oregon Chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

Cote extended a special thank you to the West Linn High School football team, which donated $1,500 in profits from concessions at this year’s game. He also had special thanks to the West Linn School District, which donated the use of the high school field for the game.

It was the third annual Battle For The Bridge alumni game between the two schools. Close to $60,000 has been raised to battle cystic fibrosis in the three years that the game has been played. Oregon City won the first game 23-14 in 2011; West Linn won 36-35 in overtime last year.

This year’s game was another barnburner. Oregon City went up 13-0 on first-quarter touchdown passes from Russell Schneider (class of 2001) to Devin Hohensee (class of 2008) and Niko Minor (class of 2008). Schneider kicked one extra point and had the other extra point blocked.

West Linn answered before halftime on runs by quarterback Neil Zellick (class of 1999) and Mason Finnerty (class of 2012), making it 13-12 Oregon City at the break.

Robert Truax split the uprights from 30 yards out for a third-quarter field goal that gained the Lions the lead, at 15-13.

Schneider converted a 30-yard field goal near the midpoint of the fourth quarter to gain Oregon City its 16-15 winning edge.

“Mitch Wagner was huge for us at running back late in the game,” said Scott. “He made a couple first-down runs after the field goal that took time off the clock and kept them from retaking the lead.”

Oregon City 4-year-old Josephine Clark and West Linn 6-year-old Sophia Giammanco were honorary team captains for this year’s Battle For The Bridge. Both have cystic fibrosis. Josephine is the daughter of Sara (Rilling) Clark, a 1998 graduate of Oregon City High School; Sophia is the daughter of Ian Giammanco, a 1994 graduate of West Linn High School.

Cystic fibrosis is an inherited disease that affects the lungs and digestive system. Those affected typically have a much shorter life expectancy than the general population. One in 31 Americans is a symptomless carrier of the defective cystic fibrosis gene. Each time two carriers conceive, there is a 25 percent chance they will have a child with cystic fibrosis.

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