The Pacers hear from Dave Robbins about what can be expected from referees this year

Photo Credit: MATTHEW SHERMAN - Portland Football Officials Commissioner Dave Robbins addresses Lakeridge football players during a meeting at the school Tuesday.Full practices haven't started yet for the Lakeridge football team this year. This week the team has been getting together to condition and official practices kick off Monday.

The Pacers are preparing for perhaps their most important season in the school's history. Following a tumultuous 2013 campaign that saw a run to the quarterfinals marred by multiple controversies that resulted in the school being fined and placed on probation, Lakeridge understands that it will be under an enormous microscope this season as it takes the first step in trying to restore its reputation.

As part of that process, the Pacers brought in Dave Robbins, the Commissioner of the Portland Football Officials to talk with players and coaches for about an hour on Tuesday.

After being introduced by Lakeridge head coach John Parke, Robbins gave the team information about what it could likely expect this year and answered questions.

Last season, Lakeridge was the most penalized team in the state, an issue which came to a head in its final game of the season, a lopsided loss in the playoffs at Jesuit that led to ejections and officials advising the teams not to shake hands at the game's conclusion.

Robbins was quick to state that he knows this year's team is different than last year's and hopes that his officials will give the team the benefit of the doubt. But he was also clear that Lakeridge will need to “be better.”

That was a theme that was reiterated by Robbins along with Lakeridge coaches.

Questions were raised about the best way to handle situations when they are provoked as the Pacers are aware that, given the incidents last season, opposing teams will likely try and draw penalties against Lakeridge this season.

Robbins reiterated that the best reaction is to simply walk away and cited college program Pacfic Lutheran as an example.

Pacific Lutheran has had tremendous success and is also known for running an incredibly clean program where unsportsmanlike penalties are not tolerated and profanity is virtually never heard from any of its players.

“In my experience, the best teams show incredible discipline,” Robbins said.

Robbins also said that, as a result of its investigation into Lakeridge last season, he is requiring all varsity officials to track all 10 and 15-yard penalties this season to provide him with better feedback and data.

An official who worked one of Lakeridge's games last season and who does Big Sky Conference college games also talked, giving the Pacers insight into what referees do in their preparation for games, what they are looking for on the field and how to handle situations.

Toward the end of the meeting, quarterback and team captain apologized to Robbins on behalf of last year's squad and said that this year's team has an entirely new mindset.

Robbins said he would make sure that the officials got the message and added that he was “confident you guys will rise up.”

Lakeridge opens the season with a road game against Sheldon.

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