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OC, West Linn go to battle

West Linn High School will be the place to be this Saturday, Aug. 17, when alumni from Oregon City and West Linn high schools do battle in the third annual Battle For The Bridge Alumni Football Game.

Gametime is 7 p.m. for the clash of rivals, which benefits the Oregon Chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

The alumni series is tied at 1-1. Oregon City won the first Battle For The Bridge alumni game 23-14 in 2011; West Linn evened the score, winning 36-35 in overtime last year.

by: PHOTO BY: JOHN DENNY - FRIENDLY RIVALS: David Cote, team captain for West Linn High School's alumni football team, gives Oregon City 4-year-old Josephine Clark some instruction in how to hold a football as the two kindred spirits met for the first time recently in Oregon City. Josephine, who is the honorary captain for Oregon Citys alumni football team, and Cote both have cystic fibrosis.Oregon City team captain Steve Scott says of this year’s Battle For The Bridge alumni game: “There’s a misconception that when you say ‘alumni’ it’s just a bunch of old guys. That’s not the case this year. It’s going to be a high-scoring game. The starting teams for both sides are young and athletic. I think they could beat their high school teams.”

“We participate in fundraisers [benefitting cystic fibrosis research] whenever we can,” said Sara (Rilling) Clark. “But most of the time it’s just family and friends that we talk into participating. This is great! It not only raises money for research, but it also brings out awareness of the disease. And at the same time it brings two communities together to watch a great game between rivals.”

Clark, a 1998 graduate of Oregon City High School, has a 4-year-old daughter, Josephine, who has cystic fibrosis. Josephine is the honorary team captain for Oregon City’s alumni team.

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.

“We spend $10,000 a month on prescriptions,” said Clark. “Fortunately we have good insurance.”

Clark said Josephine takes 35 to 40 pills a day and spends two hours every day getting treatment to aid her breathing.

“With so much promising research on the horizon, it’s more important than ever that we raise every dollar we can to fight CF and improve the lives of people with this disease,” said Jan Klepinger, executive director for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s Oregon/SW Washington Chapter. “Fifty years ago, most children with CF did not live long enough to attend elementary school. Today, due to the dramatic advances in CF research and care, the median predicted age of survival is 37....”

David Cote, a 2001 graduate of West Linn High School, was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis as an infant. He played in last year’s Battle For The Bridge. This year he is a West Linn team captain and he plans to play in the game as a middle linebacker for the Lions.

“This game brings two rivals together for an important cause,” Cote said. “It will help pay for research that will make it so that kids in Josephine’s generation are going to live long and happy lives....

“When I was diagnosed, the life expectancy for someone with cystic fibrosis was 19 years. Now it’s 37 years.”

This year’s West Linn alumni team is being coached by Joe Cerny and Neil Zellick. Zellick will be the starting quarterback for the Lions. Todd MacClanthan, 47, is the oldest player on the team.

Russell Schneider, a 2001 graduate of Oregon City who has excelled playing semi-pro football, returns to quarterback Oregon City’s alumni team. Russell’s dad, Rick Schneider, a 1978 graduate, returns as the oldest player on the team.

Russell Schneider has been coaching the Pioneers, along with Greg and Mike Lord.

Some other players on Oregon City’s roster are: Mitch Wagner, Ryan Versoza, Stetson Skipton, Mitch Wagner and Devin Hohensee, class of 2008; Joe Wolf, 2006; A.J. MacLaren, Ryan Wells and Ryan Brown, 2002; Savi Rivera, 2001; Justin Fisher and Zack Carter, 2000; Mike Powers, Omar Rivera, Lucas Spooner and Jon Hummel, 1999; Jeremy “Bubbles” Boyd, 1996; Steve Scott, Benjy Rickard and Kelii Lycett, 1994; Thad Rogers, Michael Canchola and Michael Cruz, 1991; Jason Leiby, 1989; James Rogers, 1985; and recent graduates (year unknown) — Bryan Piasky, Tyler Bailey, Andrew Kluever, Michael Short, Shawn Siefke, Quinton Baxter, Bryan Faulkner, Pedro Rivera, Jason Leach, Jason Boyd, Matt Conrad, Niko Minor, Erik Olson and Tyler Bailey.

Tickets for this year’s Battle For The Bridge may be purchased in advance, online, for $8; or at the gate for $10. Battle For The Bridge T-shirts are on sale for $15. To purchase tickets in advance, or the T-shirts, go to battleforthebridge.com.



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