Game week vs. Eastlake High School
August 27, 2012
Game week is always special and the first game of the season is when the butterflies are immense. The stomach turns, you can’t sleep and the dream is always something like, “Oh my God, I forgot to cover the punt team!” Or something like that. This is my fifty fourth first game week and it seems like yesterday that as a first year head coach, at Lake Oswego High School in 1970, we opened Vs the defending state championship team from Jesuit. We lost in a hard fought and competitive game.
I had become the head coach at my alma matre after Boyd Crawford, the longtime head coach of the Lakers suddenly resigned after the 1969 season. It was to be my only season at LOHS as Lakeridge High opened the next year and I chose to move to the new school. It was a decision I would never regret.
I had spent seventeen years at Lakeridge and after winning the 1987 State Title moved on to Lewis & Clark College where I spent the next six seasons. Before the 1994 season I left LC and took a year off, mostly traveling in Europe. In 1995 I took the head coaching position at Mc Nary High School in the town of Keiser just north of Salem. I was to spend the next twelve years coaching the Celtics, winning state titles in 1997 and 2001.
In 2000 we opened with Sprague our arch rival in the Valley League. We lost in a close encounter on our home field. It was only the second first game defeat of my coaching career. Counting my time coaching in Europe this week’s game Vs Eastlake, from the Seattle suburbs, my overall win loss record in those games is fifty two wins and two losses! We either picked the right team to open our season or our preparation has been pretty good.
My method isn’t much different, I’m guessing, than most football coaches. We all try to cover the basics and get our team sound in football tactics. I can’t explain the 52-2 record except to say that we never over work or over coach our kids. We have very little actual contact during our pre game practice sessions and maybe that’s the reason. We will always put our best team on the field. No one will be on crutches or street clothes due to injury as the season begins.
The other thing is we do relative little in the summer compared to everyone else. We allow our players to have a life away from football. The result is, our kids are very excited for football to begin. They are not burned out with heavy summer commitment and mandatory workouts. I’ve always said I want my kids to be excited when the season begins and still excited when it ends. And it does end for everyone.
This year’s opponent, Eastlake out of Sammamish Washington, will provide a quality test. They finished last season as the league champions and advance to the quarter finals of the Washington state playoffs. Their QB is the son of Todd Beahm who played for me at Lakeridge and was the 1982 Oregon All-State QB. It was Todd who spearheaded the effort to match our teams for a home and home opening game contest. Next season we will open at Eastlake.
As always we’ll look forward to playing someone other than ourselves. The two week prep time has gone well and although we’ve a few holes to fill I’m excited about our progress. Eastlake graduated some excellent players but they have an consistently good program and will come down I-5 ready to play I’m sure. Their head coach, Gene Dales, is an Oregon native having played at Corvallis H.S and Oregon State University. I’ve known him for a long time and he is one of the good guys in our profession.
Year fifty four for me is another opportunity to coach great young kids, enjoy time with my good friends on our staff and accept the challenge of doing a hard job well. It’s what I do best and I’m forever thankful for the opportunity. Game time is 6:00 pm on Saturday September 1st. Go Pacers.