Guest Blog – Football Luminaries

Update from Saarbrucken: Go ‘Canes!

Posted on May 20th, by Jake in Blog. No Comments

May 17, 2014


We’ve put the first two month’s in the books and the team is coming along better than expected. Kendral Ellison, one of our two LBer imports has made a huge difference.  I’ve seen this happen over and over here in Europe, we play at a decent speed and then an American NCAA player shows up and everything changes.  Our local guys see what kind of speed Kendral plays at and everyone turns it up a notch.  We’ve done that and it’s a good thing.

While Brandon Sweeney, our co-D-co is nursing a slight hamstring pull and won’t practice for awhile, the other two, both offensive players opened a lot of eyes.

Gievonni, call me Geo, is a RB from Northern Arizona University where he was a teammate of a former player of mine.  Conrad Meadows played for me … Read More »

The first 3 weeks in Saarbrucken

Posted on March 23rd, by Jake in Blog. No Comments

March 23, 2014


I’ve been here for three weeks already and it went by in a flash.  Yesterday we had the first rain since I arrived but its clear and sunny again this morning.  Our 19 under team opened their season yesterday with a nice win.  They are the defending national champions, have around fifty players, and are very well coached by a veteran group.  They are of course the foundation for our program and I’m very impressed with their organization, their enthusiasm and their focus.

As for us I would give it a grade of “B”.  We’ve got a solid group of twenty five players but to be a top team we need at least another ten and fifteen would be even better.  Like all teams with small numbers it doesn’t take long before illness, injury or indifference make’s practicing difficult.  … Read More »

Greetings from Saarbrucken

Posted on March 13th, by Jake in Blog. No Comments

March 8, 2014


Today Michael will drive me to Frankfurt International to meet Mark our American offensive line coach.  Mark will stay for a week and coach our kids and our young and inexperienced German line coach.

Michael gave us a little history on the drive back to Saarbrucken.  The town is in the state of Saarland, the smallest state in Germany if you don’t count city states like Berlin and Hamburg.  It is the state capitol.  Our team is the Saarland Hurricanes named after the state, not the town.  We are located five minutes from the French border.  And the largest USA military base in Europe, Ramstein, is thirty minutes north on the autobahn.

Saarbrucken is situated at the heart of the Saar-Lor-Lux region.  The city has about 180,000 inhabitants and is strongly influenced by its proximity to France.  In fact it … Read More »

Odyssey to Germany

Posted on March 10th, by Jake in Blog. No Comments

Feb. 28, 2014


My flight left Portland on time at 6:00 am.  It was KLM with Delta and I was riding in a window seat.  The sun hadn’t appeared yet and the fog was hovering as the plane ascended.  I could see the lights of Portland between layers of fog and in the distance the sun was hovering just below the horizon, hiding but soon to make an appearance.  The soft pillow like cover of clouds below made it impossible to see after we left the city airspace.  Once into the flight snow-covered peeks now and then appeared in breaks in the cloud cover.

I’m on my way to Atlanta and on to Frankfurt where members of the Saarland Hurricane management will meet me.  I’ll begin another coaching odyssey in Europe, this time in southern Germany.  I’ve done stints in Austria, Finland … Read More »

Retirement is not for everybody….

Posted on March 3rd, by Jake in Blog. No Comments

February 5, 2014


Like I said, retire and people want you.  Yesterday I agreed to help coach June Jones at SMU when I return from Germany.  The D-1 schools have begun hiring people to work off field helping in areas that used to be done by on staff coaches.   My task will be a multiple one.  First I’ll be an ‘Idea’ guy, consultant if you will.  June says he wants my eyes and my brain.  And he wants me to look at all their video from last season and ‘critique’ the offense.  I did that very thing a few years ago for Mike Riley at OSU and enjoyed it a lot.  June also wants me to help the Mustangs understand and implement the ‘No Huddle’ which he hasn’t done but I’ve been doing it for thirty years.  The final part of … Read More »

God Bless the Broken Road…..

Posted on March 3rd, by Jake in Blog. No Comments

December 13, 2013

I’ve officially retired. My last season wasn’t really a season at all and as it turns out, but that’s ok. I’ve left Lakeridge high school and high school football in my rear view mirror. It was a mostly good ride. Most of my friends would say way better than that. A few hundred wins and three state titles will look good on my tombstone I guess.
It’s my birthday. I was born on Friday the 13th in 1940. Omaha, Nebraska to be exact. Right now I’m sitting in my brothers back yard in Lafayette, California listening to Rascal Flats “God Bless the Broken Road, that led me straight to you.” Somehow it seems fitting. My road was broken now and then but for the greater part of a 48 year career … Read More »

Moving On….

Posted on December 29th, by Jake in Blog. No Comments

Dec. 25, 2013

I like this quote, which I discovered a few months ago. It’s from a high school football coach somewhere in mid America.

“Good character is more to be praised than outstanding talent. Most talents are, to some extent, a gift. Good character, by contrast is not given to us. We have to build it, piece by piece — by thought, by choice, courage, and determination.”

I woke up this Christmas morning with a smile on my face, Let me tell you why. 2013 brought an end to my coaching career here in America but it was the right time. I spent 48 years coaching, mostly in the state of Oregon, and the number of friends I’ve managed to make is amazing to me. Yesterday I sent out 1,213 invitations through facebook to friends inviting them … Read More »

Chapter 24: Thanks and Farewell for now…

Posted on July 5th, by Jake in Blog. No Comments


Sunday June 23, 2013 Zagreb, Croatia

My trip to vienna started out exactly as our season ended…a disaster. It was about a ten minute walk to the trolley stop and because my “Catch the Tolley” karma is what it is, my number 13 trolley trundled by as I was about 100 yards or a 30 second sprint from the stop. I declined to embaras myself with an attempted run. So naturally, it was another twenty minutes before the next one arrived. I passed the time reliving my final moments at a certain very small college. I’m not sure anyone was awake yet in the neighborhood but I didn’t care as I cussed my trolley luck and the pseudo intellectual jackasses at said college. Fortunately I had given myself enough time, knowing what my chances of a one or two … Read More »

Band of Brothers

Posted on June 11th, by Jake in Blog. 1 Comment


Monday June 10, 2013 Zagreb, Croatia

Last Thursday at practice one of the players said to me “Coach, we’re just a Band of Brothers.” Well, yesterday the B of B, twenty one strong traveled to Moribor, Slovenia for our league game Vs the Generals. They are by far the best team in our league and in fact will more than likely win both our league title as well as the second league they play in, which is a combination of Slovenia, Serbia and Austria teams.

Without the border crossing the trip would take about an hour as it’s only seventy five miles. However, we need to cross the Croatia border, no mans land, … Read More »

Blue Monday…..

Posted on June 2nd, by Jake in Blog. No Comments


Monday May 27, 2013 Zagreb, Croatia

Some might call it Blue Monday after witnessing another dismal performance on the football field by our team, but when you put the entire situation into perspective it’s anything but. Yes we lost and this time it was especially hard to watch as we came from a 0-12 hole to lead 15-12 only to quickly lose that hard earned lead with poor kickoff containment and a four play drive by our opponents that put us behind again 19-15. And the topper was a first and goal on the one yard line with three minutes left in the game that turned into a fourth and twenty dropped end zone pass. Ouch.

This football team obviously isn’t very good and the reasons begin with not enough good players and includes poor practice attendance, that leads to … Read More »

A merry band of warriors…

Posted on May 24th, by Jake in Blog. No Comments


Wednesday May 22, 2013 Zagreb, Croatia

Nancy is back home in oregon for the next month so I spend my time in leisure activities like walking, lounging over a cappaccino and people watching, reading or shopping. Sometimes it makes for a long day but it’s always interesting. The café’s are usually filled and the streets busy. It does amaze me as to how many people don’t work. The guys tell me the economy here in Croatia isn’t much different than the rest of Europe or the world for that matter. Jobs a hard to come by for the young and it can be frustrating for the ones who really want to work. One of our running backs came to our last practice and as we were talking his cell phone rang. He just looked at it and smiled. “They … Read More »


Posted on May 20th, by Jake in Blog. No Comments

Sunday May 19, 2013 Zagreb, Croatia

One of the true pleasures here in europe is visiting the outdoor markets. They open early and they close around noon. The various fruits, vegies, cheeses, nuts, bread and farm fresh eggs are brought in daily and people flock to the market to buy their daily culinary needs.

It really doesn’t matter what european city you’re visiting, they all have excellent local markets.

Our first practice after the disaster on Sunday was pretty good. These kids just love to play and the win or lose thing is either momentary joy or dispair. We’ve made a few changes of course, that’s what you do when you look as bad as we did on the weekend. Our strength, if you can call it that, is our defense so it’s up to the offense to try and make first downs, … Read More »

Win or Lose….Football is a battle of physical prowess

Posted on May 19th, by Jake in Blog. No Comments


Monday May 13, 2013 Zagreb, Croatia

The good news is the Black Panthers won. The bad news is the Zagreb Thunder didn’t. That my friends puts me on a personal six game losing streak here in Europe. I don’t like the feeling.
Our game actually was the second in a double header. The first game was between the other Zagreb team, the Raiders, and the Moribor Generals from Slovenia. It gave me a chance to do some scouting. The Raiders are our next opponent, in the second of two meetings during the league season. The 21-0 score in favor of the Raiders gave us our first league loss after a close win, making the season record heading into today’s game 1-1.
As a first game spectator I had a chance to take a number of telling photographs. The following pictures should give … Read More »

A Stroll in the park….

Posted on May 15th, by Jake in Blog. 1 Comment


Sunday May 12, 2013 Zagreb, Croatia

I first wrote this essay in April of 2004. Nancy and I celebrated our twenty sixth annivarsary with our great friends Toby and Silvia and much of the day was spent at the Prater.
The Prater is an amusement park situated on land filled with trees, paths, flowers, playgrounds and open fields for the people of Vienna to relax and enjoy nature’s sunny days. The park was the former imperial hunting ground and opened to the public in 1766. Its identifying landmark is its giant Ferris Wheel. Riesenrad in Deutsch, it was built in 1897 and played a feature roll in the 1939 movie classic “The Third Man”. It is Europe’s largest and there is also has a Lilliputian Railroad that chugs along throughout the grounds on summer days.

The huge park, situated between the Danube … Read More »

80 Degrees in Zagreb…

Posted on May 6th, by Jake in Blog. No Comments


Sunday May 5, 2013 Zagreb, Croatia

It has been 80+ degrees every day since we arrived the Croatia’s capitol city Zagreb. Wednesday was May Day (May 1st) which, in Europe, is a very big holiday. We were invited to a team Bar-B-Q at a man-made lake area just north of the city limits. We decided that there must have been no one left on the streets of the city because there were thousands enjoying the holiday sun.

And that number included the President of Croatia who wandered past our little Bar-B-Q area surrounded by two security guards and a few colleagues. I mentioned to a few of the guys how amazing it was and that our president wouldn’t be out and about without about a thousand security people. The answer was, “We really like our president.” Wow.
Two years ago, while Nancy … Read More »

A picture is worth a thousand words….

Posted on April 29th, by Jake in Blog. No Comments


Monday April 29, 2013 Zagreb, Croatia

The Black Panthers played the Innsbruck Raiders yesterday and it was broadcast live on the Raider web site. They lost 21-46 so are now 0-5. The good news is the team is still afloat, the bad news is the next game is a return engagement with the Raiders, this time in Innsbruck.
In the meantime we spent Friday afternoon walking along the wide streets of Vienna and also purchased our train tickets to Zagreb. In the evening we helped Toby’s wife Sylvia celebrate here birthday. It was to be a three day party.
Because a picture is better than a thousand words I thought I’d just give you a collage of photos from the weekend.

Central Europe had no spring this year. Three weeks ago it was still snowing and today it was 83. A bit windy … Read More »

The end of a chapter. The start of another…..

Posted on April 28th, by Jake in Blog. No Comments


Thursday April 25th, 2013 Prague, Czech Republic

Have you ever had a bad haircut? They last about a week. I mention that because I just had one. Nancy had thought from the beginning that I acted with too much haste when I decided to forgo my opportunity to return to Zagreb and opted to accept the coaching challenge here in Prague. She was right. Don’t get me wrong, as you are certainly aware hindsight is always 20/20, I don’t regret the experience at all, it was just wrong pretty much from the beginning.
The people associated with the team are good men, all of them. They gave me the leeway that made it possible for me to coach the way I have coached for forty seven years. It just didn’t work here and I’m not going to go the ‘blame’ route. … Read More »

On to Zagreb….

Posted on April 22nd, by Jake in Blog. 2 comments


Monday April 22, 2013 Prague, Czech Republic

The European coaching experience is always interesting, that’s a proven fact. I told you all that our team lost its main sponsor just before the season began and of course it was only a matter of time before financial issues would become a problem. Last week management asked the American players and assistant coaches to take a 50% pay cut and to share living accommodations. Both of those options were totally unacceptable. It was my suggestion to save money by letting me go and using my salary and apartment savings to give to the imports. Today they made the decision to agree and I am no longer the head coach here for the Black Panthers. It was the smart move. I’ll leave this organization in good spirits after making more good friends here … Read More »

Prague in Spring….

Posted on April 22nd, by Jake in Blog. 1 Comment


Thursday April 18, 2013 Prague, Czech Republic

The good news is my lovely wife Nancy arrived last Thursday. The bad news is we lost again, this time to the Graz Giants. They are very familiar to me and our team in Vienna had many a hard fought battle with them during my time with the Vikings. They had been the perennial champions in Austria for a long time and didn’t surrender that unofficial title easily. With the emergency of the Raiders in Innsbruck and the steady improvement of the Danube Dragons the Austria American football league has four excellent programs. The Graz Giants showed today they are still in the mix.
Once again we got off to a poor beginning and found ourselves quickly down 0-14. It became 0-21 in the second quarter when we made a big mistake. They were … Read More »

Building a foundation for success.

Posted on April 10th, by Jake in Blog. No Comments


Wednesday April 10, 2013 Prague, Czech Republic

We took the very familiar drive down the autobahn to Vienna early Saturday morning. We stopped at the same place for our ‘pre-game’ meal, under the watchful eyes of the castle in Mikulov. Our opponent the Danube Dragons were formerly the Klosterneuburg Mercenaries. The small town, population just under 25,000, is located on the Danube, immediately north of Vienna, from which it is separated by the Kahlenberg and Leopoldsberg hills. It has been separated from its twin city of Korneuburg on the other side of … Read More »

Budapest, Unknown Soldier and “Rain Outs”….only in Europe.

Posted on April 3rd, by Jake in Blog. 1 Comment


Wednesday April 3, 2013 Prague, Czech Republic



         Wednesday April 3,  2013  Prague, Czech Republic


Have you ever noticed by mid season on grass soccer fields the area in front of the goal is totally void of grass?  In case you haven’t, either by accident or on purpose, noticed that little fact trust me it is.  But, the soccer people have a large blind spot and never see it, talk about it or acknowledge it might actually be true.  However here in Europe if there is a threat of rain, or if it rained in the last month or might rain in the next month, they get very defensive about the grass on ‘Their’ field.  They truly believe that playing that other football on wet grass will destroy the entire field.  Over the years I’ve had a number of games … Read More »

Back to reality…remembering better times…

Posted on April 3rd, by Jake in Blog. No Comments


Thursday March 28, 2013 Prague, Czech Republic

Sometimes dreams come true and sometimes they don’t. Our dream of a win in Vienna over the Vikings pretty much went up in first half turnovers and secondary coverage mistakes. We found ourselves down 0-24 at the half which didn’t make the snow showers and -2 degree temp feel any warmer.
The locker rooms in European stadiums are geared more for the other football (soccer) than the American version so our cramped but separate offense and defense closet space area’s didn’t allow for a good ‘team’ chat. What … Read More »

I Dreamed a Dream….

Posted on March 23rd, by Jake in Blog. 1 Comment

Wednesday March 20, 2013 Prague, Czech Republic

Our last practice before our opening game wasn’t very good. It was suppose to be mostly a light, just more speed than a walk through, of special teams and some goal line but it got off to a bad start. After a just ok kick off and return period we moved to punt. Our punter and our deep snapper were not there so we had to find replacements. As is often the case here in Europe, that meant moving players all over the place. Our left side slot would become the punter and our right side slot would move to the left and we moved a defensive player into his old spot. And of course our back up deep snapper fired the first three snaps … Read More »

Press Conferences and the 80% rule

Posted on March 16th, by Jake in Blog. No Comments


Saturday March 16, 2013 Prague, Czech Republic

On Wednesday we needed to show up for the league press conference. The drive to Vienna took us a little over three hours. Taylor (D-Cord), Andrew (QB) and I were the Black Panther representatives. I knew it would be a chance for me to reacquaint with old friends from years gone by and it was certainly that. All the head coaches had a chance to speak and I managed to tell as many lies as I’m sure everyone else did.
Of course all the media were very interested in hearing what the former Viking coach had to say about opening Vs his old team. I think they all wanted me to fire a few shots and Karl, the president of the Vikings, but I took the high road on that, which made the round … Read More »

Fryer Tuck didn’t have it this good…..

Posted on March 12th, by Jake in Blog. No Comments

Monday March 11, 2013 Prague, Czech Republic

Our team camp was held about a forty five minute drive into the countryside east of Prague. The field was a very large soccer complex but without football yard lines. A soccer field is considerably wider than is a football field so our spacing became an issue. Other than that it was nicely artificial turfed and what looked and felt to me recently new. All the players commented about how much better it was than our regular practice field.
We were housed in an old monastery in the city of Cerveny Kostelec located in the Hradec Kralove Region just east of Prague. The town’s church is now painted red, representing the fire, which engulfed it in the 17th century, and gave the town its name; červený, meaning red. I’m not sure exactly how old it … Read More »

“Bear and the Duke”

Posted on March 11th, by Jake in Blog. No Comments

Wednesday March 6,  2013  Prague, Czech Republic


      Only in Europe football could a story such as ours emerge.  One year ago there were two teams in Prague, Czech Republic,  the Prague Panthers and the Prague Black Hawks.  After last season the two teams decided to merge and become the Prague Black Panthers and would play in the prestigious Austrian American Football League.  After I arrived to coach the BP’ers our general manager informed me that we had a new sponsor was on board.  It would soon be announced that the owner of a company called the Red Crox would buy the team and we would become the Prague Red Crox.  Ok, we were still two merged teams full of players wanting to play in Europe’s most demanding league.  Last week after practice our GM informed the team of the change … Read More »

Leadership…”For Each Other”…

Posted on March 4th, by Jake in Blog. 1 Comment

Saturday March 2, 2013 Prague, Czech Republic

As our team continues to grow, both figuratively and actually (in numbers), we look better and better. I’ve told you our American QB is pretty good. It’s been my experience coaching in Europe that the ‘mid major’ division II and division III players preform better than the hyped up division I guys. There is, of course, a lot of reasons for that. I’ve never brought a D-I guy but in speaking with those that have their comments are typically identical. First and foremost, they say, most of the D-I guys are here only for the money and could care less about getting to know teammates or learning about the history or the culture of the country. They’ve been pretty pampered for most of their athletic life from the time it became obvious they were … Read More »

As “Big Jake” McCandles (as played by John Wayne) might say….

Posted on February 20th, by Jake in Blog. 1 Comment

Wednesday February 20, 2013 Prague, Czech Republic

It’s been a long week here in Prague. Our quarterback arrived on Wednesday and with him in control at Thursday’s practice our team suddenly looked much more competitive. That’s a relief because my worst nightmare is we’ll be so bad we won’t be able to compete in the Austrian league. It would be a stretch to think we have a chance to make the four team playoff but being basically an optimistic guy in my dreams I see us undefeated. As Duke Wayne would say,“Not Hardly”.
I’m beginning to learn more of the city. I took a day to do the ‘Prague Castle’, which majestically sits on the hill overlooking the river and the entire Old and New city. It is the biggest tourist attraction in Prague and according to … Read More »

Defense or “Defenestration”….being good at either hurts…the competition.

Posted on February 16th, by Jake in Blog. 1 Comment

Friday February 15, 2013 Prague, Czech Republic

Yesterday was Valentine’s Day and not only did I call home to wish Nancy a good day but I had left a card for her. Not a bad start to the easiest day of the year for me to forget, which I’ve done too often, much to the chagrin of my twenty five year marriage partner.
It turned cold and damp on Sunday, the last gasp of winter I hope. And, on Monday we practiced on a snow covered field which did nothing to dampen the enthusiasm of our players. The first two weeks of practice have been somewhat of a ‘get to know you time’ and maybe that’s why we still didn’t look like much of a football team. That concerns me a bit, but our quarterback would help that picture and was due … Read More »

Super Bowl in Prague

Posted on February 6th, by Jake in Blog. 3 comments

Tuesday February 5, 2013 Prague, Czech Republic

I’ve been here now for four days and it seems like four hours. The day before yesterday was Super Bowl Sunday and I knew the bars would be full of NFL worshipers. They needed to be because the kickoff was at 12:30 am or just thirty minutes after the chimes from Tyn Church overlooking ‘Old Town Square’ sounded midnight.
I met coach Lesko at the bottom of Wenceslas Square in the heart of New Town. It’s not really a square but a long elegant boulevard and the site of many plush hotels and fancy restaurants. We walked to my host’s favorite watering hole and began getting ready to watch the game by consuming the first of many beers, along with about fifty players two hours before kick off. Nancy and I had our first meal … Read More »

Live from Europe….

Posted on February 1st, by Jake in Blog. No Comments

Troops; I’m feeling totally comfortable with our Lakeridge football players off season endeavors. Because of that in early December I agreed to once again venture overseas to spend five months coaching American football. Because high school football has become, like pretty much all sports, a twelve month commitment, before agreeing to leave, I needed to be confidant our kids would be well supervised during my absence. Fortunately many of our football players are involved in winter and spring sports or working in the weight room with our very competent strength coach Hashim Hall. The recent addition of Chad Carlson as offensive coordinator and summer program supervisor has further eased my mind.
I thought it might be a good idea, for those of you who might be interested, to make available a journal of my visit to coach football in … Read More »

World Football: It is a global game….

Posted on October 16th, by Jake in Blog. No Comments

October 16, 2012

The game of football is now played all over the world. Last weekend I had an opportunity to watch one of my former junior players from Vienna play for the University of British Columbia. Canadian football is a bit different. They play with twelve players most of who can run around in any direction before the snap of the ball which makes the offensive play looks like ants scurrying around looking for sugar crumbs. They only have three downs to make the ten yards required for a first down so they punt a lot. The field has two 50 yard lines and a ‘center’ line five yards from each 50 yard mark. That makes the field one hundred and ten yards long and to boot the end zones are twenty yards deep. … Read More »

Teddy Roosevelt and the Critic

Posted on September 30th, by Jake in Blog. No Comments

October 1, 2012

Back in the twentieth century when I played this game of football it was common to hear, “Football will make a man out of you.” What people were referring to back then was the game was very physical and you could count on bumps and bruises, cuts and scrapes and even a black eye now and then. It was common to get your ‘bell rung’ during a collision with an opponent who was also eager to learn some hard lessons while playing this game.
My father, who never played a down, would always console me after a loss with sound advice such as, “Son, everyone who plays football gets knocked down. It’s how fast you get up that counts.” He was right of course and he wasn’t talking just about crawling back up … Read More »

Dealing with adversity

Posted on September 25th, by Jake in Blog. No Comments

Sept. 24, 2012

Lessons are many times best learned through adversity. It’s how one handles it that is the measure of a man. Football gives all of us involved in the game an opportunity to test our resolve, our dedication, our commitment and our loyalty to each other and to those who support us. We need to remember to thank God for the opportunity to be tested because for young people it is just the beginning of a life long series of challenges.
For three straight weeks I’ve witnessed our freshmen and junior varsity coaches send their twenty-two, give or take, players out to compete against a team with sixty or more uniformed combatant’s standing on the opposing sideline. I’ve watched them put up great fight and never quit but I’ve also watched them wither from exhaustion as … Read More »

Into the valley…..

Posted on September 17th, by Jake in Blog. No Comments

Sept. 17, 2012

Football history was made on Friday night at Aloha high school. But that wasn’t the real story. Rudyard Kipling was an English short story writer, poet and novelist chiefly remembered for his tales and poems of British soldiers in India. In one of his poems he wrote about the courage of a group of out manned soldiers. “Into the valley of death rode the five hundred,” or close to that.
My expectations were pretty normal I think, as we drove along I-5 and highway 217 on the way to Aloha high school in Beaverton, Oregon. Kipling’s poem did cross my mind but I’m sure none of the players were thinking about anything but the music from their head phones. I hoped that we would compete and make the game close, even though they were a decided favorite. We had … Read More »

Challenges of the Season

Posted on September 17th, by Jake in Blog. 1 Comment

Sept. 13, 2012

A football season is a time of constant challenges, just like life. One challenge is met and immediately replaced by another. It goes on and on with little time to relax. Just as life get tougher as you get older because obligations increase, so does the football season. Older by just a few months yes, but older nonetheless.
We began the 2012 season with a hard earned victory over Eastlake out of Sammamish, Washington at home and our next challenge was West Albany on the road. Coach Nyquist has built a small powerhouse in the valley, as their recent back-to-back state titles would attest. This year’s version would prove to be more of a challenge than we could handle. Their running back is big, physical and fast. He carried the football 50 times for 326 yards. Time and time … Read More »

Game week vs. Eastlake High School

Posted on August 28th, by Jake in Blog. No Comments

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 … Read More »

Reed Garrison : RIP my dear and loyal friend

Posted on August 20th, by Jake in Blog. No Comments

August 20, 2012

I had gone to visit Reed Garrison a week ago while he was recuperating from a blood infection in the hospital. We had as good a visit as is possible with someone in pain and ninety-three years old. It was to be our last visit.
Nancy and I had planned to visit again on Sunday but, in the early morning, when I opened my email account the first note was from Rich Rogers informing the Lakeridge family that Reed has passed away early Sunday morning. It was an instant reminder that one should never wait too long to see a friend in health danger.
For a long moment I cursed myself and felt an empty feeling common to losing a good friend, a companion or a family member. Reed was all of those and more … Read More »

2012 Football Preview: Lakeridge Pacers |

Posted on August 16th, by Jake in Book Excerpts. No Comments

2012 Football Preview: Lakeridge Pacers |

Two weeks into Camp…..

Posted on August 16th, by Jake in Book Excerpts. No Comments

August 16, 2012

Two weeks of ‘camp’ week are about over, thank God. I’m not a coach who lives for baby sitting third and fourth graders and I’m not convinced that it’s in the best interest of eight, nine and ten year olds or seventh and eighth graders to be playing organized sports of any kind. Ok, I grew up when we played in the parks, the fields and the courts mostly without adult leadership until we entered high school. Let me tell you something here. There have been no more high school athletes win athletic scholarships to college now than there was back in the fifties. The truth is the percentage of athletes receiving significant college athletic scholarships still falls in the 1% range. I’m not talking about a $500 or even a $5,000 … Read More »

Best Player Plays!

Posted on August 6th, by Jake in Book Excerpts. 1 Comment

August 1, 2012

In 1996 while coaching at Mc Nary High School I had a dilemma. My best three skill athletes were my first, second and third string QB’s. My solution seemed pretty obvious to me but that’s what makes me different than most coaches, at any level. I played all three at the same time. Two would line up at wide receiver and the other at QB. It was rarely the same combination for more than one series. It worked as we finished our year, my second at Mc Nary, with a close loss in the state semi-final game. I’ll always believe if Luke Atwood, who coached here with me the past three seasons, hadn’t gotten hurt in the quarterfinal win and was barely able to run, we would have made the final.
I have … Read More »

Football in July…..The season ahead

Posted on July 24th, by Jake in Book Excerpts. No Comments



July 23, 2012

In the late summer of 1965 I was eagerly awaiting my first season as an assistant high school football coach. It was early august and I had reported to Willamina High School to meet with head coach Gleason Eakin and the football staff two weeks prior to the official opening of fall practice.
We spent the next fourteen days in detailed meetings that covered everything involved in organizing and preparing a high school football team. Coach Eakin was very thorough and our daylong meetings covered every possible football topic. I was very impressed and I felt our eventual seven win two loss record was a testimonial to our preparation.
The following year coach Eakin had moved on and our new coach, Choctaw Smith showed up the day of the first practice. After introducing himself he told me to run some … Read More »


Posted on July 19th, by Jake in Book Excerpts. No Comments

Relax they have Rules:

An Excerpt from

“OH MY… Football: A book for Mothers”


           The simple reason most moms don’t want their son to play football is they don’t want him to get hurt.  Relax, he probably will and it probably won’t be serious.  First of all let me explain an important difference to you about injuries.  There is a big difference between being ‘hurt’ and being ‘injured’.  If a player is hurt he has a sprain, a pull, a tweak of a muscle and he is expected to play and if he’s a real football player he plays.  If he is injured he has a broken bone, ligament damage or a concussion and in my program he will not play! 

           Want me to quote statistics?  I can but the fact is if the chance of … Read More »

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