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Lions edged in another successful Battle for Bridge

Late field goal dooms West Linn; $20,000 raised for Cystic Fibrosis Foundation


by: JOSH KULLA - Honorary captains Sophia Giammanco (left) and Josephine Clark shake hands prior to the Battle for the Bridge game.With three games under its belt, the Battle for the Bridge alumni fundraiser has proven to be an enormous success in both its ability to raise money for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and to produce entertaining contests.

For the second year in a row, the game is estimated to have brought in more than $20,000 and the outcome was decided by a single point with some more late-game heroics.

Organizers had been somewhat pessimistic in the days leading up to the event as construction on two of West Linn High School's main parking lots would seemingly hinder attendance.

However, a longer walk or a shuttle ride didn't seem to deter many people as there was still a spirited crowd on hand to witness Oregon City's 16-15 victory, giving the Pioneers a 2-1 edge in the series.

“It was a whole lot better than we expected. The shuttles really helped, and I was shocked to see such a good-sized crowd. I couldn't be happier considering the circumstances,” said organizer and participant Dave Cote.

West Linn got off to a slow start in the game, falling behind early against the large and athletic Pioneers alumni team.

Oregon City appeared ready to take a commanding lead in the first half until a key interception by Ben Trussell stopped a drive and swung momentum.

West Linn controlled much of the second and third quarters in what turned into a defensive struggle. Following last year's overtime shootout, which was won in dramatic fashion on a two-point conversion by the Lions, defense had been a focal point for both teams in practice.

“It was almost exactly what we expected after so many points in last year's game,” Cote said.

As it turned out, the kicking game would prove to be the difference. West Linn had an earlier extra point blocked and Oregon City converted a late field goal to seal its victory.

Heading into this year's event, many organizers and participants figured that the rubber match would likely be the finale for the game.

But Cote received plenty of positive feedback before and after the event.

“I had a lot of guys come up to me and say that we have to keep this going. They realize it's really not about football at all. It's about saving lives,” Cote said.

There was also talk about the potential of putting together a similar alumni baseball game to benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

In the end, this year's game was deemed an enormous success, pulling in close to as much money if not more than last year's. In total, the series has brought in roughly $60,000.



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