Yes, folks, it's almost that time again. When the calendar finally flips over to September, the 2022 high school football season will officially flip on the lights.
With dozens of games all across the Portland metro area every week, it can be hard to know which games to keep an eye on. To make things easier for folks in the north Clackamas County area, below is a list of the top games to watch in 2022. Make sure to mark your calendars accordingly!
Barlow at Lake Oswego, Thursday, Sept. 1
The Lakers kick off the season by hosting the Bruins of Barlow, who made the postseason as a top-20 team in Class 6A out of the Mt. Hood Conference. Lake Oswego will be looking for a hot start in 2022 after a disappointing semifinal exit from last year's state playoffs.
Milwaukie at Putnam, Thursday, Sept. 1
Residents in the Milwaukie area should mark their calendars for this rivalry game between the Mustangs and the Kingsmen. Putnam has won the past four meetings between the two schools, but last year's victory came by just two points as the Kingsmen escaped Milwaukie with a 23-21 win.
Wilsonville at Thurston, Friday, Sept. 2
While the first two games on this list take place on the opening Thursday of the season, Wilsonville travels south to Springfield for some Friday night action. The Wildcats fell to the Colts in the semifinals of the 5A state playoffs last year, so Wilsonville will be hungry for revenge.
Sheldon at West Linn, Thursday, Sept. 8
This nonleague battle features a pair of top-seven programs from last year's 6A playoffs. After traveling to North Medford in Week 1, West Linn will look to make an early statement in its home opener under new head coach Jon Eagle — and a win over the Irish would certainly qualify.
Oregon City at Canby, Thursday, Sept. 8
This matchup of nearby neighbors and former Three Rivers League foes could be exciting. The Pioneers have had a rough go of it over the past few seasons, but regional rivalries often ignore recent history. The last time these two teams met, it was a close-fought 35-28 win for Canby.
Jesuit at Lakeridge, Friday, Sept. 9
The Pacers' home opener is a big one, as the Crusaders of Jesuit make the trip over to Lakeridge High. Look for star receiver Joey Olsen to have a big game alongside some impressive transfer additions, including defensive lineman Tristan Davis and running back Donald "Chili" Stephens.
West Linn at Jesuit, Thursday, Sept. 15
Another big game involving Jesuit — only this time, West Linn is doing the traveling. Both teams made the 6A semifinals last season, so expect some fireworks. For Lions QB Sam Leavitt, it's also a chance at revenge: his former team, Westview, lost a 44-42 donnybrook at Jesuit in 2021.
Tualatin at Wilsonville, Friday, Sept. 16
One of the only mixed-classification games on this list, the 5A Wildcats play host to Tualatin, which made it all the way to the 6A state championship game in 2021. Both teams were among the highest-scoring squads in their respective classification last year, so this one could be a barnburner.
Reynolds at Nelson, Friday, Sept. 16
Nelson had a tough first season of existence, going 2-7 overall and winning just one home game. That victory came in a 28-7 drubbing of Reynolds. As a result, the Hawks' confidence should be soaring for this rematch, which also serves as the Mt. Hood Conference opener for both teams.
Wilsonville at Summit, Friday, Sept. 23
In the Wildcats' final nonleague tune-up, they'll look to weather the Storm. A new addition to Class 5A, Summit was the No. 6 seed in the 6A state playoffs last year and reached the quarterfinals. That makes this potential playoff preview a bit of must-see TV for 5A fans.
Barlow at Clackamas, Friday, Sept. 23
The Cavaliers are coming off a season in which they made the playoffs as the No. 8 seed and finished second in the Mt. Hood Conference. This matchup with Barlow serves as the first home game of league play for Clackamas, which shut out the Bruins 28-0 in 2021.
Parkrose at La Salle Prep, Thursday, Sept. 29
La Salle Prep didn't win a game last year at the 5A level, but things could turn around this year. The Falcons and Broncos split their last two on-field meetings, while last season's game went down as a La Salle forfeit. The Falcons should be extra motivated for Homecoming Night.
Lake Oswego at West Linn, Friday, Sept. 30
One of the premier matchups in the Three Rivers League this season, Lake Oswego and West Linn will each have their eyes on a state championship in 2022. The Lions ran away with a 31-14 win on the Lakers' turf last season; can Lake Oswego repay the favor this year?
West Linn at Tualatin, Friday, Oct. 7
Week 6 will be a big one in the Three Rivers League, and this contest should be appointment viewing. A loss to Tualatin in the league opener last year was the only blemish on West Linn's ledger in conference play. The Lions can recover some pride with a win here.
Lakeridge at Tigard, Friday, Oct. 7
Elsewhere in the TRL, Lakeridge gears up for a big one against Tigard. Last year's matchup with the Tigers resulted in a very close 21-19 score, but an improved Pacer roster could make for a different story in 2022. If Lakeridge wants a Three Rivers crown, this is a must-win.
Estacada at Gladstone, Thursday, Oct. 13
In what might be the deciding game in 4A Special District 2, the Gladiators play host to the reigning league champion Rangers. Estacada bullied its way to a perfect record in conference games, including a 43-18 win over Gladstone. The Glads will be hungry for a better result at home.
Tualatin at Lake Oswego, Friday, Oct. 14
The highlight of the Three Rivers League schedule in Week 7 is this matchup between the Lakers and Timberwolves. Lake Oswego prevailed in a 35-26 battle out in Tualatin last season, and the rematch in 2022 could prove to be just as close. This could have major playoff seeding implications.
Clackamas at Central Catholic, Friday, Oct. 21
After placing second in the Mt. Hood Conference behind the Rams, Clackamas will try to make a stunning statement against Central Catholic this season. This game was a 38-20 win for CC last year — and that was the closest anyone in the league came to beating the eventual state champions.
West Linn at Lakeridge, Friday, Oct. 21
One of the marquee matchups of the entire Three Rivers League season, West Linn and Lakeridge will be a great game if last year is any indication. The Lions won both meetings, but by a combined total of just four points — including a 10-7 overtime win in the state quarterfinals.
Lakeridge at Lake Oswego, Friday, Oct. 28
For the north Clackamas County area, rivalry games don't get much bigger than this epic gridiron battle of Lakeridge versus Lake Oswego. All eyes will be on this contest, which could conceivably serve as a de facto Three Rivers League championship game if everything breaks right.
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