Five teams in the running for 2019 Special District 5 crown
There's no doubt about it — Special District 5 was the state's best high school football league in 2018.
In addition to Lake Oswego's Class 6A state championship win — the Lakers beat Sheldon 34-27 at Hillsboro Stadium — West Linn and Tigard both reached the state quarterfinals, while Lakeridge and Oregon City also won first-round games.
In 2019, Special District 5 — traditionally known as the Three Rivers League — might be even better.
While no one knows if there's another state champion lurking among the district's seven teams this year, the first statewide coaches poll for 2019 lists five SD5 teams among the state's top 10. That group is led by top-ranked Lake Oswego and also includes No. 5 West Linn, Tualatin and Tigard tied at No. 6, and Lakeridge at No. 10.
"The league is just really good from top to bottom," said Lake Oswego coach Steve Coury. "Lakeridge can beat anybody, West Linn might be the team to beat, Tualatin might be able to get to the (state championship) and Tigard is always good."
It's not just Coury who's singing the praises of Special District 5 for 2019 either.
"There's a lot of good football teams in our conference," said West Linn coach Chris Miller. "Lake Oswego is the king of the hill — they've got a lot of good football players back so they'll be good. Tigard is great year in and year out, Tualatin is continuing to ascend, Lakeridge is going to be a good, solid team and Oregon City is always solid."
Forrest Sherman, who takes over as Lakeridge head coach after two seasons as the Pacers' defensive coordinator, agrees about the challenges that lie ahead in district play.
"Tigard, Tualatin, Lake Oswego and West Linn — they're all well coached and they all have good athletes," Sherman said. "I think the league is … up for grabs. The teams that make the least mistakes will have the best chance to win."
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