Battle for the Bridge continues successful, raising over $100,000 to fight cystic fibrosis, while keeping the Oregon City-West Linn high school football rivalry strong

JOHN LARIVIERE - Oregon City and West Linn Battle for the Bridge alumni players join together to pose for a photo with Battle Hall of Fame inductees John Denny, Ed Burton, Joe Cerny and Ron Chappell during halftime ceremonies of the 2015 Battle for the Bridge Alumni Football Game. The alumni players are intense rivals during the game, but off the field they have become good friends as they come together in the battle to eradicate cystic fibrosis.There was a feeling of community in West Linn High School’s football stadium on Aug. 8, as football fans and alumni from Oregon City and West Linn high schools gathered for the fifth annual Battle for the Bridge Alumni Football Game.

Alumni from the two schools battled hard on the field, an alumni dance team and high school cheerleaders performed, hundreds of fans cheered for their favorite team, people renewed old friendships, and thousands of dollars was raised to help in the battle against, and to find a cure for, cystic fibrosis.

Eight-year-old Sophia Giammanco, the poster child for the game, even got to run a play, as did 78-year-old Oregon City alumnus Bob Mahoney, who was the oldest player rostered for the contest.

Longtime West Linn High School teacher and coach Joe Cerny and Oregon City News sports editor John Denny were inducted into the Battle for the Bridge Hall of Fame, joining inaugural inductees — retired Oregon City High School coach and educator Ed Burton and retired West Linn High School coach and educator Ron Chappell, who were inducted last year.

Between this year’s Battle for the Bridge golf tournament and alumni football game, $25,000 was raised for the Boomer Esiason Foundation to aid in the battle against cystic fibrosis. In its first five seasons, Battle for the Bridge has raised well over $100,000 in the fight against cystic fibrosis.

JOHN LARIVIERE - West Linn defender Taylor Rose pressures Oregon City quarterback Russ Schneider early in this years Battle for the Bridge Alumni Game. The Pioneers rode Schneiders arm and leg to victory, as he threw five touchdown passes and kicked six extra points.Oregon City alumni won this year’s football game 48-28. But the game was a lot closer than the score would indicate. West Linn trailed by only a touchdown, at 28-21, when Mitch Hoeveke ran the ball in from 7 yards out with under a minute remaining in the third period.

Hoeveke was a force for the Lion alumni, running for three touchdowns and picking off a pass for a 65-yard interception return to the end zone.

But Oregon City took command in the fourth quarter. Oregon City starting quarterback Russ Schneider hooked up with receiver Ryan Wells for a 47-yard touchdown pass to make it 35-21 Oregon City.

Malcolm Paulston busted a 46-yard run for a touchdown to make it 42-28 Oregon City. The Pioneers stopped the Lions on downs inside the Pioneer 10-yard line for the second time in the game. Then Scott Loyd hauled in a 25-yard touchdown pass from Schneider to make it 48-28 Oregon City and put the game on ice.

JOHN LARIVIERE - Oregon City defensive back Trevor Dye (6) says Not on my watch, as he breaks up a pass to help stop a West Linn drive short of the end zone.Schneider was huge for Oregon City, completing touchdown passes of 27, 24, 6, 25 and 47 yards, and kicking six extra points.

Paulston helped Oregon City gain momentum in the third period when he returned a kickoff 85 yards for a touchdown.

With the win, Oregon City alumni upped their record to 4-1 in the Battle for the Bridge alumni series. The Pioneers also lead 50-43-1 in the high school series, which is heralded as the oldest uninterrupted high school football rivalry west of the Mississippi. The two schools have played one another in football every year since 1921.

This year’s high school rivalry game is the season opener for both teams, set for Oregon City at 7 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 4. Fans should expected a heated battle. West Linn High School won 28-21 last year, the Lions have won 10 of the last 12 games in the high school rivalry, and they are likely to be extra hungry after losing another Battle for the Bridge Alumni Game to their rivals.

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