West Linn Football: The Year in Review
The 2019 West Linn football team has just about been through it all.
From coach Chris Miller's resignation — effective at the end of the season — to key wins over Sheldon and Tualatin, to painful losses to Lake Oswego and Tigard, the Lions have seen it all, done it all and been through it all.
To look back on the Lions' wild 2019 ride, just click on any of the hyperlinks below.
Chris Miller's highly successful tenure as West Linn's football coach is about to come to an end.
Miller — who has compiled a 52-12 record in five seasons with the Lions, including a Class 6A title in 2016 — has accepted an offensive coordinator position with Houston of the newly formed XFL. He will coach West Linn in the coming fall season before starting his new job Dec. 3.
The West Linn football team has been nothing but competitive in head coach Chris Miller's first five years.
The Lions have reached the state championship game twice (in 2015 and 2016) in that stretch, won it once (in 2016) and advanced to the state quarterfinals in each of Miller's other three years.
Now, in Miller's final campaign with West Linn — he'll leave for a position as offensive coordinator of the XFL's Houston Roughnecks after the high school season — the Lions aren't about to slow down.
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 West Linn football team had Central Catholic right where it wanted it.
The Lions, hosting the talented Rams at West Linn High School on Friday, Sept. 6, rallied from a one-touchdown deficit and took a six-point lead over Central Catholic on the second play of the fourth quarter.
But the Rams caught fire down the stretch, scored on their next two series, stopped West Linn on its final two possessions and edged away to win 35-27 in both teams' 2019 season opener.
The West Linn football team knocked on the door in the first week of the 2019 season.
But in week two, the Lions just flat kicked it down.
West Linn, after dropping a tough 34-27 decision to Central Catholic in its opener, came back big-time on Friday, Sept. 13, routing McNary 49-14 at McNary High School.
This one felt good.
A year after Sheldon handed the West Linn football team two of its four losses — including a 38-26 win over the Lions in the Class 6A state quarterfinals — West Linn finally got payback.
The Lions, hosting the Irish in non-league play on Friday, Sept. 20, got their payback in a big way, too, routing Sheldon 55-14 at West Linn High School.
The West Linn football team looked like it was stuck in low gear at the start of its Friday, Sept. 27, contest at Lakeridge High School.
The Lions fumbled the ball away on the fourth play from scrimmage, turned it over three times in the opening half and didn't score in the first quarter.
But West Linn got right after that, stomped on the accelerator and scored seven touchdowns in the game's final three quarters to beat Lakeridge 48-27.
The West Linn football team is hitting its stride.
The Lions, a month after losing their 2019 season opener, came back with their fourth straight win on Friday, Oct. 4, and came back in impressive fashion, routing Sherwood 52-27 in non-league play at West Linn High School.
The Lions struck first.
The Timberwolves struck back.
But when the West Linn football team took control down the stretch of its Friday, Oct. 18, road game, the Lions struck down the Wolves for the first time this season, winning 34-20 at Tualatin High School.
Everybody knows how tough the Three Rivers League is in football this year.
There's top-ranked Tigard, second-ranked Lake Oswego (the 2018 Class 6A state champion), third-ranked West Linn, once-beaten (and former No. 2) Tualatin and on and on and on.
One of the reasons those teams are so good is that they all have strong quarterbacks, so here's a team-by-team look at the TRL's seven starting signal callers.
The West Linn football team is running the gauntlet.
And while it's not always pleasant, there's no better way to get ready for the upcoming Class 6A state playoffs.
The Lions ran another leg in their torturous regular season on Friday, Oct. 25, and while this stretch wasn't the team's favorite — West Linn dropped a 42-21 decision to top-ranked Tigard at Tigard High School — it marked another contest against a top-notch opponent and another chance to improve.
The 99th iteration of the West Linn vs. Oregon City high school football rivalry is almost here.
But before we get to the game itself — set for 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 1, at West Linn High School — the Optimists Club of Oregon City and the West Linn Lions Club are inviting the public to attend a breakfast on Tuesday, Oct. 29, at the Oregon City Elks Club to preview the annual "Battle for the Bridge."
The annual Battle for the Bridge football game has often turned into a war.
Faced with that matchup again on Friday, Nov. 1 — the 99th iteration of the series — West Linn knew just what to do. The Lions dropped an absolute bomb on the Pioneers.
West Linn piled up a seven-touchdown lead in the first half and rolled to a one-sided 52-7 victory at West Linn High School, the team's sixth straight in the series and seventh in a row overall.
On the one hand, the West Linn football team's 2019 state playoff opener was everything it should have been.
The Lions piled up 10 touchdowns, racked up almost 650 yards in total offense and rolled to a lopsided 70-29 win over Roosevelt at West Linn High School on Friday, Nov. 8.
But then there was the other hand. On the other hand, the Lions threw three interceptions, turned the ball over four times, were penalized nine times (two of which erased TDs) and dropped a handful of passes.
In the end, the Lions were happy to have won, glad for the night's positives and determined to eliminate their mistakes next week.
The West Linn football team hit it hard.
The Lions, hosting Sherwood in the second round of the Class 6A state playoffs, hit the Bowmen hard on Friday, Nov. 15, racing out to a four-touchdown lead and rolling to a 35-14 win at West Linn High School.
Early mistakes, a slow start and a talented opponent proved to be too much for the West Linn football team.
The Lions, facing Central Catholic in the Class 6A state quarterfinals at Hillsboro Stadium on Friday, Nov. 22, suffered from all three of those against the Rams and ultimately fell in a season-ending 42-35 loss.
The journey that is Chris Miller's coaching life is about to take another turn.
Miller, West Linn's football coach for the past six seasons, announced back in June that the 2019 campaign would be his last with the Lions.
And now, just two weeks removed from his team's 42-35 loss to Central Catholic in the Class 6A state quarterfinals, Miller is looking forward to what's next, and looking back on what he'll leave behind in West Linn.
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