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Fourth annual 'Battle' Saturday in Oregon City

Russell Schneider returns to the helm as OC alumni take on their cross-river rivals from West Linn -


Oregon City High School’s football stadium will be the place to be at 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 16.

Photo Credit: PHOTO BY JOHN LARIVIERE - Russell Schneider (13), pictured here eluding a defender in a Pacific Football League playoff game with the Yakima Mavericks, will be at the helm for the Oregon City High School alumni team for this Saturday's Oregon City vs. West Linn Battle for the Bridge alumni football game. Schneider has had a phenomenal year as quarterback for the Oregon City-based Portland Raiders Minor League semi-pro football team this year. The 2001 graduate of Oregon City High School was in record form, completing 267-of-490 passes (.544 percent) for 4,419 yards and 57 touchdowns, with 17 interceptions. The passes completed, passes attempted and yards are all PFL and Greater Northwest Football Association records. The 57 touchdown passes is second all-time only to his own record of 59. Schneider has 370 career touchdown passes in six seasons of playing Minor League semi-pro football, just seven shy of the national record. Schneider this year led the Raiders to championship of the Pacific Football League, and an overall record of 12-1, the Raiders' only loss coming in a 10-7 early-season game with the South Lane Buzzards.That’s when alumni from Oregon City and West Linn high schools will be doing battle in the fourth annual Battle for the Bridge alumni football game. The game is a fundraiser for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Town & Country Honda in Gladstone is title sponsor for this year’s game.

In high school football, Oregon City and West Linn high schools sport the oldest uninterrupted high school football rivalry west of the Mississippi, having played one another in football every year since 1921.

Oregon City holds a 50-42-1 advantage in the high school series and a 2-1 edge in the Battle for the Bridge alumni series.

The alumni games have been real battles, with Oregon City winning 23-14 in 2011 and 16-15 last August, and West Linn winning 36-35 in 2012.

Oregon City High School graduate Russell Schneider, an accomplished semi-pro football player with the Pacific Football League champion Portland Raiders, is back to lead the Pioneers as their quarterback for a fourth year.

“The thing about the Battle for the Bridge is it’s so different from semi-pro football,” said Schneider. “I get to come back home and hang out with people I grew up with, and make some new friends. And I get to coach. I actually do more coaching than playing. Plus, it’s for such a great cause.”

Schneider brings plenty of credentials to the cause. The 2001 Oregon City High School graduate this year led the Portland Raiders to a 12-1 record and the PFL championship, passing for 4,419 yards, an all-time record for the PFL and for the Greater Northwest Football Association. Schneider has 370 career touchdown passes in six seasons of playing Minor League semi-pro football, just seven shy of the national record.

Tickets for Saturday’s game cost $10, and they may be purchased at the gate or online at www.battleforthebridge.com.

Proceeds from the game and from a Battle for the Bridge golf tournament go towards funding research to find a cure for Cystic Fibrosis.

Rylee Ferro, a toddler who has Cystic Fibrosis and who is the daughter of 2000 Oregon City High School graduate Eric Ferro, is the honorary captain for this year’s Oregon City Battle for the Bridge alumni team.

The Battle for the Bridge alumni football game has raised close to $60,000 for the Oregon chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation in its first three years.

“We’re so grateful to [the Battle for the Bridge organizers] and everyone involved,” said Rylee’s mom, Johnie Ferro. “They are doing some really amazing things through research. The life expectancy for someone with Cystic Fibrosis is currently age 32 to 38, and it’s doubled in just the last 15 years.

“They have gene specific trials going on right now. They are so close to finding a cure. They’re not there yet, but they are getting there. And even if they don’t find a cure they’re doing some some stuff that could be really life-changing and make a huge difference in quality of life for kids like Rylee.”

Burton and Chappell Hall of Fame inductees

Two longtime coaches will be honored at this year’s Battle for the Bridge, as the event inaugurates a Battle for the Bridge Hall of Fame. Honored during special halftime ceremony at this year’s game as the first inductees will be retired Oregon City High School football coach Ed Burton and retired West Linn High School football coach Ron Chappell.

“We wanted to honor them for all of the hard work they did and the influence they had on us as players,” said Dave Norman, who is a West Linn alumnus and chairman of this year’s fourth annual “Battle.”

Norman said that in future years the Hall of Fame will honor other coaches and players “who have been a big part of the rivalry, as well as people who have had a great influence on the Oregon City and West Linn communities.”




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