The Lyle/Wishram/Klickitat High Cougar football team concluded its spring schedule in March with a 2-2 win/loss record. The Cougars, guided by ninth-year Coach Antoine Montoya, will be seeking to continue to improve during the OSAA Class 1A eight-man football fall season.

“We took 10 players to a football camp June 21-23 at Elgin High School that was conducted by Eastern Oregon University coaches and players, so that was a good experience for our kids, and they really learned a lot there,” said Montoya. “I think we’re going to do all right because we’ll have our entire offensive line returning from the squad that played during the spring season.

“We’re just fine tuning things right now during practice and the kids are trying to learn everything in the playbook in preparation for our first game.”

The Cougars’ 16-man roster will be led on offense by senior tailback Aaron Smith along with his younger brother, Riley, who will also contribute offensively and defensively as a fullback/middle linebacker. The Cougars are a power running team that will rely primarily on a ground game with the Smith brothers as the main ball carriers. Players who will likely lead the offense at the quarterback position include Zeke Goodliff and Chance Bernier.

The Cougars play their season opener versus the Riverside High Pirates Sept. 3 at 7 p.m. at Riverside High in Boardman. Riverside is in the Class 2A Special District 5 League. The Pirates struggled during the spring season when they had an 0-4 record. Riverside usually plays in the traditional 11-man, 2A class, but it will compete in one eight-man contest this year.

“Riverside is a bigger school that is playing down to the eight-man level for one game, but we played them in baseball this year, so we’re familiar with some of their kids,” said Montoya.

The Cougars’ eight-game season includes four road games and four at home. The Cougars play the Dufur High Rangers in their first home game Sept. 10 at 7 p.m. at Lyle High School. Dufur concluded its spring season with a 5-0 record.