Canby Football Mulling a Move Down to 5A; Community Meeting Set for Next Week

We’re in a really tough league.

It’s been said so often of Canby football the past few years that it’s practically become our unofficial motto. But it’s true: The Three Rivers League is brutal.

Three of the top five teams in the state were in our league this year: No. 5 West Linn, No. 3 Lake Oswego and No. 1 Tigard, who went undefeated in 6A this year, 9-0. A fourth team, Tualatin, was ranked seventh.

In fact, every team in the Three Rivers League, other than Canby, made the playoffs this year, and all but one (Oregon City) advanced into the second round.

There are many reasons the Canby Cougars football team has won only four games in 27 contests over the past three years, but one major factor is certainly the brutally competitive TRL, as well as the general difficulty of playing at 6A — the top class for the state’s largest schools.

The Cougs now have a chance to reshuffle their fate, as the OSAA (Oregon School Activities Association) has offered the opportunity to move down to 5A for the 2020 season. Head Coach Jimmy Joyce said the unexpected offer was made to the Cougars and a handful of other teams whose winning percentage has been under 22 percent the past two years.

Canby is also the third-smallest school in 6A sports.

“We didn’t expect this, so we have just been doing our best to find out all the information,” Joyce said. “We just want to be transparent, communicate all the facts, but above all, do what’s best for these student athletes.”

The team is holding a meeting at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 20, at the Richard R. Brown Fine Arts Center, to share information and hear from the community.

If the school does decide to drop classifications, the current 5A leagues would be redrawn, and it’s not certain exactly where Canby would land. However, Coach Joyce said it’s likely we would be in a league with nearby Wilsonville.

A decision must be made by Dec. 1. Canby would automatically move back to 6A after two years, if the Cougs won more than two-thirds of their games or a single playoff contest.

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