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  • Ednold

Mountainside 10/1/21


This Friday we took a trip to Washington County to watch the Mountainside Mavericks host the Beaverton Beavers, which put us in the stange position of having to root against the Beavers for a change. I admit that until a few weeks ago, when another school had a covid outbreak and started canceling games, I had never heard of Mountainside. I came across them while looking for a replacement game and was totally unfamiliar with them. The name sounds like some generic made-up school name from a TV show, but now I know that it's a real place.

This guy

Not this guy

Mountainside opened in 2017 on what at the time was the extreme southwest edge of residential Beaverton, wedged into an area between the school districts of other Portland suburbs. But the school has attracted development in the surrounding countryside and now it is in the middle of a bustling community. It’s named for its location on the south slope of Cooper Mountain which was named for a guy named Perry Cooper, an immigrant who originally settled on the mountain. But don’t go to Mountainside looking for an actual mountain. With a summit elevation of 764 feet, Cooper Mountain is what most people around here would refer to as a hill. But Perry Cooper was from Ohio, and I guess it looked like a mountain to him. We could have reached Mountainside by driving up Hwy 217 and heading southwest on Scholls Ferry Rd., but we thought we might have better luck on a Friday night by approaching it from the south from Sherwood on Roy Rogers Rd. And if you’re wondering if the King of the Cowboys had anything to do with that road, the answer is no. It’s named for a Washington County commissioner whose parents apparently couldn’t resist naming him after a movie star.


Mountainside High imposes itself on the elevated lot to the northwest at the intersection of Scholls Ferry and Roy Rogers. It is an impressive and even intimidating sight to someone who last attended a football game in Powers. Both Powers and Mountainside are situated on hillsides, but that’s where the similarities end. Mountainside High is a towering four story colossus of a building. Being only four years old, it’s a boxy modern brick structure with a noteworthy interior courtyard, but it’s still a little sterile looking and could easily be mistaken for a hospital or state office building if not for the playing fields on the west side. It still looks shiny and new and is probably full of cutting edge educational amenities. Which is part of the reason the population of Beaverton has significantly shifted south in the last five years: Who doesn’t want their kids to attend a shiny new school? If you build a really nice high school, they will come. And they have. And as the urban growth boundaries expand around the metro area these huge schools will probably keep popping up on ground that is currently countryside.

We parked in the parking lot that looked like it could already use an expansion. We were early enough that we didn't have any trouble finding a spot, but I bet some of the later arrivals did. We found the entry in the southeast corner of the field and paid our $6 entry fee. But we didn't get a program because Mountainside doesn’t print them. If you want one you can use the QR code posted on the light post inside the gate to download a program onto your phone. I suppose that’s progress; we’re saving trees and making less of a mess around the campus. Am I wrong to wonder what people without a smartphone would do? Do those people exist anymore? I think they still do, but maybe not at Mountainside.

The north (visitors) bleachers

All of the playing fields at Mountainside, including the football field, are artificial turf: Acres and acres of fake grass. Being fairly new, the turf is in great shape and is surrounded by a nice 9-lane rubber asphalt running track. But while the visitors seating on the north side of the field is nice, and large enough to handle the visiting fans, the home grandstands were a little disappointing. They’re pretty much new also, but they are just the standard aluminum structure with aluminum benches. There’s a nice, big two-story press box on top, but as we’ve come to expect at the newer, bigger schools, none of the bleachers are under cover.

The south (home) grandstand

At a place like Mountainside, where no expense was spared, it’s hard to imagine why they wouldn’t want a covered grandstand. Certainly, nobody can say they didn’t have the budget for it. It’s one of those things you don’t really miss until you need it, and I predict they will be missing it once or twice before the season is over. And the entire home grandstand could be much bigger. As things are, the student section isn’t large enough for all of the students, which meant that packs of them roamed the stands looking for empty seats where they could sit and test the patience of the adults sitting nearby. There must have been a time in my life when I liked teenage girls. After sitting with them for a few hours, for the life of me I cannot imagine why. And why, oh why, do you have a fancy school like this and build just one tiny concession stand at the football field? The line was long, and though the adults running the show had the process down and were as efficient as could be, I was still in line for a good while, surrounded by screaming teenagers. It was worth my time, though. If you’re looking for coffee you’ll have to look elsewhere. But the crispy chicken sandwiches were tasty and hot, as were the hot dogs and hot cocoa. Which was good because by the second half the warm first-day-of-October evening was giving way to a chilly night and we needed something to warm us up.

Both of these schools compete in 6A Special District 2, and Mountainside was 1-3 while Beaverton was 2-2 coming into this game. This is only the third year of competition for the Mavericks, but in 2019 they made the state quarterfinals, so they have already experienced some success on the gridiron. It was a closely contested first half, with the Beavers taking a 21-10 lead into the break.


Then finally, for the first time this season, we were treated to a show at halftime. I saw all of the musicians lined up to go on the field and expected some music from the marching band. But Mountainside doesn’t have a marching band, they have a Marching Ensemble. They weren’t as big or as flashy as the band we saw perform at Century a while ago, but they have the same non-marching percussionists on the sidelines and the flag twirlers and all that stuff and they are all very good. The narrative of the show had something to do with railroads and trains. The announcer explained it but I have to admit I wasn’t really paying attention so the nuances of the performance were lost on me. I don’t know a lot about bands and band music but I know when I hear something good and, like I said, these kids were good.


When the Beavers scored again early in the third quarter to make it 28-10 it looked like the Mavericks might be in a hole they couldn’t climb out of. But from that point on, some inspired play by Mountainside combined with several ill-timed penalties by the Beavers allowed the Mavs to regain the momentum. They scored to get within 11 points with the final quarter to play, then broke out for three more touchdowns in the fourth to win handily, 38-28. Each time the Mavericks score you hear galloping horse hooves over the loudspeaker, followed by a celebratory whinny (or is it a neigh? I’ve never been clear on which one means what.) It’s kind of fun to listen to but it got me wondering why the Mavericks’ mascot is a horse. Strictly speaking, mavericks are unbranded cattle. Maybe an unbranded horse can be a maverick too? I don’t really know, and the whinny (or neigh) is certainly better than a moo. Or maybe I’m just overthinking this whole thing. Anyway, by the time it was over we had heard a lot of whinnying (or neighing) and I and Mrs. Ednold were whinnying (or neighing) right along with the horse.


It was a close and exciting game with lots of scoring and plenty of big plays by some really good players, and it’s hard to account for the Beavers’ collapse. They had the better quarterback and running back, but they couldn’t make the plays when they needed to in the second half. And even when they did they would commit a penalty to negate the effort. Their defense was good but seemed to wear down as the game went on until the floodgates opened in the fourth quarter. There wasn’t anything spectacular about the Mavericks. They just kept playing hard until the tide eventually turned. That, and the fact they had the Ednolds rooting for them. That was all it took.

In some ways a trip to one of the newer schools in the state isn’t as interesting as the old ones. There’s not much history to delve into, there don’t seem to be as many quirky details, and long traditions have yet to be established. But it is interesting to see a community that, relatively speaking, sprang up overnight and now has a high school with an enrollment of almost 2,000 students. I feel like we got a glimpse of Mountainside in its infancy, and it will be interesting to come back in ten or twenty years and see how well it’s aged.


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