Some teams and coaches just play better on a particular day, or at a particular site. For Lakeridge (Ore.) High football coach Tom Smythe, a very particular statistic stands out far more than any other: In 55 campaigns at the helm, Smythe has won 52 season openers.
Keep in mind, that stat is not for home season openers, or some other modification of the team's opening game. Rather, it's an indication of just how good Lakeridge has been getting a season going.
Yet the amazing thing about Smythe's streak is the variety in which it has been compiled. As reported by the Oregonian, Smythe has lost just three games in a veteran coaching career that has included stops at the high school, collegiate and even professional ranks. Notably, Smythe's last loss came when he was leading Evergreen (Wash.) High in 2007, with Portland (Ore.) Central Catholic ekeing out a 43-40 victory.
Smythe's other two opening week setbacks came in 2000, when Smythe's McNary (Ore.) High fell 19-18 to Sprague (Ore.) High, and way back in 1970, when a Lake Oswego (Ore.) High team fell to Portland (Ore.) Jesuit, 27-12.
Do the math, and one quickly realizes that Smythe's squads have lost three games by a total of 19 points. That's less than a touchdown and extra point, and even that statistic is inflated by Smythe's 1970 setback with Lake Oswego. Given the fact that those losses came across an expanse of 55 seasons, that is one impressive statistic.
Is it the best season opening record of all-time? That statistic isn't readily available, at least not for coaches who have led teams for as long as Smythe has.
Regardless, Smythe's accomplishments in season openers are truly remarkable. Who knows if we'll see the likes of it again anytime soon.