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Pacers Kool, Young brothers make easy work of Centennial

by: Vern Uyetake, Lakeridge receiver Taylor Young, left, was virtually upstoppable in Friday’s non-league game against Centennial. Young had 10 receptions for 279 yards and three touchdowns as the Pacers rolled to an easy 42-24 victory. Young’s 279 yards represented the second-best receiving game in Oregon history. Quarterback Robbie Kool finished with 376 yards passing.

The coaches of the Centennial football team had a difficult choice to make in last Friday's game against Lakeridge. No matter which choice they made, it was destined to be a losing proposition, which would partly explain Lakeridge's easy 42-24 victory over the visiting Eagles.

Those coaches had to decide whether to focus their defensive game plan on Lakeridge's potent running attack or focus on the Pacers' equally potent passing game. They opted for a beefed-up run defense after seeing Lakeridge junior Zach Young ramble for 207 yards against Canby the week before. On the surface, it looked like a good choice as Young was surprisingly limited to 25 yards rushing against the Eagles.

But things really didn't turn out the way Centennial had planned as the Lakeridge passing combination of junior quarterback Robbie Kool and senior receiver Taylor Young was essentially given free reign in the open field. Kool finished the game with 376 yards passing while completing 14 of 21 attempts. Taylor Young caught 10 of those passes for 279 yards and three touchdowns. According to one area Web site, Young's receiving yardage tied him for second-best receiving game in Oregon history.

Afterwards, Kool and Taylor Young gave credit to everyone but themselves.

'I didn't have to do much,' Kool said. 'My 'O' line did everything for me. They did a great job. And Tay(lor) is a piece out there.'

'I can't do it without my linemen, I can't do it without my quarterback, I can't do it without my defense and I can't do it without my brother (Zach) blocking,' Taylor Young said of his contributions.

Frankly, Kool and the Youngs were downright scary every time Lakeridge had the ball. They were so prolific in their efforts that the Pacers barely took any time off of the clock on each of their six scoring drives. By the end, Lakeridge's offense held the ball for just 18 of the game's 48 minutes.

'I actually thought about that during the game,' coach Rob Kool said of his team's ability to score so quickly. 'That could be a problem sometimes. We might have to think about that, depending on who we're playing, and change some things up.

'But when you see things are open, you try to attack,' the coach added. 'And if a kid makes a play, what do you do?'

About all you can do is pat the kid on the back and say, 'nice job.' On Friday, there were a lot of pats on the back.

The tone was set early when Centennial fumbled away its opening possession. Moments later, Robbie Kool sprinted around right end for a 28-yard touchdown and a 7-0 lead.

The Eagles managed to hold onto the ball for a while on its next possession, but the effort failed to produce any points. The Pacers then responded with a drive that lasted a near eternity for them. It took them 2 minutes, 25 seconds to cover 68 yards in seven plays. That included a pair of receptions by Taylor Young for 59 yards. Zach Young then finished the drive with a 13-yard scoring run.

After a three-and-out series by Centennial, the Pacers needed just one play to push their lead to 21-0. That possession started with a penalty that wiped out a 48-yard gain by Taylor Young. Then, on the first official play of the possession, Robbie Kool went back to his favorite receiver. Young caught the ball on a 15-yard crossing pattern and then broke a tackle and outran everyone to the end zone for an 81-yard touchdown.

The Pacers needed only three plays to score the first time they touched the ball in the second quarter. That score was set up by a 53-yard reception by Zach Young after his quarterback had amazingly escaped an almost certain sack. Robbie Kool then took the honors on the next play with a 4-yard scoring run.

Up to that point, it was four possessions and four touchdowns for a Lakeridge offense that averaged 16.5 yards per play in the first half.

Later in the half, Kool and Taylor Young added a 12-yard scoring toss to their incredible first-half accomplishments. Yet, Centennial managed to keep the game interesting with a pair of second-quarter touchdowns and 35-yard field goal as the half expired. That trimmed Lakeridge's lead to 35-17.

The Pacers didn't let up any after taking the second half kickoff. This time they needed five plays to cover 65 yards. And, surprise, surprise, it was Taylor Young who capped the quick drive with a 35-yard touchdown reception. That wound up being the last time Lakeridge scored as coach Kool opted to shuffle players in and out of the game to give everyone ample playing time.

One of the few positives Centennial was able to take away from the game was its ability to contain the elusive Zach Young within the two tackle positions. However, even though he rushed for only 25 yards, the junior speedster still finished the game with more than 200 all-purpose yards. That included 74 yards receiving, 94 yards on kickoff returns and 14 yards on punt returns.

'I thought (Centennial) did a real good job of taking away our inside running game,' coach Kool said. 'I think they saw how well we were running inside (against Canby) and they said, 'we're not going to let that happen.' … But it's hard defensively to take away everything.'

By trying to limit Zach Young, the Eagles turned the game into the Robbie Kool and Taylor Young show. And the damage could have been even worse than it was.

'We could have put up a lot of points,' Robbie Kool said. 'But (Centennial) played tough, so it never happened.'

Maybe the Pacers were saving something for Friday's game at Oregon City.