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Lincoln wins battle of unbeatens

Kavanaugh leads the Cardinals to a 28-7 victory over Tualatin
by: jaime Valdez, Tualatin's running back Kyle Johnson drives through a hole in Lincoln's defense in the first half Friday night at Tualatin High School. Lincoln prevailed, 28-7

TUALATIN --It was a matchup of highly-ranked of unbeaten teams.  

It also was a match-up of Tualatin's straight ahead, run-it-right-at-you offense and Lincoln's spread-the-field, throw-it-all-over-the-place attack.  

Lincoln, in that match-up, emerged as the sole remaining unbeaten squad in Friday's showdown -- doing so in impressive fashion.  

The No. 2-ranked Cardinals, behind the play of quarterback Connor Kavanaugh and his group of speedy receivers, rolled to a 28-7 win over the No. 4-ranked Timberwolves in the non-league game played tonight at Tualatin High School.  

'They're a great team,' said Tualatin senior linebacker Jacob Bowe, who spent a lot of the contest trying to chase down the nimble, talented Kavanaugh. 'They can play. They're well-coached and have some great athletes.'  

'They're real fast,' Tualatin senior lineman Jake Wakefield said of the Cardinals. 'I've never played a team as fast as they are.'  

With the win, Lincoln improved to 3-0 on the season. Tualatin dropped to 3-1 with the loss.  

The Wolves, for almost the entire game, turned to its running attack, featuring senior running back Kyle Johnson, who came into the contest with 507 rushing yards on the season, and a powerful offensive line.  

Tualatin, running strong, put together a pair of long offensive drives in the first half, but, each time, the Wolves weren't able to put any points on the scoreboard.  

Tualatin, the second time it had the ball, ran the ball down to the Lincoln 2-yard line, but a personal foul call and two quarterback sacks forced the Wolves to try a 46-yard field goal, which sailed wide left.  

Tualatin also had a 17-play drive -- spearheaded by Johnson -- early in the second quarter, but the Wolves ended up turning the ball over on downs at the Cardinal 29-yard line.  

'We made some key mistakes,' Wakefield said. 'We have to work on finishing those drives.'  

Lincoln, on the other hand, didn't seem to have problems converting on its scoring opportunities.  

The Cardinals took a 6-0 lead when Kavanaugh guided them on an eight-play, 80-yard drive that culminated with a 5-yard touchdown run by junior running back Ross Meinhardt, coming with 11 minutes and 23 seconds left in the first half.  

Right before halftime, Lincoln quickly moved 71 yards in seven plays, with Kavanaugh capping off the drive with a 3-yard touchdown run. He also ran in the two-point conversion to up the lead to 14-0 with 20 seconds left in the half.  The Cardinals also struck quickly to begin the third quarter. A 45-yard pass play from Kavanaugh to Jordan Polk set up Kavanaugh's 8-yard touchdown scramble, upping the lead to 21-0 just 37 seconds into the period.  

Lincoln scored its final touchdown of the game on a 2-yard pass from Kavanaugh to senior Ryan Henderson, coming with 8:34 left in the game.  

Tualatin avoided the shutout, getting a 4-yard touchdown run by senior Eddy Brown with 48 seconds remaining to play.  

For the game, Kavanaugh completed 16 of 28 pass attempts for 261 yards. He also was the Cardinals' top rusher with 58 yards on nine carries.  

'He's real good,' Tualatin junior fullback/linebacker Dennis Ranck said. 'They're a very good team. You have to give them credit. They played us tough. But I hope we get the chance to play them again.'  

Polk had four receptions for 118 yards for Lincoln and senior Elvis Akpla had five receptions for 55 yards.  

The Wolves did seem to run the ball effectively, gaining 261 rushing yards on 61 carries in the game. Johnson finished the contest with 98 rushing yards on 23 carries. He had 95 of those yards, and 20 carries, in the first half. He played sparingly in the second half after aggravating a foot injury.  

Ranck powered his way for 71 yards on 12 carries and junior Danny Johnson had 61 rushing yards on 61 carries for the Wolves.  

Tualatin attempted just two passes in the contest. One fell incomplete and the other was intercepted by Lincoln's John Cassidy.  

For a complete story with statistics and photos, see the Sept. 28 issue of the Tigard/Tualatin Times.