Sam Buckingham steps up and rushes for 168 yards in Darkins' absence

OREGON CITY - It hardly mattered that Lake Oswego's star running back, Will Darkins, spent the entire night on the sideline recovering from the flu.

In Darkins' absence, the Lakers simply called on back-up running Sam Buckingham, who responded with a career night as Lake Oswego rolled to a 35-7 victory over Oregon City on Friday.

Darkins, who entered the week with nearly 600 yards rushing for the season, was dressed and ready to play against the host Pioneers. But he wasn't needed as Buckingham more than filled the void.

Buckingham, a 6-foot, 200-pound junior, rushed 33 times for 168 yards and three touchdowns. Buckingham, who had seen only limited varsity action before Friday, ran the ball six times during Lake Oswego's first possession. He ended that drive, which took more than eight minutes off the clock, with a six-yard scoring run that gave Lake Oswego the lead for good at 7-0.

Buckingham, who had 100 yards rushing by half-time, tacked another scoring run (this time from five yards out) late in the second quarter to give Lake Oswego a 14-0 lead. The Lakers made 21-0 just before half-time when quarterback Duncan White hit tight end Kyle Lavender for a five-yard touchdown.

By then, Lake Oswego had 218 yards in total offense to just 14 for Oregon City. The Pioneers also failed to pick up a first down in those first two quarters. They started the game with three consecutive three-and-out series. After a scoreless third quarter, the final stanza was wide-open.

It included touchdowns on three straight possessions. First, Buckingham scored from one yard out to give Lake Oswego a 28-0 lead. Then Cory Misley caught 73-yard scoring pass from Jake Nelson - easily Oregon City's best play of the game. But Lake Oswego answered back a short time with a 10-yard touchdown run by backup quarterback Anthony Culver.

For the game, Lake Oswego had a 407 to 113 advantage in total yards. In addition to Buckingham, the Lakers (4-2, 3-0 TRL) got a big game from White, who was 13 for 18 for 199 yards. Brent Robinson caught four of those passes for 105 yards.

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