Special teams play leads Lakers to TRL title
Win over Lakeridge earns LO a first-round bye in the playoffs
LAKE OSWEGO - Lake Oswego's special teams scored 17 points off two blocked punts and blocked a field goal attempt, which paved the way for a 24-14 victory over arch-rival Lakeridge Friday night.
The victory gave the Lakers (6-0 in league, 8-2 overall) the Three Rivers League championship and earned them a bye in the first round of the state playoffs, which get underway next Friday. Lakeridge (4-2 in league, 6-3 overall) claimed the No. 3 berth from the TRL, but the Pacers will be without quarterback Robbie Kool when they open the playoffs next week against the No. 3 team from the Mt. Hood Conference.
Kool suffered a broken collarbone on the second play of Friday's game when he was hit hard by Lake Oswego's Will Darkins while scrambling for an 11-yard gain. Kool actually came back into the game for a short time and threw 24-yard touchdown pass to Alex Gay, which gave the Pacers a 7-2 lead with 7:07 left in the first quarter.
Kool was later replaced for good by 5-10 junior Spenser Trefzger, who looked nervous at times but still managed to complete 10 of 21 passes for 134 yards.
Most of the action in this game came via Lake Oswego special teams. The Lakers' first big play came at the end of the game's opening series when Lake Oswego's Ryan Shepherd blocked a punt by Lakeridge's Spencer Halvorsen. The ball then rolled 25 yards into the end zone before Halvorsen was able to recover but he was tackled there for a safety. Then, early in the second quarter, with the Pacers leading 7-2, Lakeridge's Nick Poggi attempted a 36-yard field goal that was blocked by the Lakers. The ball was caught in midair by the Lakers' Jaron Fagan and he rambled 75 yards for the touchdown that put Lake Oswego ahead for good. The Lakers made it 10-7 when Eric Johnson caught a two-point conversion pass from Duncan White.
Lake Oswego pushed its lead to 17-7 late in the second quarter on a five-yard touchdown run by Sam Buckingham. He was spelling Darkins, the Lakers' all-star running back, who suffered a sprained knee and missed most of the game.
The Lakers increased their lead to 24-7 just before halftime when Adam Garside blocked a Halvorsen punt and Matt Stutes recovered it in the end zone for a touchdown.
The game's only score in the second half came on a one-yard run by Lakeridge's Zach Young, who finished the game with 97 yards rushing on 29 carries.