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Beaverton slips and slides to playoff win

Beavers best West Linn 38-28
by: Vern Uyetake, Beaverton safety Alex Corona intercepts a pass intended for West Linn's Josh Oltman late in the game, ending another Lion possession with a turnover Friday night.

It was a slippery day, to say the least, at West Linn High School on Friday. The driving rain which refused to let up for three straight hours led to seven fumbles, five by the Lions and the Beavers capitalized to the tune of a 38-28 victory.

The Lions turned the ball over a total of seven times, compared to Beaverton's comparably respectable tally of three as the Beavers overcame a two-point deficit at the half to blow the game open in the third quarter.

Miscommunication thwarted West Linn's opening drive when quarterback Mychal Zito pitched the ball to a non-existant running back, giving Beaverton an easy fumble opportunity. But on the next play, Austin Potter's pass was picked off by Kyle Kraus and returned to the one-yard line. Kyle Quinn punched the ball in one play later to give the Lions the lead. But Beaverton bounced back.

Normally a heavily pass-oriented team, the Beavers opted to hit West Linn with a steady dose of the run all night and it worked. Tyler McBee was a workhorse running for 224 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Sixty-two of those yards came on a touchdown run in the first quarter to put Beaverton on the board. The teams then traded long drives in the second quarter but Beaverton had an extra point blocked and a two-point conversion attempt fail, which left West Linn ahead 14-12 at the break.

The Lions seemed to have momentum early in the third quarter after stopping the Beavers but a fumble on their second offensive play of the half gave Beaverton the ball back and Joel Gross caught a 31-yard touchdown on the next play to give his team its first lead of the game. West Linn fumbled the ensuing kick-off and Beaverton converted it into a touchdown again and, suddenly the Lions were back on their heels.

When Beaverton did elect to go to the air, it was extremely efficient. Gross was Potter's favorite target on the night and the pair hooked up for three long touchdown strikes. Gross only had three catches in the game but all of them went for touchdowns and he racked up 137 yards receiving. The Lions came close to making it a game in the fourth quarter. Trailing 32-14, Zito completed five passes on a 97-yard drive, the last of which was caught by Monahan in the end zone for a 10-yard score.

McBee fumbled on Beaverton's first play after recovering an onside kick, giving West Linn life again, but, after another 10-yard completion to Monahan, a controversial fumble gave Beaverton the ball right back. There was an intense scramble for the important loose ball and, after a long discussion, the referees awarded the Beavers the ball. Gross caught his final touchdown pass, this time taking a catch 51 yards for a score, three plays later to essentially put the game away. The Lions scored once more with five second remaining on a three-yard run by Kyle Quinn.

Beaverton moves on to play Canby next week.