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Eight Lakers earn all-state recognition

There is a lot of navy blue on this year's 6A all-state football teams. Eight players from Lake Oswego were honored when the teams were announced on Wednesday and two of those players were honored for their contributions on both offense and defense.

'It's a great group of kids and it's well-deserved. All of those players are guys who had great years and, for some, it's the culmination of a great career,' Laker coach Steve Coury said.

The most notable selection for the Lakers was Will Darkins who made the first team on both offense and defense. Few running backs in the state were as feared as Darkins this season. Throughout the year, he never shied away from a hit and was a focal point for the Lakers' high-powered offense this season.

But as frightening as he was to see breaking into the secondary, Darkins may have been even more petrifying, bursting through the line on a blitz as a linebacker.

Darkins headed up a punishing defense and, if it wasn't for the outstanding play of Jesuit linebacker Owen Marecic, he likely would have been named the state's defensive player of the year.

Nevertheless, earning first-team all-state honors on both teams is a unique feat.

'That's a pretty rare deal. He was kind of the main guy for us on both sides of the ball. It's quite an honor,' Coury said.

Tackle Jasper Croome, made the first-team on offense for Lake Oswego after bulking up significantly in the off-season while defensive back Matt Stutes earned first-team honors for his defense.

'Jasper's a guy who consistently got better and Matt Stutes had two all-state years as far as I'm concerned,' Coury said.

Kyle Lavender was also honored on both sides of the ball as he made the second team on offense as a tight end and on defense as a lineman.

Lavender's selection on defense is, perhaps, more impressive given the fact that he played linebacker for the first three games of the season until Coury recognized a need at defensive end and moved Lavender to that position.

'He moved and had to re-learn the position. He's just a great team player and I'm thrilled for him,' Coury said.

Earning honorable mention status on offense for Lake Oswego was junior center Sam Gerwe who anchored the team's offensive line.

On defense, linebacker Jon Dulong and lineman Nate Morse, a junior, also earned an honorable mention.

But the best story amongst the group of eight stellar athletes belongs to guard Kyle Mombell, who made the second team on offense.

Mombell had virtually no varsity experience heading into the season but loved being a part of Lake Oswego's program and worked harder than virtually everyone on the team to contribute in any way he could.

He finally earned a role on the offensive line for the Lakers and made the most of his opportunity and Coury was thrilled to see him receive recognition for his efforts.

'Kyle is an unbelievable story. He was a guy who just wanted to play under the lights on Friday night and was in the program for years. He should give hope to everyone else coming up,' Coury said.

One Lakeridge player was also honored on Wednesday. Senior wide receiver Taylor Young earned honorable mention on offense for the Pacers.