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Lakeridge witnesses historic rushing performance, nearly wins

Alohas Thomas Tyner goes for more than 600 yards and 10 touchdowns but Lakeridge keeps pace for three and a half quarters


It's safe to say that members of this year's Lakeridge football team will never forget taking part in last Friday's non-league showdown against Aloha. In fact, any fan of Oregon high school football will probably have the game preserved in their memory banks as well.

Heading into the contest, most people predicted a big performance from Aloha's standout runningback Thomas Tyner.

Tyner is widely considered to be one of the nation's best tailbacks, if not the very best, having already committed to the University of Oregon next year.

Tyner was knocked out of the game against Lakeridge last year, a game the Pacers would eventually win and, going up against a Lakeridge team that has struggled against the run, it seemed like a perfect storm for some big numbers.

But just how big, nobody could have predicted. In one of the wildest shootouts in Oregon high school football history, Tyner galloped for 643 yards and 10 touchdowns in an 84-63 victory.

While the Pacers did very little to stop Tyner or even slow him down, after the game, many people were quick to point out that, if not for a historic performance by the Lakeridge offense as well, Tyner's record-breaking evening couldn't have happened.

“You definitely have to give us some credit. Our kids played with heart and fought tooth and nail for 13 rounds,” coach Tom Smythe said.

The Pacers were almost equally as good when they had the ball, mixing up the run and the pass more than Aloha did.

Quarterback Eric Dungey threw for 362 yards and four touchdowns and ran for two more scores in what would be a breakout performance for the sophomore. And, as amazing as it sounds, Lakeridge very nearly overcame perhaps the best rushing performance the state has ever seen.

“Our guys are smart enough to know that they just played the best high school back in the nation. He'll be at Oregon and then in the NFL and they can tell their buddies how they almost tackled him once,” Smythe said.

Midway through the fourth quarter and long after every other game in the state was finished, Lakeridge and Aloha were deadlocked at 63-63.

Tyner would bust another long touchdown run, his ninth, to give Aloha the lead again and an interception returned for a touchdown would finally give the Warriors a small amount of breathing room.

Lakeridge did everything it could have in the game. Once it was apparent that there was simply no stopping Tyner, the Pacers attempted five onside kicks, recovering three of them.

“We figured we didn't have anything to lose. He'd either go for a 70-yard touchdown or a 50-yard touchdown,” Smythe said.

The teams traded touchdowns early. Aloha scored first and Lakeridge countered with a 68-yard strike from Dungey to Rick Hiller.

Tyner busted another 42-yard score and Lakeridge responded, getting two touchdown runs from Alex Alamida to go up 20-14.

Lakeridge would extend its advantage after recovering another onside kick, getting a two-yard keeper from Dungey midway through the second quarter.

But that's when Tyner put together his most impressive stretch of the game. First he broke a 62-yard run. Lakeridge responded with a quick drive and an eight-yard touchdown pass from Dungey to Madison Pihl.

The next time Tyner touched the ball, he ran for a 60-yard score. Again, Lakeridge had an answer, scoring three minutes later on a 30-yard pass from Dungey to J.R. McLaughlin.

But, just one play later, Tyner answered again by himself, this time going for 65 yards, giving him nearly 190 yards and three scores on just three carries.

“We knew what they would try to do and their offensive line is really tough. He's just so fast that there's no pursuit angle on him. The only guy I've ever seen who comes to mind is Mel Renfro at Jefferson back when I was playing in '59,” Smythe said.

Still, Lakerige clung to a 41-35 lead at the half.

Lakeridge would make it a two-score game again with a drive that lasted just over a minute to open the third quarter, culminating with another short keeper from Dungey.

Aloha answered with a pass this time that went for a 40-yard score.

Lakeridge's offense then hit its lone lull of the game and Aloha took advantage, getting two more 40+ yard touchdown runs from Tyner to go up by a score.

On the first play of the fourth quarter, it was time for Lakeridge's running game to strike as Nick Yun broke a 58-yard run.

Less than a minute later Tyner scored his fourth touchdown from 60 or more yards out.

The shootout thrilled the boisterous crowd at Aloha as both teams refused to be the one who blinked first.

“It was a real show. I think the spectators probably should have paid twice for that one,” Smythe said.

Dungey, who spread the wealth all game long, connected with Mark Grothe for a 28-yard score to tie the game with 8:47 to play.

But Tyner had yet another answer and, 10 seconds later, Aloha's defense came up with the one key stop it would need in forcing the interception.

With 2:24 to play, Tyner, who also played on defense, scored from five yardrs out for his shortest score of the night.

It was a remarkable game and one that was picked up nationally by outlets like ESPN and USA Today as both Tyner's and Dungey's nights were highlighted.

The teams combined for 21 touchdowns and more than 1,300 yards of offense.

Lakeridge will look to get back in the win column this Friday as it opens its league slate at home against Oregon City.