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Pacers bury Hillsboro to start off 2-0

by: VERN UYETAKE Above, Lakeridge’s Blake Dutton runs back a punt for a touchdown in Friday’s win over Aloha. It marked Lakeridge’s fourth special teams touchdown this year and the third scored by Dutton. Below, Lakeridge’s Spencer Russell gets pulled down by the facemask in the team’s win.

The Lakeridge football team is off to another 2-0 start this season after its second straight lopsided non-league win.

The Pacers put Hillsboro away by the half, jumping out to a 46-0 lead before calling off the dogs in a 46-6 rout.

Once again Lakeridge did pretty much what it wanted to against Hillsboro and the team's defense fought off any comeback attempts.

And, for the second game in a row, the offensive star for the Pacers was Blake Dutton who notched three more touchdowns, two on pass receptions and one more on a punt return, giving him three special teams scores this year.

"He's a pretty talented kid. We wouldn't have those scores without him back there but our special teams coach has been one of our MVPs this year," coach Tom Smythe said.

Lakeridge was stopped on its first drive when a fourth down play in Hillsboro territory came up short.

But the Pacers quickly regained possession and marched down the field capped off by a 10-yard pass from Tom Knecht to Dutton.

The team was then backed up on its extra point attempt because of a penalty and opted to go for two, leading to Knecht hitting Madison Pihl on an 18-yard two-point conversion.

After another defensive stop, Hillsboro kicked a short punt that Dutton was able to return for a score and the Pacers were off and running.

Dutton notched another touchdown reception in the opening quarter and Nick Sotta added a 29-yard field goal as the Pacers put the game away early.

"I honestly thought we were a little more efficient on offense against North Medford. We were a little sloppy. Sometimes when you're scoring easily you can get a little complacent and that's natural," Smythe said.

Defensively Lakeridge was stellar against Hillsboro, using its speed to thwart big plays.

"We made an effort to pursue better and to run to the ball. I think that's an area where we got a lot better from our first game," Smythe said.

Lakeridge got big plays in the secondary from Sotta at cornerback who continues to be a bright spot for the team as well as Pihl at linebacker.

"Madison's a guy who we've used at receiver a bit and since there's a log jam there he asked to move to linebacker and our coaches were wondering why we didn't have him there earlier," Smythe said.

Pihl had one of four Lakeridge interceptions in the game as the team hounded Hillsboro for most of the game.

Spencer Russell pulled down a touchdown catch from Knecht early in the fourth quarter and Dylan Gaar added a rushing touchdown and a receiving touchdown as Lakeridge proved nearly impossible to stop in the first two quarters.

The Pacers slowed the game down in the second half and used more clock. Hillsboro would score its lone touchdown in the closing minutes of the game.

Lakeridge has been extremely impressive in its first two contests but knows that its toughest tests are approaching.

"Looking at the schedule we broke it into thirds. These first three games are about building a foundation. Then the next three are Aloha, Clackamas and Lake Oswego which is kind of the meat of our schedule and by the last three we'll know where we stand and what we need to do," Smythe said.

Lakeridge takes on North Salem at home this Friday at 7 p.m.