The Rams score on a handful of big plays to run away from the Pacers

The Lakeridge football team's season came to an end last Friday at Hillsboro Stadium against Central Catholic. Playing without the services of nearly 10 varsity starters due to a barrage of injuries, the Pacers had limited in options in formulating an attack against the No. 2 ranked Rams.

A rash of mistakes and turnovers allowed Central Catholic to blow the game open early as the Rams went up 54-7 by the half.

At that point, the coaches and officials opted to play shorter quarters in the second half to move the game along in a 61-14 defeat.

“The head referee came up to me at halftime and asked if we wanted to speed up the second half and I didn't have a problem with that. You can't fault our kids. They went out and played but we basically had a JV team on the field,” coach Tom Smythe said.

Lakeridge's strategy against Central Catholic was simple. The Pacers simply wanted to slow the game down, eat as much clock as possible and hope to break a few big plays.

“It was a good game plan but we made the same mistakes we've made all year,” Smythe said.

However, the Pacers lost four fumbles in the game and gave up a pair of special teams touchdowns, allowing Central Catholic to put up points in a hurry. Ironically, Lakeridge actually had more total yardage than the Rams, gaining 257 yards of offense to Central Catholic's 243.

But Central Catholic got plenty of big plays.

The first score of the game came after Lakeridge was stopped on offense and forced to punt. Dallin Leavitt returned the punt 53 yards for a touchdown and a two-point conversion made it 8-0.

On offense, Lakeridge kept things simple, primarily attacking on the ground with Nick Yun and back-up quarterback Mark Grothe.

Grothe would only attempt one pass in the game and, in keeping the ball on the ground, Lakeridge tried to take as much time off the clock as possible.

After another stop, Central Catholic scored against quickly. Then, on Lakeridge's next possession, a bad snap went out the back of the end zone for a safety. On the ensuing free kick, Aaron Washington returned the ball for a touchdown to make it 24-0 at the end of the opening quarter.

After falling behind 31-0, Lakeridge got its biggest play of the game when Yun broke a 74-yard run for a touchdown.

Central Catholic would counter with three touchdowns in the final seven minutes of the half, returning two fumbles for scores in that period.

With the clock moving quickly in the second half, Central Catholic scored once more midway through the third quarter. Lakeridge scored the game's final touchdown on a short run by Yun to complete the scoring.

It was a tough end to a tough season for the Pacers whose lack of depth hurt the team this year.

“We have a good nucleus and have some skill and some size coming back but the reality is we're a school of 900 kids going up against schools of 2000 and our numbers are a big concern” Smythe said.

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