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Skyhawks fall short against Lincoln

Southridge is tied at 20-20 before losing 27-20 at Jeld-Wen on Friday
by: Miles Vance INTO THE OPEN — Southridge’s Maleke Nathman makes yardage against Lincoln on Friday.

PORTLAND - Southridge was right there.

The Skyhawks, facing Lincoln at Jeld-Wen Field on Friday afternoon, traded haymakers and roundhouses with Cardinals for three quarters of their non-league game.

But when the fourth quarter arrived, Southridge did not. The Skyhawks came up short on all three of their fourth-quarter series while Lincoln cashed in once, and the Cardinals used that edge to escape with a 27-20 win over Southridge.

The loss dropped Southridge's non-league record to 0-2 while Lincoln improved to 1-1.

'We just didn't quite get done what we planned,' said Southridge senior lineman Nathan Leddige, who helped his team rack up 164 yards on the ground on 38 rushing attempts. 'We still came out and tried hard. It just didn't turn out.'

'We've just got to make plays, obviously. That was a big part today,' said Southridge junior receiver Kevin McClean, who finished with four catches for 63 yards. 'We should have won this game.'

The Skyhawks looked like they'd do just that early on. They busted off a 64-yard completion from Reza Aleaziz to Justin Calo on their first play from scrimmage, then scored two plays later when Aleaziz connected with Derek Westhora on a play-action pass over the middle from 11 yards out with 6 minutes, 57 seconds to go in the first period.

But Lincoln answered on the ensuing series with a 23-yard Alex McPhee field goal, then got a quick defensive stop and came back with a long drive for its first touchdown. On that drive, Lincoln marched 84 yards in nine plays, with backup quarterback Johnny Williams going 3-for-3 for 60 yards along the way, including the 26-yard scoring strike over the middle to Kevin Sampson to take a 10-3 lead.

Southridge misfired on its next series too, and Lincoln tacked on another McPhee field goal - this one from 32 yards out - to lead 13-6 with 5:01 left in the first half.

Not to be outdone, the Skyhawks responded right away, first getting a 36-yard kickoff return from Calo, and six plays later, an 11-yard Aleaziz-to-Brandon Brezic scoring pass that tied the game at 13-13 with 2:36 in the half.

It was the Cardinals who struck first in the second half, though, stopping Southridge after one first down, then hitting a big play of their own on second down. Facing a second-and-one from their own 19-yard line, Mike Ferguson took a pitch from Koleman Vance, broke a tackle and raced 81 yards to score for a 20-13 advantage.

But Southridge came back again, this time following the lead of its 'O' line and sophomore running back Maleke Nathman. Nathman carried seven times on the following drive, piled up 60 yards and capped the series with a 2-yard TD run to make it 20-20.

'We needed to pound the ball,' Leddige said. 'That's definitely what we were trying to do.'

Lincoln then got the game-winning score at the end of a 66-yard drive that saw Williams complete 4-of-5 passes for 65 yards, the final 15 of those on a scramble and throw over the left side to Sampson for the TD with 5:07 to go.

The Skyhawks wouldn't score again, misfiring on consecutive drives on fourth downs at the Lincoln 34, and their final series ending when Aleaziz, under intense pressure, threw an interception to Vance at the 5-yard line inside the final 30 seconds.

'We shouldn't have even been in this position,' McClean said. 'We had a bunch of plays we missed that we could have made and now we've just got to come back next week.'

Next up, Southridge plays at Oregon City at 7 p.m. Friday.

To see a complete photo gallery from this game, please go to www.milesvance.exposuremanager.com.