Lake Oswego coach Steve Coury realistically would have been pleased with a 2-2 start to the season for his football team. 3-1 and he would have been elated. 4-0? It was difficult for him to imagine the team would still be unbeaten given the opposition it's faced.
Now the challenge becomes keeping the team's start in perspective.
"Ultimately we know these games really don't mean anything. We're 0-0 now and now the games count," Coury said following his team's latest win, a 49-21 shellacking of Jesuit.
At the same time, it's difficult to look past what the Lakers have done so far as they get ready to open league play. Not only have they beaten a pair of top-10 teams in Oregon and one of the best in Washington, they've done it in a manner that showcases the team's versatility. And the scary thing is, there's still plenty of room for improvement.
"We looked at the film from the Jesuit game and, honestly, we didn't play that great. We missed assignments on the offensive line and the defense didn't tackle very well. There were some glaring issues and so when you come away from a game like that knowing you can get better that's a plus," Coury said.
As has been the case for the Lakers for much of the season, the team fell behind again early.
A pair of fumbles gave Jesuit the ball twice deep in Lake Oswego territory and the Crusaders capitalized with a pair of scores.
The Lakers appeared to be headed for a 21-0 deficit when Jesuit marched down to the goal line on its next possession but the Crusaders fumbled on the one-yard line.
"I was really proud of the guys. I never sensed any kind of panic from them," Coury said.
The game turned on that play. Lake Oswego moved the ball away from its goal line before punting but then came up with a defensive stop.
Alex Matthew then found Stevie Coury for a 60-yard score early in the second quarter.
Then the floodgates opened. Jesuit kept almost exclusively to the ground and the Lakers' defense dug in.
Lake Oswego tied the game on a 35-yard pass from Matthews to Coury and would take the lead late in the half on another big pass play, this time with Matthews hitting Coury for a 72-yard score.
"Stevie's a good route runner and he's finding ways to get open. He's getting talked about for the big plays but Alex has done a nice job getting everyone the ball," coach Coury said.
The Crusaders were determined to not let Lake Oswego's running game beat them, loading up the box to contain Steven Long who exploded in a record-breaking performance against Skyline last week.
And the Lakers were more than happy to roll with what Jesuit was showing them.
The Crusaders continued to load up against the run in the second half and Matthews continued to make them pay.
Matthews hit Grant Taylor for a three-yard score to up the Lakers' lead and then connected with tight end Zach Whalen from 42 yards out.
"We figured Jesuit would try to stop Steven and we weren't going to keep pounding our heads against the wall. We're a pretty versatile team and (Jesuit) didn't change what it was doing. Alex has been all that we thought he could be and it's impressive how he's handling himself," Coury said.
Matthews virtually put the game away early in the fourth quarter, finding Coury once more for a 53-yard score.
For the night, Matthew was 15-for-23 for 338 yards and Coury hauled in six catches for 243 yards and four scores.
Lake Oswego's running game wasn't exactly shut down either. Long ran for 68 yards on 17 carries and, as a team, the Lakers rushed for more than 100 yards.
Matthews capped his night by running in for a score on a 12-yard keeper, giving Lake Oswego an astounding 49 unanswered points.
Jesuit would tack on one more score late in the game but the night belonged to Lake Oswego.
Defensively, Jack Anderson recorded an interception in his fourth consecutive game for the Lakers.
Lake Oswego now opens up league play against a 1-3 Canby team that is still very dangerous. The Cougars have lost to three strong teams and will be eager for a breakout victory after dropping their league opener against West Linn last week.