Lakers overcome frightening injury
A scary incident on the field took precedence over anything else in last week's football game against Clackamas and Lake Oswego.
Midway through the second quarter, the Lakers' Grant Taylor took a hard hit and was briefly knocked unconscious. He convulsed on the field in the moments after the collision in front of a silent stadium as trainers rushed to his side.
Taylor soon regained consciousness and was stabilized but he remained on the field for nearly 45 minutes before eventually being taken away by ambulance.
Taylor was checked out and it was determined that he sustained a bad concussion. He is expected to make a full recovery but the incident shook up players, coaches and fans on both sides.
"It's lucky that everything turned out to be fine but it definitely had a big effect on the game and on the kids," Lake Oswego coach Steve Coury said.
Coury admitted that the team's 42-21 win was probably the Lakers' worst performance of the season but the team had many things working against them.
Lake Oswego was coming off an emotional win in a rivalry game over Lakeridge, had a shortened week of practice, had another huge game with West Linn looming and saw one of its players carted off the field mid-game.
Still, the Lakers were able to go about their business in a workmanlike win over the struggling Cavaliers.
Lake Oswego jumped out to an early 21-0 lead after the first quarter and was essentially able to put things on autopilot.
Steven Long got the scoring started on a nine-yard touchdown run.
Clackamas did well to prevent big plays from Lake Oswego but the Lakers were still able to move the ball and control the clock.
"We ran the ball well at times and (quarterback) Alex (Matthews) did a nice job of just taking what the defense was giving him,"
A seven-yard touchdown pass from Matthews to Stevie Coury made it 14-0 and the defense extended the lead later in the quarter when Jasper Yildirum picked off Cade Wilkins and went 34 yards for a touchdown.
"I thought the slack was really picked up by our defense. We made some big plays on that side of the ball and on special teams," Coury said.
The Lakers hurt themselves during the game with three turnovers and some ill-timed penalties but Clackamas never really threatened to get back in the contest.
"We just weren't there mentally all week. With our schedule you kind of expect to have a down week at some point but we fought through it," Coury said.
The Cavaliers got on the board in the second quarter but Lake Oswego responded with another score before the half on a one-yard keeper by Matthews to make it 28-7 heading into the locker room.
Lake Oswego was understandably rattled in the second half following Taylor's injury and struggled to get back into rhythm.
Clackamas scored again on a long touchdown pass, cutting the lead to 28-14 but that is as close as the game would get.
A 26-yard touchdown from Matthews to Coury early in the fourth quarter effectively put the game away and the Laker defense got on the board again on Kyle Cameron's 15-yard fumble return.
Lake Oswego will now gear up for its most meaningful game of the year so far. There are still two games left in the season but the Lakers' game against West Linn will determine the league champion as the Lions are also unbeaten in league.
"It's like a playoff game with a lot on the line. It's another big game for us and this one really means something," Coury said.
Lake Oswego and West Linn are currently listed at No. 1 and No. 2 respectively in OSAA's latest RPI rankings.
West Linn features a power running game that will likely look to control the clock with tailback Mason Finnerty and keep the ball away from the Lakers' potent offense.
"We expect they'll go with a lot of two tight end sets and run right at us," Coury said.