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Lions sputter on offense against LO

by: VERN UYETAKE West Linn’s Jarrod Howard looks to haul in a pass along the Lake Oswego sideline in last week’s 28-0 loss to the Lakers.

West Linn knew it wanted to run the ball, control the clock and keep the ball away from Lake Oswego's powerful offense last Friday.

And Lake Oswego was more than happy to play along. The Lakers pounded the ball on the ground themselves and stymied West Linn's ground game better than nearly anyone this year, rolling to a 28-0 win.

The Lakers' defense was relentless, containing the Lions on the ground and getting pressure in the backfield all evening when West Linn was forced to throw.

The Lions got off to a rough start, going three-and-out on their opening drive and then giving the ball to Lake Oswego on their own 42-yard line after a short punt.

Kalan Hoedl recorded a sack to force third-and-14 but Alex Matthews converted with a 16-yard pass to Stevie Coury, setting up a 16-yard touchdown run from Steven Long.

West Linn moved the ball into Laker territory on its next drive, getting a 35-yard pass from Logan Ems to Jarrod Howard but the Lions moved backwards from there and were forced to punt.

The Lions caught a break after being stopped on their next drive. Marcus Campbell's punt was muffed by Coury and West Linn recovered at the Lake Oswego 25-yard line.

But, again, West Linn moved backwards, hindered by a fumbled pitch and a penalty. That set up a 48-yard field goal attempt that missed wide.

To the Lions' credit, the team's defense played well in the game and kept the team in the game into the second half.

Sam Clark ended the Lakers' drive with a sack but the Lions continued to struggled moving the ball.

West Linn managed to hold Lake Oswego to its lowest scoring output of the season and gave up less than 300 yards of offense against one of the better attacks in the state.

Late in the second quarter Lake Oswego mounted another drive, milking the remainder of the first-half clock and capitalizing with a seven-yard touchdown pass with 37 seconds to play.

Lake Oswego started to ice the game early in the second half. Runs from Long and a big catch by Coury set up a one-yard touchdown to make it 21-0.

Then, on the second play of West Linn's next drive, Ems was picked off and the ball was returned 19 yards for another score.

The Lions couldn't get anything going offensively in the second half either as Lake Oswego continued to perform well against West Linn's big front line.

West Linn made a switch to quarterback Andy Kallien in the second half but didn't have much more success getting into scoring range.

Mason Finnerty managed to rack up 93 yards on 15 carries for the Lions but, as a team, West Linn was held under 200 yards of offense.

With the loss the Lions slipped just one spot in the OSAA power rankings from first to second place and have already clinched a first-round bye heading into next week's regular season finale against Clackamas.

The Cavaliers are winless in league this year.

The loss was just the Lions' second of the season and broke a five-game winning streak the team had going dating back to a preseason defeat against West Salem.

So far this year the Lions haven't played a single team outside of the top-25 in the current power rankings, the lowest being Centennial at No. 24.

That will change next week as the Cavaliers are currently ranked No. 35.