Pacers cant overcome nine turnovers against Roseburg
It may not be physically possible to win a football game while committing nine turnovers. But the Pacers gave it their best shot down in Roseburg in the first round of the playoffs on Friday.
Lakeridge dug itself a 35-0 lead then crawled back to make it a two-score game before more turnovers sealed the team's fate in a 42-19 defeat.
"We might have set the world record for turnovers," Lakeridge coach Tom Smythe said.
In the Pacers' five losses this season, the team committed 29 turnovers and only forced four.
"That's going to get you beat every single time. It's obviously something we'll need to address," Smythe said.
Playing in hostile territory in southern Oregon, Lakeridge could ill-afford to spot Roseburg points or field position but the visitors were generous early in the game.
The Pacers ran the opening kickoff to the Roseburg 13-yard. A seven-yard run put Lakeridge inside the 10 and the Pacers looked primed to strike an early blow.
But on the team's next play, the Indians came up with an interception.
Lakeridge would get the ball back but Roseburg would pick off another pass and return it for a touchdown.
The Pacers held their own, keeping the score at a manageable 13-0 deficit for most of the first half as the defense contained Roseburg's running game fairly effectively.
However, in the final minutes of the second quarter, three more turnovers led to three Roseburg touchdowns, making it 35-0 at the half.
Lakeridge showed a lot of pride in the second half and never hung its head.
"We've got good kids. They were frustrated at times because a combination of things hit us in the mouth but they never quit all year long," Smythe said.
The Pacers continued to battle and came up with some big plays on offense.
Spencer Russell hauled in a 25-yard touchdown pass from Mark Grothe to put Lakeridge on the board.
Then, after a defensive stop, Eric Dungey hit Brandon Loiler on a 57-yard strike to the one-yard line.
Dylan Erwin would score one play later.
Lakeridge then attempted and recovered an onsides kick and the Pacers moved down the field quickly again with Loiler pulling in a touchdown pass to make it 35-19 midway through the final period.
"All of a sudden we're saying 'Hmm, well OK. I guess stranger things have happened,'" Smythe said.
The Pacers attempted another onsides kick but Roseburg recovered this one and would march down the field for a game-clinching touchdown.
It was a tough way to close out the year as injuries derailed a fantastic start to the season.
"Without Tommy (Knecht)'s injury, it's not hard to see us still playing. We'd probably be where Oregon City's at and they have a favorable match-up in the second round," Smythe said.
But there is still plenty of positive momentum and talent within the program as Lakeridge will look to build on its success again next fall.
"All of our younger kids are very excited and ready to start hitting the weight room," Smythe said.