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Roseburg road trip lies ahead as LO advances

by: VERN UYETAKE Jack Andeson looks to break a tackle during a long kick-off return to open the second half of last week’s game.

There was no letdown for the Lakers following a bye and a win over Reynolds that felt very much like another bye. Lake Oswego jumped on a strong West Salem team early and cruised to a 49-28 victory on Friday, setting up a tough road trip to Roseburg for the quarterfinals.

Much of the first quarter was played through thick snow which thinly covered the field before letting up.

It took the Titans a few series to warm up and that was more than enough time for Lake Oswego to take control of the game.

West Salem started the game conservatively with six straight running plays, the longest of which went for three yards, leading to a pair of quick three-and-out possessions.

Meanwhile, Lake Oswego took to the air on its first play, with Alex Matthews hitting Evan Scheurlein for a first down.

Matthews would then throw a perfect pass on the run to Zach Walen for a 28-yard strike which set up a three-yard scoring run by Steven Long.

"Our quarterback doesn't get enough credit. We don't throw the ball 40 times a game but the season he's had with only two interceptions all year is incredible. He's done it all year and people take him for granted," Coury said.

On the Lakers' next possession, Long broke a 28-yard run to set up another score which put the team up 14-0 in the opening minutes of play.

"We started off quickly on offense and put points up and this team can do that," Long said.

West Salem responded on its next possession, picking up big chunks of yardage through the air as it went 80 yards for a score late in the quarter.

However, Lake Oswego's offense was clicking in the first half and big runs from Long helped the team score on its third straight possession to open the game.

The Titans hung around though, marching down the field on another long drive to keep the pressure on Lake Oswego.

Two big runs from quarterback Brenden Shaffer led to a 15-yard touchdown by Brenden Hanson. The Titans would attempt a two-point conversion that came up short, making it 21-13.

The Lakers were driving towards a fourth straight score, getting down to the 21-yard line of West Salem before a fumble gave the Titans the ball trailing by just one score.

But Lake Oswego's defense dug in again, forcing another three-and-out.

The Lakers took over at their own 37-yard line late in the half and, after finding Long for a 15-yard catch, Matthews hit Stevie Coury for a 43-yard reception down to the three-yard line.

Long scored two plays later, making it 28-13 with just 53 seconds left in the half.

A facemask by the Lakers gave West Salem good field position for a late score. But a sack by Austin Faunce put an end to the drive.

"I thought our defensive line was great. (West Salem) has a few big guys up front that are very physical," Coury said.

Lake Oswego opened the second half with the ball and Jack Anderson returned the kickoff to West Salem's 26-yard line.

Then, on the first play from scrimmage of the half, Long broke multiple tackles for another score as Lake Oswego started to pull away.

West Salem would answer with a long scoring run and convert on its two-point attempt but the Lakers made sure they wouldn't get any closer.

Lake Oswego recovered West Salem's onside kick attempt and marched down the field again, culminating with a two-yard touchdown by J.B. Holmes.

The Titans tried to hang on but Alec Torkelson ended West Salem's next drive with an interception.

The Titans simply couldn't stop Lake Oswego when they needed to and the Lakers put the game away on their next drive.

An unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on the Titans and a 35-yard catch by Coury let to another scoring run by Long early in the fourth quarter, making it 49-21.

West Salem would add one more score in the closing seconds of the game as Lake Oswego advanced.

The Lakers had been rooting for No. 2 seed South Medford to upend Roseburg, which would have led to another home game for the Lakers on Friday.

However, the Indians dismantled the Panthers in a surprise and now the Lakers have a long road trip ahead of them over the holiday weekend.

Roseburg has always possessed a hefty home field advantage and has been playing solid football recently.

"We know any team can be beat. We've got to show up and be ready," Long said.

The Indians forced nine turnovers in knocking off Lakeridge in the opening round. Its only two losses this season have been to No. 2 Sheldon and South Medford in the regular season.