- Matthew Sherman
- Lake Oswego Review - Sports
In one of the wildest high school football games in recent memory, Lake Oswego knocks off No. 1 Jesuit for the second consecutive year, rallying for the winning score in the final seconds of the game.
As Lake Oswego coach Steve Coury was quick to point out last Friday, his team's 36-33 win over Jesuit doesn't mean much. It doesn't improve its playoff positioning and doesn't do anything to help its quest for a state championship.
But, let's face it, a come-from-behind win in what might very well be the best high school football game played this year, in front of thousands of rabid fans over the No. 1 team in the state on national television is pretty cool.
It's easy to say that all the win will do is vault Lake Oswego to No. 1 in the polls and put an even bigger target on the Lakers from here on out. But, while the team would certainly trade this victory for a win over Sheldon last year, or Lincoln three seasons ago, or Sprague in 2004, it still has to rank as one of the best wins in the program's history.
'It's a great win and a great feeling. These are two really good programs. The great thing is that we're only going to get better. We have a good young group and I just hope we can keep our heads about us,' Coury said.
Jesuit looked every bit the way it was supposed to look for much of the game. The Crusaders, who pummeled strong teams from Tualatin and Clackamas, putting up 100 combined points in the process, ran with abandon against Lake Oswego and had a seemingly comfortable two-touchdown lead early in the fourth quarter.
But, as dominant as Jesuit was on the ground, Lake Oswego was equally impressive through the air.
After last week's 35-10 throttling of Juneau-Douglas in which Jack Lomax made the first half look like a passing combine, it was difficult to accurately assess just how good this team's air attack was.
But now, perhaps we should give the Crimson Bears more credit because the Crusaders couldn't contain Lomax or Lake Oswego's talented receiving corps much better.
Over half of Lake Oswego's 301 passing yards were racked up with slightly more than one quarter to play in the game. After struggling to get into a rhythm in the second and third quarters, Lomax suddenly found his groove just when the team needed him.
The Crusaders blanketed outside receivers Micah Hatfield and Nick Rulli after Hatfield burned the team early on the Lakers' first play from scrimmage which went for an 84-yard scoring strike.
'We noticed that their safety had been scooting up a bit and so we decided to go deep and it worked' Hatfield said.
So, with time running down on a possible comeback, the Lakers' quarterback found a new favorite target in Will Storey.
The senior caught nine of his 10 passes in the fourth quarter, including a 20-yard catch on third and 12 which eventually set up Tyson Coleman's three-yard touchdown run to cut the lead to 27-20.
That set up the play of the game. Neither team committed a turnover all night and the Lakers needed a break. They got it when Colby Reis' attempted squib kick drilled a Jesuit player in the chest and bounced back toward the Lakers. A.J. Frank easily pounced on it, giving his team possession near midfield.
Then Lomax went back to work, hitting Storey on four of six completions, the last was an 11-yard touchdown with 4:21 to play. But, as Coury is wont to do, instead of kicking an extra point for the tie, he opted for a two-point conversion attempt.
Again Lomax looked for Storey and found him wide open on a play that gave Lake Oswego a 28-27 lead, its first of the game.
'I've never been in something like this. That was one heck of a game. We were definitely a family in that game,' Storey said.
However, Jesuit was far from finished. After a good kick-off return, a 36-yard scramble by quarterback Scott Williams and a personal foul penalty gave the Crusaders first and goal.
Three plays later, Keanon Lowe scored on a reverse. The two-point conversion pass fell incomplete leaving the score 33-28 with 1:37 to play.
Lomax took the field again and quickly hit Storey and Rulli for back-to-back first downs. Following another eight-yard pass to Storey, the Lakers were faced with fourth and two with the game on the line.
Again Lomax singled out Storey and connected with him for a 16-yard catch with 38.4 seconds to play in the game.
A four-yard catch by Storey and a spike gave the Lakers third and six from the seven-yard line with 20 seconds to play.
This time Lomax looked right and found Hatfield for a seven-yard score, his second touchdown of the game. Hatfield also caught the two-point conversion pass, bumping the lead to 36-33.
'We practice the two minute drill and we always seem to get into a rhythm,' Hatfield said.
Lake Oswego then tackled Jesuit's dangerous kick returner and held the Crusaders to an 11-yard gain on the game's final play as the Laker students swarmed the field.
It was a remarkable final quarter that provided a fitting bookend to the game.
The opening seven minutes of play were also frenzied. Jesuit scored on its opening drive with efficiency in 10 plays.
The Lakers followed with Lomax's bomb to Hatfield, taking advantage of the Crusaders' secondary.
But Jesuit's Anthony Blake returned the ensuing kick-off for a touchdown.
'They have very good backs. They're dangerous and it's a team you're going to see very late in the year,' Coury said.
Jesuit scored again midway through the second quarter, upping the lead to 19-7 but, just as momentum seemed to be slipping away, Hatfield ran the kick-off back to the five-yard line, setting up a three-yard scoring run by Coleman.
Jesuit held on to its 19-13 lead at the half and then scored again midway through the third quarter on a one-yard run by Williams.
The Lakers don't have much time to rest, however as they take on one of the Three Rivers League's top teams on Friday when they travel to Clackamas.
The Cavaliers lost their first game of the season 48-28 to Jesuit but rallied for a 33-27 win most recently over a very strong Tualatin team.