Lake Oswego avoids the letdown
Last Friday was the definition of a trap game for Lake Oswego. The team was coming off one of the most emotional victories in the program's history, besting top-ranked juggernaut Jesuit 36-33 and suddenly found itself on top of world.
But just six days stood between the Lakers and Clackamas, a team expected to be a top competitor in the Three Rivers League this year.
A sluggish start or a lack of focus could cost the team dearly in its first game of the season that truly mattered.
As it turned out, coach Steve Coury's fears were alleviated roughly 66 seconds into the game.
'I'm really proud of them. Coming off of that win and playing this well is great,' Coury said.
In fairness, the Lakers' offense did get off to a slower start than it had in its previous two games. Against both Juneau-Douglas and Jesuit, Lake Oswego scored on its first play from scrimmage. This time, it took two plays.
That's when Jack Lomax pitched a short shovel pass to tailback Tyson Coleman and the sophomore proceeded to outrun the entire Clackamas defense for a 73-yard score.
'It's really clicking and the quarterback makes it go. We have great skill kids too,' Coury said.
Then, on Clackamas' third offensive play, quarterback Ben Parsons was picked off by Micah Hatfield at midfield.
It took Lake Oswego just three more plays to get in the end zone. This time Coleman lined up as a receiver and Lomax threw to him on the left sideline. Despite good coverage, Coleman came up with the ball over the defender and got into the end zone again for a 30-yard score.
'I love playing receiver. It's great to get out of the backfield and do something else,' Coleman said.
Lake Oswego's first extra point attempt failed as did its two-point conversion attempt which made the score 12-0.
Clackamas finally found its footing and mounted a solid 15-play drive that went 67 yards, culminating in a two-yard run by Trevor Liske.
The Cavaliers did run the ball well for much of the evening but Lake Oswego never gave up the big play.
'Our defensive line played extremely well. We had Josh Kennedy playing defensive end and he did a great job and Blake Heim and Jeff Kremer are both big time players,' Coury said.
With Clackamas back in the game, trailing 12-6, Lake Oswego's quick-strike offense got back to work.
After an incomplete pass, Lomax looked for Will Storey over the middle. The pass hit Storey and the ball bounced straight up but the junior kept his balance and made the reception.
He then rambled down the field for a 60-yard gain. Two plays later, Nick Rulli caught a 10-yard pass from Lomax and the score was 18-6.
Virtually everything broke right for the Lakers in the first half. Kasey Closs recorded Lake Oswego's second interception of the game on Clackamas' next drive but the Cavaliers appeared to stop the Lakers' on just three plays.
However, on the punt, the Cavaliers were flagged for a personal foul, giving Lake Oswego the ball back and a first down.
The Lakers were quick to take advantage of their good fortune. Hatfield pulled down a 22-yard pass and then Coleman scored his third touchdown of the day on a two-yard run. Hatfield caught the two-point conversion attempt to make the score 26-6.
'Our line is getting better every week. It's young and it keeps improving,' Coleman said.
Finally, after stopping Clackamas on a three-and-out, the Lakers scored again. This time it was Hatfield from 25 yards out with just over four minutes to play. He also caught another two-point pass to up the lead to 34-6.
Lake Oswego scored touchdowns on its first five possession of the game.
The Cavaliers moved the ball into Lake Oswego territory on its final possession of the half and nearly got into the end zone when a deep pass was dropped by a wide open receiver at the five-yard line.
The Lakers eventually stopped Clackamas on a fourth-down attempt to end the half.
Lake Oswego took it easy in the second half and was stopped for the first time. But the defense was terrific all night.
The Lakers backed the Cavaliers up on a pair of sacks by Kremer and Kennedy. Heim also had an outstanding all-around game on defense.
After a short punt, a good return and a facemask penalty, the Lakers got the ball at the Clackamas 16-yard line late in the third quarter and, on third down, Cole Naone caught Lomax's fifth touchdown pass of the night from 11 yards out and the score was 41-6.
Clackamas would score on its next possession but never cut into the lead any further.
The Lakers got down to the goal line once more but a pair of delay of game penalties pushed them back and they gave the ball back to Clackamas at the eight-yard line.
Kasey Closs ended the game by making his second interception of the night.
The Lakers firmly established themselves as the top team in the state and will take on Lakeridge in the Civil War game on Friday.