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West Linn inches closer to TRL's No. 2 seed with win over Pacers

by: Vern Uyetake, West Linn's Josh Oltman fends off Lakeridge defensive back Miles Lewis as he returns a Pacer punt for a touchdown giving the Lions an early 7-0 lead.

West Linn played far from its best game against Lakeridge on Friday but its 21-0 win locked up the Three Rivers League's second seed.

Early in the game it looked like the Lions were on pace to rout the Pacers but Lakeridge, which continues to improve as the season progresses, forced three turnovers and played solid defense for the majority of the game.

Lakeridge went three-and-out on its opening drive and was forced to punt. Josh Oltman fielded the ball and broke a handful of tackles en route to a 57-yard punt return for a touchdown.

The Pacers picked up a pair of first downs on their next drive but Oltman then picked off a third down pass and ran it back 55 yards, upping the lead to 14-0 before the West Linn offense even took a snap.

The Lions were down to their third string quarterback, sophomore Connor Kelley who played well in replacement for Logan Krellwitz, who suffered a jammed thumb on practice on Wednesday.

Lakeridge moved the ball well in the first half and had good field position after recovering a pair of West Linn fumbles. But the Pacers had a 47-yard field goal attempt blocked and a ball dropped by an open receiver in the end zone.

Lakeridge continued to drive into West Linn territory after the half thanks to runs by Chase Wippert and quarterback Ben Swinford but the Lions came up with stops when they needed them.

Midway through the fourth quarter, long receptions by Oltman and Cal Keizer moved the Lions into scoring range and Michael Fay eventually hauled in an eight-yard touchdown catch for the game's final score.

West Linn will take on Putnam next week while Lakeridge hosts Milwaukie.