Lakers pass non-league test 48-21 over Sprague
Lake Oswego quarterback Jack Lomax threw for six touchdowns and 324 yards Friday, picking apart Sprague on 18 of 22 passing in a dominating 48-21 win.
But in a seemingly disparaging loss, two good things happened for Sprague.
The first was off the field in the closing minutes when McKay lost to McNary, ensuring that the Olympians would be in the postseason.
The other enjoyable aspect of the nonleague game, which matched up the Three Rivers League with the Central Valley Conference, was the first drive. And it's a good thing, because the Olympians had plenty of time to savor it.
Sprague (3-6) drove 89 yards in a methodical, 17-play (19 if you include plays negated by penalties) touchdown drive that consumed nearly a full quarter (9:08). And at the end of it all - on a 6-yard touchdown run by Brian Conklin - Sprague led the state's top-ranked team, 7-0, with 2:44 left in the first quarter.
'Our strategy was to chip away at the defense,' Sprague quarterback Jeff Kidd said, 'and keep Lomax off the field.'
After about a quarter, the strategy had been nearly flawless.
Unfortunately for Sprague, Lomax needed just a minute to get warmed up.
The state's top passer - who came into the game with 1,858 yards and 22 touchdowns on 105-of-160 passing with just one interception - came out firing on Lake Oswego's first seven plays.
He hit on six of those passes, moving the Lakers 63 yards in 1:02.
His 8-yard touchdown pass to Will Storey with 1:40 left in the first quarter didn't quite give the Lakers the lead thanks to a missed extra point.
But it wasn't long before Lake Oswego (8-0) moved ahead for good.
After an interception by Kidd on Sprague's next possession, Lomax tossed a screen pass to Nick Rulli for a 16-yard touchdown, culminating a 42-yard, four-play drive that included three runs - including two by Lomax for 23 yards.
After a Sprague punt on the next possession, Lake Oswego drove 73 yards on five plays to get into the end zone again on a 31-yard Lomax pass to Rulli. That gave the Lakers a 28-7 lead less than a minute before halftime.
On the drive, Lomax was nearly perfect, save for an intentional spike to stop the clock, going 4 for 5 on the drive for 73 yards.
'They play a defense a lot of teams in our league play … with them trying to bring pressure,' Lomax said. 'But we found ways to get around that pressure. I feel, week-by-week, we're getting better at it.'
The only time Lake Oswego was stopped in the first half came on a fumble by Storey, who lost possession near the Sprague goal line at the end of a 19-yard pass play. Sprague recovered in the end zone for a touchback.
'We just didn't execute,' Kidd said. 'Lake Oswego is a really good team. And Lomax is a great quarterback.'
The dagger could have been a number of plays. But the play that summed up things best came on the second snap of the second half (Sprague was called for pass interference on Lake Oswego's first play of the half).
Lomax dropped back, calmly launched a pass downfield for Rulli.
The perfectly thrown ball was collected in stride and run into the end zone for a 46-yard touchdown.
That gave the Lakers a 35-7 lead with 11:43 left in the third quarter.
The game also was a rematch of the 2004 state championship game, which Sprague won.
Lake Oswego takes on Oregon City next week. The Pioneers have only one loss in league this year to West Linn meaning that Friday's game will be for the league championship.
With a win, the Lakers will clinch the league championship as well as a first-round bye in the playoffs.