Pacer football ends year with tough loss
The Lakeridge football team's tumultuous season ended last Friday with one of the most exciting games of the year.
Unfortunately for the Pacers, the outcome didn't go their way. In a back and forth battle, a late field goal by Milwaukie and an untimely fumble pushed the Mustangs to a 30-28 victory.
The loss ended Lakeridge's season at 1-8 which was, frankly, one game better than it would have taken for coach Ian Lamont to have deemed the year a success.
'If we went 0-9 it meant we got through the season. We were very competitive in our last three games and that's a tribute to the coaches we had,' Lamont said.
Still there was some disappointment following the game as the Pacers felt they let another potential victory slip away.
'I thought we were the better team so that was a little discouraging,' Lamont said.
Lakeridge gained more yards than Milwaukie did but a 3-0 disadvantage in the turnover battle and eight penalties proved to be crucial.
Neither team tried to disguise its intentions on offense. The game was an old-fashioned slugfest that featured 81 combined rushing attempts and only 24 passes, 17 of which were thrown by the Pacers.
In fact, the Mustangs only completed one pass all game for 11 yards.
It didn't matter though as running back Patrick Kindred provided all the offense Milwaukie would need, racking up 232 yards on 19 carries. He also scored all three of the team's offensive touchdowns in the game.
'We knew if we could stop their run we'd win but their guys came to play. Give them credit,' Lamont said. The Pacers were also missing three of their top defensive lineman due to sickness and injuries.
Lakeridge's running game wasn't too shabby either as Chase Wippert, who has provided a good percentage of the team's offense for much of the year, had the best game of his career, running for 193 yards on 20 carries and scoring three touchdowns of his own.
'Chase is one of the best backs in the league and is pound for pound one of the toughest guys you'll see,' Lamont said. The largest lead by either team in the game was just seven points in what was a back-and-forth struggle.
Milwaukie scored first, late in the opening quarter on a 27-yard run by Kindred.
The Pacers answered with a good drive that ended in a four-yard touchdown run by Wippert.
Kindred scored his second touchdown of the night two minutes before the half on a seven-yard scramble but the Pacers were able to seize momentum heading into the half.
Lakeridge marched down the field in a minute and a half and James Taylor was able to tie the game on a four-yard touchdown run with 22 seconds to play in the second quarter.
The game stayed tied for nearly all of the third stanza until Wippert broke a 50-yard run to give the Pacers their first lead of the game.
Not to be left out, Kindred broke one of his longest runs of the night a few minutes later, scoring from 44 yards out.
Milwaukie then came up with the big play it needed to take back control of the game. Kenny Spencer came up with an interception and ran it back 30 yards for a touchdown. However, the ensuing extra point try failed.
Once again the Pacers were undaunted and moved efficiently down the field. Wippert scored his final touchdown of the night on a 10-yard run with just over six minutes to play in the game and John Martin's extra point gave the Pacers a 28-27 lead.
Milwaukie continued to pound the ball on the ground and got back into scoring range quickly. Lakeridge came up with a stop just inside the 20-yard line and the Mustangs opted to try a go-ahead field goal. Jordan Walker redeemed himself after the missed extra point and booted the ball through the uprights from 36 yards away.
But Lakeridge still wasn't finished. The Pacers moved past midfield and were nearing field goal range themselves when the Mustangs stripped quarterback Ben Swinford on a scramble and came up with the loose ball.
'We've only attempted one field goal all year but I was convinced that we were going to be able to run out the clock and kick the game winner,' Lamont said.
The Pacers will lose just 12 seniors and were competitive at the freshman level this year which Lamont believes bodes well for the future.
'There's no place to go but up. We had a number of sophomores see significant playing time and we know there are other guys with football experience who already want to come out next year,' Lamont said.