For a while, it looked like Lake Oswegans would be shut out in this year's Les Schwab Bowl.
Although the North squad dominated the game, winning 42-14, none of the scoring had come from a Pacer or a Laker as the clock ticked down. But, as the North team was mounting its final drive of the night, it reached the 2-yard line. Then the play came into the huddle. It called for a hand-off to Lake Oswego's Kyle Lavender.
'That play was surprising. I don't think we practiced that at all during the week,' Lavender said.
Even more surprising was the fact that, in Lavender's entire high school career, he had never taken a hand-off before. But he made the most of his opportunity, rolling off tackle into the end zone for the game's final tally.
'It was great. I'd been looking forward to this game ever since I knew I was going to be in it,' Lavender said.
It capped an impressive night for the North squad and for the three Pacers and Lakers involved. Lavender caught his team's first pass and Lakeridge's Taylor Young was used in a number of different schemes. Young caught six passes, most of which were screen or slant routes that allowed him to turn up field.
'With Lakeridge I was our outside receiver but I was lined up in the slot in this game most of the time, which was fun,' Young said.
Young also was used in a pair of option plays, taking a pitch from Gregory Carradine for two big gains. The second ended with Young taking a big hit at the 3-yard line and set up the North's third score.
'Yeah I took a real good hit there but it was cool to do a little rushing,' Young said.
The key to the game was the North's dominant offensive and defensive lines and Lakeridge's Sean Howley was a big part of that effort. Howley and the rest of the line protected the North's three quarterbacks all evening so much so that Connor Kavanaugh, after receiving the game's MVP trophy, dedicated it to the linemen.
The majority of the game was fairly sloppy with multiple turnovers. In the opening quarter, the North moved the ball well but struggled to get into the end zone. And the team's defense was dominant, not giving up a first down until the second quarter. Early in that period, the North got on the board on a five-yard scramble by Cavanaugh.
After a fumbled punt gave the ball to the South two possessions later, the team mustered its first touchdown, tying the score. But the North wasn't down for long. With just under two and a half minutes to play in the half, Bean found Elvis Akpla who made a juggling catch and scored, giving the North a 14-7 advantage at the break.
The North blew the game open in the third quarter. On it's opening possession, O'Day scored on a three-yard run. Minutes later, Mychal Zito hit Ricky Cookman in the end zone.
Donte Savage pulled down an interception for the North on the South's first play after falling behind 28-7 and, just two minutes later, Bean found Marcus Mathews for an eight-yard score, virtually putting the game away. Blown coverage led to the South's second score of the game late in the third quarter but North's defense was too tough, preventing a rally.
Central Catholic lineman Kevin Frahm was particularly tough to stop, tallying a pair of sacks and a number of tackles that went for losses.
This fall, Lavender will attend Western Oregon University and will be used as a U-back, a versatile player who will see time as a tight end in some schemes and a fullback in others. Young will attend College of the Siskyous with the hope of signing later on with either Portland State or Oregon State University. Howley is currently undecided on a college but will likely play football at the next level.