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Lakers knock off another tough preseason opponent

by: Miles Vance, Lake Oswego’s swarming defense played a key role in the Lakers’ 21-17 non-league victory at Southridge last Friday night. On this play, LO’s (from left) Garrett Cook, Billy Lee, Jeff Kremer and Matt Tellam put the clamps on Southridge quarterback Kellen Mastrud.

In a way, it's like the Lake Oswego football team started its season with the playoffs.

For the second week in a row, the Lakers beat a tough non-league opponent last Friday and once again it wasn't easy. This time, Lake Oswego registered a hard-fought 21-17 victory over Southridge, a team that beat the Lakers twice last year including once in the state semifinals.

In the opening week of the season, Lake Oswego had to rally from a 21-point deficit to beat a West Salem team that is favored to win the Valley League. Next up is Friday's home game against two-time defending state champion Jesuit.

It's probably the most brutal non-league schedule in the state, but that's the way Lake Oswego head coach Steve Coury likes it.

'We've still got some things to correct,' Coury said after his team's win over Southridge, 'but we're 2-0, so I'm happy.'

The Lakers probably made last Friday's victory a little harder than it needed to be. They fumbled the ball away once, plus they dropped a pass in the end zone and dropped another ball at the Skyhawks' 12-yard line on a fourth-down play.

'So we had some opportunities to some more points,' Coury said.

Because of those missed opportunities, Coury said he would give his team a 'C' for an overall grade. But the defensive line and the secondary played much better than that, the coach added.

'The defensive line is getting better and better, which is a huge plus,' he said.

In the defensive backfield, Kyle Hayes and Jay Matthews both had outstanding games. Matthews, who batted down four passes, also got accolades for catching a touchdown pass on offense.

'It was the kind of game we expected him to have,' Coury said.

That seven-yard pass from Jack Lomax to Matthews gave the Lakers the lead for good at 14-10 in the second quarter.

Lake Oswego then scored its final TD of the game on a two-yard run by Zach Young. That score came moments after Southridge had turned the ball over on a botched punt snap early in the third quarter.

That touchdown put Lake Oswego ahead 21-10. Then it was up to the defense to hold on, and it did.

Southridge did manage a late score on a 20-yard pass from Trevor Harman to Mitch Mathews, which trimmed the Lakers' lead to 21-17. Lake Oswego then to recover an onside kick with 30 seconds remaining to preserve the victory.

Young finished the game with 131 yards rushing on 25 carries. He also scored two touchdowns. In his first two games of the season, Young has 365 yards rushing and six touchdowns.

Lomax also had a big game, completing 11 of 17 passes for 199 yards.

'He was probably the most improved guy on the team. He really came of age,' Coury said. 'He would have been even better if we hadn't dropped the ball.'

Things won't get any easier for the Lakers when they take on Jesuit, which has out-scored its first two opponents by a combined 120-6 score.

'I think our guys are looking forward to it,' Coury said of Friday's game. 'It's a good way to find out where we are.'

However, since it's a non-league game, the outcome will only affect each team's standing in the polls.

'No matter what happens, Jesuit is still the champions until someone beats them in November or December,' the coach said.