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No. 1 Lakers keep zipping along

Young puts season rushing total over 1,000 yards as LO cruises to 38-8 win
by: Vern Uyetake, Lake Oswego’s Michael Wesner sheds a would-be Oregon City tackler en route to one of two touchdowns he scored in last Friday’s 38-8 victory over the Pioneers.

The Oregon City football team is definitely on the rise this season, but not to the point yet where the Pioneers can compete with the top-ranked team in the state. No. 1 Lake Oswego made that clear last Friday night with a resounding 38-8 victory over the Pioneers.

'Our kids are kind of resilient … They just come and play,' Lake Oswego coach Steve Coury said after the victory.

The key once again for the Lakers was running back Zach Young, who kept Oregon City on its heels with his slashing runs.

He picked up 136 yards on 24 carries and ran for three touchdowns. For the season, Young now has 1,057 yards rushing and 18 touchdowns. Against the Pioneers, he also added a pair of receptions for 95 yards.

'(Young) is a great high school running back,' Coury said. 'He's as good as there is … He's so quick and fast.'

The speedy Young played a big part in Lake Oswego's first score when he ran nine times (including eight times in a row) for 51 yards during the Lakers' first possession.

But Young didn't end the drive, as he often does. This time, the honor went to tight end Michael Wesner, who was left alone in the back of the end zone, where he hauled in a five-yard scoring toss from Jack Lomax.

Lake Oswego made it 14-0 with an eight-play, 64-yard drive that stretched into the second quarter. Young put the Lakers in scoring position with 30-yard catch and run on a screen pass that required a nifty move just to avoid a loss. The drive ended with Young's five-yard plunge into the end zone.

On the ensuing kickoff, Lake Oswego went for an onside kick and recovered it. But the officials awarded the ball to Oregon City, saying it hadn't traveled the required 10 yards, a claim that Coury strongly refuted.

The Pioneers then moved the ball to the Lake Oswego 1-yard line, but the Pioneers' offense stalled and wound up turning the ball over on downs. The key play came on fourth down when Danny Lu got in the face of Oregon City quarterback Ryan Versoza and forced an incomplete pass.

It was the turning point in the game, because the Lakers then drove 96 yards to push their lead to 21-0. Once again, Young had the pivotal play - a 65-yard catch on a screen play that moved the ball to the Oregon City 15. Four plays later, Young scored on a six-yard run.

Oregon City got its first score late in the first half when Young was tackled in the end zone on an ill-fated sweep play. That safety represented the first points scored against Lake Oswego since the Lakers' 21-17 victory over Southridge on Sept. 7.

Lake Oswego got those two points back when the place kicker Pat Barry kicked a 48-yard field goal as the first half expired.

Wesner and Young each scored another TD in the third quarter to pad the Lakers' lead. Wesner's second score came on a 22-yard pass from Lomax. Young followed with his third touchdown of the night on a 13-yard run. That made it 38-2.

That mix of scoring was a taste of all the options available to Lake Oswego's offense.

'Taking (Young) away is one thing teams are going to have to do,' Coury said. 'But it's not going to be easy to do because we can spread the ball (around) with the quarterback we have.'

The Oregon City offense, meanwhile, finally got on the board midway through the final period when running back Mitch Wagner broke an inside run for a 55-yard touchdown.

Wagner finished the game with 103 yards on 13 carries, but only 17 of those yards came against Lake Oswego's starting defense.

For the night, Lake Oswego (3-0 TRL, 6-0 overall) had 369 yards in total offense. Oregon City (2-1 TRL, 3-3 overall) had 228 total yards.

Now, the Lakers will face West Linn, which is also 3-0 in the TRL. The winner will not only claim sole possession of first place but have a virtual lock on the league's No. 1 playoff seed. Needless to say, Thursday's game against the Lions is a huge one.

'The meat of our schedule is now,' Coury said. 'These games are playoff games from now on.'

The Lakers will be the favorites heading into Thursday's contest, but Coury isn't sure that his team has proved anything yet.

'We're not satisfied,' he said. 'We know we're not the greatest team out there, or anything like that. So, I know we'll keep working hard and that's the best part of it.'