by: Vern Uyetake, Lake Oswego’s Zach Young looks for running room in last Friday’s TRL contest against Clackamas. To celebrate his 18th birthday, Young ran for 218 yards and five touchdowns as Lake Oswego registered a 35-21 victory.

Zach Young really knows how to celebrate a birthday.

On the night of his 18th birthday, Young ran for 218 yards and five touchdowns to lead the top-ranked Lake Oswego to a 35-21 victory over Clackamas last Friday.

The win guarantees Lake Oswego (5-0 league, 8-0 overall) at least a share of the Three Rivers League championship. In the process, the Lakers also locked up the league's No. 1 playoff seed.

'It was quite a game … but you don't average 200 yards a game without some blocking up front,' Lake Oswego coach Steve Coury said.

As usual, Young got plenty of help from his linemen, but once he broke past the line of scrimmage, the Clackamas players could do little more than wave goodbye.

'If we can get him into the (defensive) backfield, it's hard to bring him down,' Coury said. 'And if he gets into the open, it's all over.'

The teams had to wait an extra 30 minutes for the start of the game because of a lightning storm. But once the action started, the Lakers wasted little time setting the tone for the game. They scored the first two times they touched the ball - the first time on a five-yard run by Young and the second time on a 14-yard run by Young.

The second Lake Oswego touchdown was set up when a failed fake punt by the Cavaliers left the Lakers with the ball at the Clackamas 31.

The Lake Oswego offense then went stagnant for the next quarter and a half. But Clackamas had trouble taking advantage and went into the locker room with just Kyle Salgado's 28-yard field goal to show for its first-half efforts.

Salgado converted another 28-yard field goal on Clackamas' first possession of the second half to trim Lake Oswego's lead to 14-6. But the Lakers quickly regained control.

Three plays later, Young lit up the scoreboard again, this time with a 49-yard touchdown run.

After a three-and-out series by the Cavs, Young scored again. His one-yard scoring plunge capped an eight-play drive that was highlighted by a pair of 27-yard passes - one to Michael Wesner and one to Jay Matthews. That made it 28-6.

Clackamas got that touchdown back when Ryan Cook hit Ben Adler for a 37-yard scoring toss, which trimmed the deficit to 28-13 early in the fourth quarter.

But Young wasn't done yet. Two plays later, he scored again. This time it came on a 65-yard run in which he zig-zagged his way through the Clackamas secondary to avoid would-be tacklers.

The Cavs refused to give up, though. They marched 80 yards in 13 plays on their next drive to cut Lake Oswego's lead to 35-21. After eating up most of that yardage through the air, Cook ran for the final four yards on a keeper.

Cook finished the game 32 of 47 for 343 yards. Adler had 10 receptions for 108 yards, and Kyle Walkoski caught seven passes for 100 yards.

Even though Cook and his receivers had some success, the Lakers' defense managed to keep the Cavs from going for the big gains, which is the staple of Clackamas' offense.

'We were bending but not breaking,' Coury said.

'It was a good strategy. It's always good when it works,' the coach added.

With the victory, Lake Oswego easily maintain it's top spot in the statewide media poll. More importantly, the Lakers appear to be rapidly approaching their peak level, and the timing couldn't be much better.

'I think we've gotten better each week. I know we have,' Coury said. 'We're right on schedule.'

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