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Defense carries football team to win at LaSalle

Estacada opens up some postseason possibilities with the 21-14 win


by: ESTACADA NEWS: DAVID BALL - Estacada running back Alec Barstad shoves away LaSalle tackler Charlie Sliney during Fridays 21-14 win over the Falcons. MILWAUKIE — Estacada’s football team set the tone in the first half Friday and held off LaSalle Prep for a 21-14 win that vaulted the Rangers into the top half of the Tri-Valley League standings.

The Rangers defense dominated the first two quarters, forcing a fumble on the second play of the game, which lineman Nick Filaroski recovered near midfield. Estacada failed to convert the turnover into points, but did gain a quick edge in field position that it would maintain throughout the half.

Estacada punter Steven Weaver sent a kick deep into Falcons’ territory that Michael Duarte took on one hop and attempted a return. He didn’t get far. In fact, he lost ground as Estacada’s Michael Mildfelt tossed him to the turf at the 5-yard line.

Two plays later, the controversy of the first half bubbled to the surface when Rangers’ lineman Chris Smith broke into the backfield and dumped LaSalle running back Nash Lisac two yards deep in the end zone for what appeared to be a clear safety. Instead, the officials marked the ball just outside the goal line.

Still, LaSalle never got any momentum on offense.

It’s next drive died when back-to-back holding penalties and a sack by Rangers’ defensive back Willie Blankenship buried the Falcons in a 3rd-and-49.

LaSalle didn’t have a play that covered half the field and was forced to punt.

The Rangers went to a new look late in the first quarter, putting four running backs in the backfield in a formation that left the QB and receiver slots empty.

The strategy paid off when Alec Barstad broke loose for a 38-yard gain around the right side for the team’s initial first down. Barstad kept with the keepers, going 12 yards on another run that saw him drag a couple tacklers with him inside the 5-yard-line. A couple plays later, Barstad plunged 2 yards through the middle for a 7-0 halftime lead.

“We have so many good runners, one of our staples all season has been the power running game,” Estacada coach Andy Mott said.

The Rangers took a shutout into halftime when Nick Ledbury came with up a quarterback sack to force 4th-and-16 late in the second quarter. It marked the third straight possession in which the Falcons lost yardage.

The teams traded touchdowns in the second half with the Rangers getting the winning points on a 45-yard TD run by Weaver with five minutes left.

Estacada can wrap up third place in the Tri-Valley League and a road trip in next week’s play-in qualifiers with a win in Friday’s regular-season finale at home against last-place Madras.

View a photo gallery from the game at daveball.exposuremanager.com.



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