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West Albany outlasts Vikings

Forest Grove hangs around but the Bulldogs pull away for a 47-21 conference victory


Photo Credit: NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: KENT FRASURE
 - Forest Grove lineman Bobby Taylor jumps to deflect a pass by West Albany quarterback Keaton Corrado during last Friday's league football game.Forest Grove hung around for the better part of three quarters Friday night against West Albany, but ultimately the Vikings just couldn’t make enough plays and the Bulldogs pulled away down the stretch for a 47-21 victory in Greater Valley Conference action.

Forest Grove (1-6, 1-5) dug itself a big early hole but rallied with touchdowns on either side of halftime to get within 11 points. That was as close as the Vikings would get, as West Albany (5-2, 4-2) slammed the door with a pair of fourth-quarter rushing touchdowns from Jeff Lacoste, including a 65-yard dagger with 1:40 remaining.

“We’re struggling on defense to stop people,” Forest Grove head coach Dwight Jensen said. “Offensively, we’re moving the ball really consistently and I’m happy with that, we’ve just got to score more points and help our defense out a little bit.”

The Vikings gave up an early score and two-point conversion on Friday but responded right away with a 1-yard touchdown run from Marcus Estrada that made the score 8-7.

West Albany rattled off three straight touchdowns — and three straight two-point conversions — to push the lead to 32-7 before the Vikings hit back.

Taylor Jensen ducked into the end zone from 3 yards out and then found Cam Kemper on the two-point try with 22 seconds left in the first half, and that duo was back at it in the third quarter, with Jensen tossing a 3-yard touchdown pass to Kemper that got Forest Grove as close as 32-21.

Lacoste made sure the Vikings would get no closer, punching in a 2-yard touchdown run midway through the fourth quarter, then adding the long scoring run inside the final two minutes to put the game away. The 5-foot-10, 175-pound junior also had a 25-yard scoring run in the first quarter and finished the game with 320 rushing yards on 32 carries.

Forest Grove was led offensively by Jensen, who completed 29-of-50 passes for 338 yards and also rushed seven times for 15 yards. Kemper caught 11 passes for 163 yards and a touchdown, while Tanner Heikes had four catches for 59 yards and Cody Fletcher added three grabs for 46 yards.

Once again, Forest Grove struggled with its running game, which yielded just 23 yards and averaged 1.0 yards per carry.

“The bottom line is that we’ve got to get our ground game going,” Dwight Jensen said. “The passing game is going to be there, we’ve just got to run the ball better.

“The problem we’re seeing with our lack of a ground game is that teams are playing a lot of Cover 5, so they’ve got a guy matched up on each of our receivers and they’ve got two safeties over the top. It makes it really hard for our receivers to get open.”

This week, Forest Grove will travel to face a McKay squad that wants to run the ball and control the clock. That will be at odds with the Vikings’ up-tempo, no-huddle offense.

“They’re going to play a ball control offense and try to keep our offense off the field,” Jensen said. “They’re going to grind it out and keep the clock running.”

McKay (2-5, 1-5) is currently tied with Forest Grove for fifth place in the conference. The Vikings close out the regular season on Oct. 31 with a home game against last-place McMinnville (1-6, 1-6).

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