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Lakers eke past Olympia in defensive showdown


LO rallies with a late touchdown for its first victory 7-6

In a battle of defenses that came up with big plays when they needed to, just one fourth-quarter touchdown was enough for Lake Oswego to pick up its first victory of the season.

The Lakers endured what coach Steve Coury called “a frustrating game” and edged a very strong team from Olympia, Wash. 7-6 on the road.

It was a game where Lake Oswego's mental fortitude was tested just as much as its physical skills. Olympia sought to shorten the game, attacking the Lakers on the ground and keeping the clock moving.

As a result, the Lakers ran just more than 40 plays, far fewer than their normal total, and struggled to find a rhythm.

“The kids fought through it and I was happy it paid off for them,” Coury said.

When Lake Oswego did appear to get a drive going, the team was often done in by a slew of untimely penalties.

“We were penalized a lot and it was on big plays that would stop drives. We looked at the film and some of them were right but not that many should have been called,” Coury said.

As the Lakers struggled to find their footing on offense, it put the pressure on the defense to keep the team in the game.

Lake Oswego did a nice job in not allowing the big play and allowed Olympia to chew up small chunks of yardage before bearing down in its own territory.

Olympia scored first on a short field goal and would tack on a 41-yard field goal in the second quarter to take a 6-0 lead.

Lake Oswego had a tough time getting the running game established again. The team had just 11 net yards on the ground.

“We just might not be that type of team that's going to pound the ball at you like we've been in the past,” Coury said.

Quarterback Mitchell Verburg had a solid game, staying conservative and making sure not to give Olympia a chance to make a big play.

Verburg was 8-for-17 for 87 yards and made the big throws when they were needed.

In the fourth quarter, the Lakers found themselves in scoring range again and capitalized, getting a 26-yard touchdown pass from Verburg to Jordan Horak, who has been his favorite target early in the season.

Horak had three catches for 46 yards in the game and was solid on defense as well.

“He's one of our best all-around players and has made some big plays. I really like the way all of our skill guys are playing,” Coury said.

Ethan Agritelley then came on to knock through the crucial extra point which would prove to be the difference in the contest.

Defensively Lake Oswego was strong again, giving up less than 250 total yards and giving the team an opportunity to win.

The road doesn't get easier for the Lakers. After facing No. 1 Jesuit in the opening week of the season, the Lakers now travel to Hillsboro Stadium to take on the state's new No. 1 team in Central Catholic, a squad coming off a huge win over Sheldon.