The Rams pull away late as Lake Oswego falls to beat another tough opponent

by: VERN UYETAKE - Lake Oswego receiver Daniel Dennis breaks a tackle en route to the end zone for what would be an 85-yard touchdown against Central Catholic last week.It was a battle of top-five Oregon powers, but it was also a showdown between one of the state's most experienced football teams and one of its least.

While Lake Oswego held its own admirably in Week 1 against Jesuit, newly minted No. 1 Central Catholic pushed the Lakers around a bit exerting its will on both sides of the ball in a 35-14 victory.

Still, there were plenty of positive flashes from a Laker team that's well aware that this season is a marathon and not a sprint, and one that players hope ends with a strong kick.

Lake Oswego was anything but intimidated by the senior-heavy Rams. The Lakers took the ball first and moved down the field despite enduring a pair of sacks. Nick Underwood had two big runs to move Lake Oswego into the red zone but the drive stalled when, on fourth-and-15, Mitch Verburg hit Charlie Callen for 13 yards.

Central Catholic then went to work, moving down the field with precision and capping a 93-yard drive with a 15-yard touchdown pass.

The Lakers took exactly one play to respond. Verburg tossed a pass to Daniel Dennis whom the Rams lost over the middle and he took it 85 yards for the tying score.

Again, Central Catholic looked difficult to stop on its next drive, using short passes and a strong push from its offensive line to pick up chunks on the ground, going 64 yards in under three minutes to retake the lead.

After a Lake Oswego punt, the Rams were on the move again. The Lakers appeared to have their first stop of the game, forcing a third-and-31 after a fumbled snap. However, the Rams converted with a terrific 43-yard catch, leading to another score.

On the Lakers' next drive, Underwood broke another big run but the team was forced to punt. Lake Oswego's defense came up with a clutch fourth-and-one stop and a three-and-out before the half to stay within striking distance.

Central Catholic firmly took control of the game on the opening drive of the third quarter, marching 76 yards to go up 28-7.

Lake Oswego got a nice run from Max Mattern but the drive was thwarted by a bad snap.

However, on the ensuing punt, Central Catholic fumbled, giving Lake Oswego the ball at the Rams' 19-yard-line.

Three plays later, Zach Parker came in at quarterback and kept the ball from one-yard out for a touchdown.

Two consecutive sacks on Central Catholic's next drive gave the ball back to the Lakers quickly and the team started to march again. However, the Rams would clinch the game moments later when a pass sailed high and was intercepted. Central Catholic returned it 80 yards for a back-breaking score.

The Lakers will wrap up their brutal non-league schedule Friday, taking on Southridge at home. The Skyhawks are 2-1 with wins over Centennial and Tualatin and a loss to Sheldon.

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