Jesuit racks up points early and more than 200 yards of penalties hamper Lakeridge

For a while, it appeared as if Lakeridge and Jesuit were headed for a high-flying showdown with neither defense being able to handle the opposing attack. But the quarterfinal match-up devolved quickly for the Pacers as the Crusaders' running attack and clutch plays in the passing game were difficult to stop in a 62-33 loss.

Lakeridge's Achilles heel all season also bit the team as the team racked up more than 200 yards of penalties, the majority of which came on dead ball fouls and tempers flared on both sides in the second half.

The Pacers' best defensive stand of the game came on Jesuit's opening possession. The Crusaders went three-and-out, attempting two passes, the second of which was a screen pass snuffed out by Lakeridge's Tyler Miller on third down, forcing a punt.

Two big catches by JR McLaughlin and a 26-yard keeper by Eric Dungey set up a four-yard touchdown run by Lopeti Aisea and the Pacers had the early 7-0 lead over Jesuit.

Although the Crusaders are seeded No. 1 in the state in the 6A bracket, there was a perception that the team might be vulnerable, having lost its star rusher Joey Alfieri for the year. And, in the second round of the playoffs, Lake Oswego gave Jesuit all it could handle in a 21-19 battle.

After a personal foul gave the Crusaders great field position, they went back to their bread and butter, handing the ball to tailback Chase Morrison six straight times on a 39-yard drive to quickly tie the game.

Lakeridge then fumbled the ensuing kickoff and Morrison got the ball seven straight times to get inside the 10-yard line. A big hit in the backfield by Vontrell Mills left Jesuit with a third-and-goal at the 11-yard line, but Jesuit converted with a touchdown pass to grab the lead.

Lakeridge missed a wide open touchdown on its next drive and fell short on fourth down.

Taking over at its own 44-yard line, Jesuit appeared to take control of the game when Morrison broke a 56-yard touchdown run on the next play to boost the lead to 21-7.

But Lakeridge would respond with a crucial drive to stay in the game. Aisea broke a 45-yard run and McLaughlin made a 24-yard catch to set up a short keeper from Dungey to make it 21-14.

Jesuit then ashed the Pacers on the ground again before quarterback Eric Restic hit Trent Werner for a 33-yard score.

Two penalties thwarted Lakeridge's next drive and Jesuit responded again when Restic escaped trouble in the backfield and threw a 36-yard touchdown with 1:22 left in the half.

Lakeridge would fumble with less than a minute to go giving the Crusaders the ball back near midfield and Jesuit went 46 yards in four plays, scoring a back-breaking touchdown with three seconds left to lead 42-14 at the half.

Things didn't get any easier coming out of the locker room.

Lakeridge threw an interception on its first possession of the third quarter and Jesuit converted it to another touchdown.

A personal foul and then a chop block which brought back a long touchdown pass to McLaughlin forced Lakeridge into a fourth-and-39. The Pacers came up well short on the conversion attempt and Jesuit would score again with 3:40 left in the quarter to lead 55-14.

Lakeridge would start to move the ball again late in the game, getting three fourth quarter touchdowns — the last of which came on a 65-yard scamper by Dungey — but it was far little too late as the Pacers saw their season end.

The Pacers will look to improve on the successes from this season under a new coach next fall with Tom Smythe stepping down earlier in the year.

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