Lakers prepare for Panthers in Class 6A state semifinals
For the top-ranked Lakers' opponent, No. 5 South Medford, an appearance in the semifinals is an even rarer thing — it's the Panthers' first-ever trip this far in the state playoffs.
The contest is scheduled for 5 p.m. Friday at Hillsboro Stadium.
But don't get the idea that South Medford is out of its depth. The Panthers roll into the contest with an 11-1 record, carrying an 10-game winning streak and coming off a 28-14 upset of No. 4 West Salem in Friday's quarterfinal contest at West Salem High School.
The Three Rivers League co-champion Lakers (11-1 overall), meanwhile, enter the game as winners of nine straight and coming off a 48-17 wipeout of No. 9 Jesuit in their quarterfinal.
While the Lakers admittedly don't yet know a lot about the Panthers, they're excited about the opportunity that lies ahead.
"It feels amazing to get to the semis," said senior lineman Dawson Jaramillo, a two-way, first-team all-Three Rivers League selection and Oregon commit. "I've never made it past the second round and I just want to thank my teammates and coaches who've supported me and been there. This is a great group of guys to play with."
"It's an awesome feeling getting to the semifinals," agreed junior defensive back Keenan DeRaeve. "We just have to approach it and prepare like we do every week, and the coaches will have a plan for us."
"Making it to the semifinals is huge," added junior running back Collin Bracken. "We definitely put in the work and definitely deserve to be here."
On offense, the Lakers are led by senior quarterback Jake Dukart (6-foot-2, 185 pounds), a first-team all-TRL pick who has thrown for 2,366 yards and 24 touchdowns with five interceptions while completing 57 percent of his passes.
On the ground, Lake Oswego uses three talented backs, led by first-team all-leaguer Casey Filkins (a 5-10, 175 sophomore who's rushed for 673 yards and nine TDs on 107 carries), honorable mention pick Alex Bassett (a 5-11, 175 senior who's rushed for 588 yards and nine scores on 64 carries) and Collin Bracken (a 6-1, 200 junior who's rushed for 484 yards and eight TDs on 48 carries).
At receiver, Jordan Newlin (a 5-8, 145 senior who's made 38 catches for 746 yards and 12 touchdowns) is a first-team all-league selection, while Joe Hutson (a 6-0, 155 sophomore who's made 14 catches for 349 yards and three scores) and Kameron Harvey (a 6-7, 205 senior who's made 18 catches for 303 yards and six TDs) were both honorable mention picks.
Up front, Lake Oswego is led by first-team tackle Jaramillo (a 6-5, 310 senior), second-team tackle Shawn Elliott (a 6-3, 240 senior), honorable mention guards Ryan Bertelsen (a 6-3, 260 junior) and Alex LeDoux (a 6-0, 216 junior), and honorable mention pick Laz Glickman (a 6-1, 210 senior) at center.
For South Medford, senior quarterback Robbie Patterson (5-11, 195) is a first-team all-Southwest pick who has thrown for 1,928 yards and 24 touchdowns with four interceptions while completing 69 percent of his passes.
At running back, South Medford is led by Southwest Conference Player of the Year Jaylin Parnell (a 6-0, 200 senior who's rushed for 1,311 yards and 22 TDs on 186 carries). Parnell has also made 33 catches for 304 yards and another three TDs. Teammate Terrence Butler (a 5-11, 175 junior) adds 620 yards and 11 TDs on 63 carries.
At receiver, the Panthers look again to a pair of all-SWC selections in Chase Cota (a 6-4, 200 senior who's made 42 catches for 719 yards and 13 touchdowns) and Jaalen Owens (a 6-1, 165 senior who's made 28 catches for 524 yards and seven scores).
Up front, South Medford is led by first-team senior center Daniel Shenk (5-8, 180), first-team senior guard Brandon Ditty (5-10, 230) and first-team senior tackle Michael Cormier (6-1, 234).
On defense, the Lakers have held their opponents to fewer than 13 points a game, picked off 19 passes and recovered six opposition fumbles.
On that side of the ball, linebacker Bryson Breeze (a 5-11, 180 junior) is the TRL co-Defensive Player of the Year, joined on the all-league first team by Jaramillo and Elliott on the line, Haney and Keenan DeRaeve (a 5-10, 175 junior) at linebacker, and Matt Sebolsky (a 5-10, 165 junior) at cornerback.
Honored on the all-TRL second team this year were Bassett at linebacker and Thomas Dukart (a 6-0, 165 sophomore) at safety. Honorable mention picks included junior lineman Miles Lewis, junior lineman Mike Mercep, sophomore lineman Marshall McGuire, junior linebacker Gabe DeVille, and Bracken and Hutson at cornerback.
South Medford, meanwhile, has held its opponents to fewer than 12 points a game, led there again by Parnell, the SWC Defensive Player of the Year. Parnell racked up a long list of defensive stats, including two interceptions returned for touchdowns from his linebacker spot, while his team has intercepted 21 passes and recovered nine opposition fumbles.
Beyond Parnell, the Panthers have plenty more talent on the defensive side of the football, including first-teamers Ditty on the line, and seniors Josiah Johnson (5-9, 155) and Owens at defensive back. Johnson has six interceptions this year and Owens another five.
Honored on the all-SWC second team this year were senior linebackers Evan Dallas (5-10, 200) and Trent Snyder (6-0, 220), and Cota at defensive back. Honorable mention picks on defense for the Panthers were junior linebacker Cole Boster (5-11, 200) and Patterson at punter.
"We just need to keep preparing and playing Laker football," Jaramillo said.
"We can't let (being in the semifinals) get to our heads," Bracken said. "We just have to approach it like we approach every week; put in the work, get a good plan and execute."
— Wade Evanson contributed to this story