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Second half comeback hands Lakers loss to Tigard

Lake Oswego leads by 13 in the third quarter but the Tigers storm back

MATTHEW SHERMAN - Cam Nicklos hauls in a touchdown pass from JP Miska in double coverage during Fridays league opener against Tigard.For the second game in a row, Lake Oswego hung with an extremely competitive team, outplaying them for large stretches at a time. However, in their league opener against Tigard, the Lakers simply wore down in the fourth quarter, falling 28-20.

This time it wasn't a shocking last-minute defeat that did Lake Oswego in. Instead, it was a slow burn as Tigard's relentless ground game finally found its footing. The Tigers scored three unanswered touchdowns in the second half to complete the comeback.

Not much went Tigard’s way in the first half. Miscues and inopportune penalties, along with a stingy Lake Oswego defense, held the Tigers to just seven points.

On the first drive of the game, Tigard was stopped when, on a fourth down at midfield, an almost sure touchdown was bobbled and dropped, giving possession to the Lakers.

Lake Oswego marched down the field and, on third and 15, quarterback J.P. Miska hit Adam Brumfield for a 33-yard touchdown to give the Lakers the lead.

Tigard answered quickly, getting a 32 yard catch from Nick Heinke, ultimately setting up a 16-yard scoring burst from Jashua Allen.

Lake Oswego had its own answer, going 70 yards in 11 plays, capped by an 11-yard touchdown catch from Cam Nicklos.

The Lakers were set on pounding the ball but Tigard's defensive line was up for the challenge. Instead, Miska found some success through the air, particularly on long balls.

"I thought Miska played great. We had a few cross-ups but he did some nice things for us," Lake Oswego coach Steve Coury said.

Tigard drove into Lake Oswego territory on its next drive sticking mainly to the run before Sam Haney stepped in front of a pass for an interception.

However, five plays later on a fourth down, Tigard returned the favor as Spencer Smith nabbed an interception after the Tigers put pressure on Miska and returned it to midfield.

But Tigard couldn’t capitalize and trailed 14-7 at the break.

“We had some opportunities, especially in the first half where, if we scored, maybe things are different, but we’re still young and fairly inexperienced. I thought our kids did a nice job overall,” Coury said.

Lake Oswego opened the third quarter with the ball and, aided by a pass interference penalty, scored on a pretty pass from Miska to Nicklos. A missed extra point left the score at 20-7.

Then, on the first play of Tigard’s next drive, Haney recorded his second interception of the game and Lake Oswego had the Tigers with their backs against the wall.

But Tigard's defense rose to the challenge again. Heinke came up with an interception of his own to thwart the Laker drive and shift the entire momentum of the game.

Starting at midfield, Tigard pounded the ball again before Ryan Worthley hit Jake Leavitt for an 11-yard touchdown, drawing the Tigers to within six points.

Tigard then forced a three and out and benefited from a short punt, taking over at the Lake Oswego 40-yard line.

Tigard converted on a fourth and one and would score on an 11-yard touchdown from Smith, taking its first lead of the game at 21-20.

Tigard then recorded back-to-back sacks on Lake Oswego’s next possession, forcing another three and out.

The Tigers continued to gash Lake Oswego on the ground with Allen, Smith and Ryan Minniti all picking up big gains.

Tigard fumbled twice on the drive but managed to recover the ball on both occasions, eventually leading to a seven-yard score from Smith to put Tigard up 28-20.

Lake Oswego wasn’t quite finished. Miska hit Haney for a quick 14-yard gain and Kennan Deraeve broke a 20-yard run, giving Lake Oswego a first and goal opportunity from the 10-yard line.

However, a delay of game penalty and a sack by Tigard’s Scott Ostrom stymied the drive.

Tigard needed just one first down to clinch the game and got it easily, holding on for an important victory.

"We love these kids and they're working hard. We'll keep getting better each week," Coury said.

Misak threw for 175 yards in the game and Nicklos had five catches for 92 yards.Martin Sorrelhorse ran for 61 yards on 15 carries.

Lake Oswego moves on to host Canby next week.