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Lake Oswego fends off Panthers' late rally

South Medford scores two touchdowns in the final minute but the Lakers move to 2-0


MATTHEW SHERMAN - Lake Oswego tailback Max Mattern tries to shake a South Medford tackle during the Lakers' 31-26 victory Friday.Lake Oswego was nervous for the final 48 seconds of its 31-26 home victory over South Medford Friday but controlled the second half to move to 2-0 for the first time since 2012.

The Lakers capitalized on six South Medford turnovers to score 21 unanswered points, building a 31-13 lead before the Panthers scored with less than a minute to play. South Medford then recovered an onside kick and scored on a 50-yard touchdown reception from Jaylin Parnell with 33 seconds to play.

Lake Oswego recovered the next onside kick to seal the victory.

The Lakers got off to a fast start in its home opener, moving efficiently down the field before settling for a 21-yard field goal by Ethan Agritelley.

Later in the quarter, South Medford would muff a Laker punt and, three plays later, Mitchell Verburg connected with Cameron Nicklos for a 21-yard touchdown to make it 10-0.

The Panthers responded impressively, attacking Lake Oswego through the air, going 80 yards and getting a seven-yard touchdown pass from Robbie Patterson to Cedrick Mobley.

South Medford then forced a three-and-out and, after a spectacular 35-yard catch by Chase Cota, scored on a one-yard sneak by Cody Howard-Marthoski to take a 13-10 lead.

The Lakers were stopped again but changed the momentum with an interception by Andrew Bartley, giving his team a short field.

“We had a good game plan, we just had to buckle down and do our jobs,” Bartley said.

The Lakers would capitalize with an 11-yard touchdown pass from Verburg to Devin King with three minutes left in the half.

Bartley would tally another interception on South Medford's next possession but the Lakers gave the ball back on the next play when the Panthers' Mobley picked off Verburg.

On the first play of the third quarter, Lake Oswego's Jonas Lamont came up with the Lakers' third interception of the game and, one play later, Max Mattern ran in for a touchdown from 14 yards out.

“We were really close in the first half, we just didn't make the plays and then we did in the second half and that was the difference,” Laker coach Steve Coury said.

Lake Oswego brought South Medford's next drive to an end with another pick by Lamont and eventually scored on a one-yard keeper by Jake Dukart, making it 31-13 with 2:22 left in the third quarter.

South Medford appeared out of the game but scored with 48 seconds left on a touchdown catch by Cristian Ibarra.

After recovering the onside kick, Patterson completed a pass over the middle to Parnell which he took 50 yards for the score. Lake Oswego broke up the two-point conversion attempt and finally put the game away by falling on the Panthers' second onside kick attempt.

Lake Oswego (2-0) will take on West Linn in both teams' league opener next week while South Medford (1-1) will host Willamette.

“Our mentality right now is to keep working hard and know we can compete with anybody,” Bartley said.

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