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Pacer football trying to get healthy

Canby rushes for 352 yards as Lakeridge loses league opener

Any team that undergoes a drastic system change is bound to experience its share of growing pains. Couple that with more than a handful of significant injuries and it makes for an uphill battle.

That's what the Lakeridge football team is experiencing right now following its second straight lopsided defeat, this time a 46-0 loss at the hands of Canby in both teams' league opener.

“It sounds kind of funny but we got better and the score wasn't reflective of how we played. Our offense is all-risk, all-reward and we moved the ball up and down but couldn't execute when we got close,” coach Elvis Akpla said.

The Pacers are still operating without a handful of key contributors, missing six or seven starters on both sides of the ball according to Akpla.

As such, Lakeridge has had to move younger individuals and JV players into important roles.

“It's been a good learning experience. We've played a lot of young guys and they're making strides,” Akpla said.

Things spiraled quickly against the Pacers on Canby's home field last week. The Cougars, who boast a strong offensive line, ran the ball early and often, mounting long, steady drives to keep the Lakeridge offense off the field.

Canby racked up 352 yards on the ground and dominated the time of possession.

When Lakeridge had success offensively, it primarily came on the ground as well.

Nick Hoddevik ran for more than 100 yards but the Pacers struggled inside Canby territory. Lakeridge had just one turnover in the game but couldn't get into a rhythm to sustain drives.

Michael Kuhn also had a nice game, catching five passes for 60 yards.

“We need all 11 guys doing their job to execute our offense and it doesn't work when we have two or three guys making small mistakes. When all 11 are doing their job, we're moving the ball like the defense isn't there,” Akpla said.

The Pacers have been able to remain positive and confident that things will start to turn around sooner than later.

“I give a lot of credit to our coaching staff for keeping everyone grinding and working,” Akpla said.

Lakeridge should get a huge boost from the return of lineman Massen Newton. Newton will be eligible to play Friday against Sherwood and will be a force on the defensive line.

“We've been running Sherwood's offense in practice and he's disrupted every play,” Akpla said.

Lakeridge takes on the Bowmen, a team that could be in the running for a state title this year, at home on Friday for the Pacers' homecoming game.