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Lakers fend off Canby for first league win

COREY BUCHANAN - Lake Oswego defenders chase a fumble during the teams victory over Canby last week.First down chains shifted like clockwork and punting schematics were mostly left on the cutting room floor.

Both Canby and Lake Oswego moved the ball efficiently during the Three Rivers League battle Friday, Sept. 23 but fourth down results wedged much of the two-touchdown gap.

The Lakers trumped Canby in many high leverage situations and defeated the Cougars 40-27 to notch their first win of the Three Rivers League season while Canby fell to 0-2 in league.

Led by a balanced attack, Lake Oswego’s offense proved an unstoppable force through the first three quarters and scored on the vast majority of possessions during that span.

Lake Oswego quarterback JP Miska threw for 239 passing yards and four passing touchdowns, running back Martin Sorrelhorse accumulated 180 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns and receiver Jordan Newlin added 84 receiving yards and two receiving touchdowns.

“It really balanced out today. We’ve been practicing breaking down their coverages with our receivers. We were strong in the running game and passing game tonight,” Sorrelhorse said.

Canby accumulated 288 rushing yards but a first quarter fumble and failed fourth-and-1 conversion, a second quarter penalty that led to a long fourth down and an interception, and two Lake Oswego fourth down conversions deep in Canby territory kept Canby from pacing the Lakers.

With Sorrelhorse leading the way, Lake Oswego’s running game sliced and diced the Cougars for much of the game.

“The linemen got off quick. That’s what we practiced this whole week. We’ve been playing scared the past couple games and I guess I’ve been playing scared too so our line and all of our running backs played pretty well this game,” Sorrelhorse said.

Following a picturesque 60-yard touchdown connection between Miska and Newlin, the Lakers led 40-14 with 7:01 left in the third quarter and appeared to have shoveled Canby’s grave.

But the Cougars rose from the depths and forged an admirable comeback.

Morris, whose 60-yard jaunt put the Cougars on the board late in the first half, accumulated 104 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns and helped the Cougars score a couple second half touchdowns to climb within 13 points.

On two of his touchdown runs, Morris faked a handoff to a running back and darted outside for long scores. Morris’ second score, in which he broke two tackles and released 32 yards downfield, cut Lake Oswego’s lead to 40-20.

Canby’s defense also came to play in the fourth quarter. On three consecutive Lake Oswego drives, the Cougars forced and recovered a fumble at their own one yard-line, defensive back Dylan Taylor wrestled the ball away from a Lake Oswego ball carrier and linebacker Jacob Huggins corralled a Laker running back behind the line of scrimmage on a short pass up the middle to force a punt.

After Taylor’s forced fumble with under five minutes left in the game, Taylor morphed into a passer after receiving a reverse handoff and found Morris to convert a first down on fourth-and-7. Morris then scored via a quarterback sneak with 2:57 left to cut Lake Oswego’s lead to 40-27.

But Canby simply did not have enough time to complete a comeback. And a turnover on downs with under one minute remaining sealed the game for Lake Oswego.

Canby’s offense thrived despite losing leading rusher Kendle Boykin to a possible back injury in the first quarter. Canby running back Brandon Weaver also missed the game (concussion) while lineman Johnny Haynes was cleared by doctors to play (knee) but did not suit up for the Cougars.

Running back Julian Wilder accumulated 58 rushing yards in Boykin’s absence while Huggins added 48 rushing yards and eight tackles, linebacker Austin Kirkwood had five tackles, forced a fumble and recovered a fumble, defensive lineman Taylor Mottern contributed five tackles and Coleman Stegmeier accumulated 67 return yards.

Sorrelhorse did not like the way the Lakers finished the game.

“I think, because we were up a lot at halftime, we kind of quit. We are supposed to play the whole game and finish off well. I think we didn’t do that this game,” he said.

Still, Lake Oswego had lost its previous two games by a combined 13 points and Sorrelhorse said players felt like they needed to defeat Canby this week.

“If we lost, we could have moved on but those two losses really got to us so this Canby game was a must win,” he said.

The Lakers will travel to Tualatin to take on the Timberwolves this Friday.