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Lions football will try to break Milwaukie's No. 2 defense

Upstart Northwest Oregon Conference rival Mustangs hit town for 7 p.m. showdown on Friday

SPOTLIGHT PHOTO: JAKE MCNEAL - Lions senior running back Tyler Rea (26) and the Lions' Class 5A fifth-ranked offense look to frustrate Northwest Oregon Conference rival Milwaukie's No. 2 defense.It's up to the Lions to stop the Mustangs' run.

St. Helens (2-0 overall) hosts sophomore running back Jacob Sanders, junior running back Chazz Amundson and upstart Milwaukie (2-0) at 7 p.m. on Friday at Doc Ackerson Stadium.

The Northwest Oregon Conference rivals are both fourth in the OSAA's Class 5A ranks.

Amundson ran for three scores in the opener against Class 6A independent Benson, and Sanders burst for three last week at Class 5A Woodburn.

Jon Snyder is the Mustangs' all-conference senior quarterback, but most of his work thus far has been handoffs.

"You can't just load the box against one guy when facing a triple option team," said Lions coach Cory Young, whose Lions are unbeaten for the first time since 2011, when St. Helens reached the first round of the Class 5A state playoffs. "You must be a sound defense or they will make you pay in first downs all day long."

The Mustangs, whose defense is No. 2 in the state with 18 points allowed behind Eagle Point (12), are perfect for the first time since 1998 after going 3-24, 3-20 in the last three years, and last reached the first round of state in 2005.

The Lions' sixth-ranked defense held No. 9 Class 4A state runner-up Scappoose to 40 rush yards last week after holding all-state junior running back Michael Jones and Hood River Valley to 74 yards on the ground in the season opener.

Dylan Brady's four rushing touchdowns and Tyler Rea's three lead St. Helens' fifth-ranked offense, which bullied the Indians for 257 yards and five touchdowns last week.

Levi Norton, a senior, has thrown for 276 yards, three touchdowns and a pick.

"People expect us to run people over, but we're not getting a big head," said Rea, a senior running back as is Brady.

Senior safety Tucker Mosley anchors the defense with two interceptions. Myles Terry, Cody Haag and Colton Beisley, all seniors, have one.

Terry's status for this weekend is uncertain as he suffered a dislocated shoulder in the Lions' first drive against Scappoose.

"[Our] coaches do a good job of getting us ready for the game, but we have to be ready if they have a play-action pass," Brady said. "I think we are a smart football team, and we can adjust to anything."

St. Helens has taken two of the last three meetings from Milwaukie by an average score of 53-15, but the Mustangs won 25-21 in 2014.

"We have to be sound in our option responsibilities," senior running back Haidon Allen said. "DYJ — Do your job."

Milwaukie at St. Helens

Where: Doc Ackerson Stadium

When: 7 p.m. Friday

What it means: A clash of unbeatens in a Northwest Oregon Conference opener

Northwest Oregon Conference

Overall Points for Points against Rank

La Salle Prep 2-0 86 56 7

Milwaukie 2-0 71 18 4

St. Helens 2-0 88 40 4

Putnam 1-1 64 48 3

Parkrose 1-1 46 61 26

Wilsonville 1-1 104 109 27

Hillsboro 0-2 53 56 9

Sandy 0-2 53 68 15