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Lions fall late in shootout with Clackamas


West Linn racks up 431 yards through the air but falls to the Cavs running attack

by: TRACIE KRELLWITZ - Gavin Andersen and Ryan Anderson combine to make a tackle in last week's game against Clackamas.The West Linn football team put itself in position to win what turned out to be a track meet at Clackamas last Friday but couldn't close out an improved Cavaliers squad down the stretch.

The Lions rallied to take a lead into the fourth quarter but fell 56-49 despite putting up nearly 500 yards of offense.

The game went back and forth from the opening kickoff. Clackamas got on the board first on a short plunge from tailback Dan Sherrell.

Clackamas and West Linn featured wildly different attacks on offense during the game. Clackamas hit West Linn on the ground, an area that has been a sticking point for the Lions in recent weeks.

Sherrell ran the ball 39 times and racked up 248 yards as the Cavaliers won the battle of the trenches.

But the Lions matched Clackamas through the air. Hayden Coppedge completed 31 of 43 passes for 431 yards.

West Linn rebounded after the Cavaliers' first score, capping a drive with a one-yard run by Louie Germain.

Clackamas scored again a little more than a minute later on another run from Sherrell and the Lions responded on the first play of the second quarter, getting a three-yard touchdown from Coppedge to Jarrod Howard.

After getting a stop, West Linn would take its first lead early in the second quarter when Coppedge found Howard again, this time for a 12-yard score.

Howard would be Coppedge's favorite target on the night and he continued his stellar season by hauling in 16 catches for an astounding 283 yards.

Braden Vogt also had a terrific game with 10 catches for 100 yards.

Clackamas would bounce back in the second quarter with a pair of late touchdowns, the second of which came on a 12-yard pass with just 12 seconds to play in the half which gave Clackamas a 28-21 lead.

“We were worried about their scheme and their back is a really good player. When we'd get a stop, we'd have a breakdown in the secondary,” coach Mike Fanger said.

West Linn came out of the locker room fired up and tied the score quickly, getting a 36-yard touchdown pass from Coppedge to Howard.

The extra point missed and, when Clackamas scored its first touchdown of the second half, on another run by Sherrell, the Cavaliers took a 35-27 lead.

West Linn answered with another impressive drive, culminating with a one-yard run by Gavin Andersen.

After another stop, Coppedge connected with Howard for a 47-yard touchdown and he then hit Joel Larson for a two-point conversion to make it 42-35.

“We've had problems in the third quarter this year and so when we scored three touchdowns we thought we were in a good position,” Fanger said.

But Clackamas was resilient and scored twice early in the fourth quarter to regain the lead. The Lions would tie the game at 49-49 on Germain's second short touchdown run.

West Linn had its chances to regain control of the game in the fourth quarter but committed its only two turnovers of the game in the final period.

“Ultimately, we need to not put ourselves into a position where we're needing to answer them as much as we did,” Fanger said.

Sherrell scored on a 29-yard run with 1:22 to play in the game. West Linn tried to rally once more but a late interception sealed the game for the Cavaliers.

West Linn is still looking for its first league win as it prepares for its homecoming game against Oregon City tonight (Thursday).