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Pioneers snap nine-game losing streak to Lions


Oregon City uses big plays to outlast West Linn 35-29 on the Lions homecoming

by: JON HOUSE - West Linn's Braden Vogt goes up for a catch in traffic during the Lions' game against Oregon City last week. Vogt had five catches for 71 yards in the game.West Linn's football season took another tough turn on Friday when Oregon City snapped a nine-game losing streak against the Lions, the longest win streak by either team in the 92-year rivalry.

Oregon City led for the majority of the game but did much of its damage on a few big plays and the Lions nearly overcame their defensive errors but their second-half rally came up short in a 35-29 defeat.

Oregon City broke through quickly, scoring on just the second play from scrimmage when Jon Hall hit Nick Martin in stride for a 68-yard touchdown.

West Linn answered quickly. Jarrod Howard went 27 yards on a screen pass on West Linn's first play and Louie Germain broke a 20-yard run, setting up his own one-yard touchdown plunge.

Oregon City countered through the air again, scoring just two minutes later on a 32-yard strike to a wide open Justin Cornejo.

The Pioneers have predominantly been a running team this season but Oregon City found success attacking West Linn's secondary.

“They did a good job. They had a good game plan and they executed it,” coach Mike Fanger said.

The Lions didn't have trouble moving the ball on their second drive either, getting a nice reception by Braden Vogt on a tipped pass for a 29-yard gain and a 24-yard catch by Howard.

West Linn moved to the one-yard line and went for it on fourth-and-inches but fumbled on the attempt to give the ball back to Oregon City.

The Pioneers went three-and-out and went back to punt but a bad snap saw the ball roll out of the back of the end zone for a safety to make it 14-9.

A great kick-off return by Howard then gave the Lions the ball at Oregon City's 29-yard line but West Linn could only move backward and came up short on another fourth down.

On their next drive, the Pioneers converted on a fourth down in their own territory and Hall would eventually hit a wide open Cornejo again, this time for a 37-yard touchdown.

After a West Linn three-and-out, Oregon City scored again on a 16-yard draw to make it 28-9 with 4:51 left in the half.

The Lions responded with a crucial drive. A good kickoff return by Dalton Tuor gave West Linn the ball near midfield and first-down receptions by Colin Davis and Howard and scored on another one-yard run from Germain with 1:20 left in the second quarter.

West Linn trailed 28-15 at the break but tightened up its defense as the third quarter began, forcing a quick three-and-out by the Pioneers.

The Lions would score on a 12-yard pass from Hayden Coppedge to Tuor to make it a one-score game.

West Linn forced another three-and-out and had momentum as Coppedge hit Joel Larson on a pass near midfield.

However, two penalties on the Lions set up third-and-long and a tipped ball was intercepted by the Pioneers.

“We were moving the ball down by six points and we just made a physical mistake. We can live with those but we also had a bunch of mental mistakes that we shouldn't be making at this point in the season,” Fanger said.

Oregon City then overcame a holding penalty and got a 34-yard pass play on third down to set up a 21-yard touchdown run, pushing the lead to 35-22 early in the fourth quarter.

The Lions would later fumble a punt deep inside their own territory but the defense came up with a big stop to keep their hopes alive.

West Linn mounted another drive late in the fourth quarter, moving the ball against Oregon City's prevent defense and scoring on a one-yard touchdown catch by Davis with 36 seconds left.

West Linn attempted an onside kick but Oregon City recovered to seal the game.

The Lions dropped to 0-3 in league and will take on a strong Canby squad next week as they try to reverse their fortunes.