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Lions snap losing streak in TRL finale

West Linn earns a home play-in game with a victory over Lakeridge.


by: VERN UYETAKE - Louie Germain sprints past a Lakeridge defender during last week's game against the Pacers. Germain scored all five of West Linn's touchdowns in the game.It hasn't been the season that the West Linn football team was anticipating, but the Lions finished the regular season on a positive note that may give them a jolt heading into the playoffs.

West Linn picked up its first league victory, knocking off Lakeridge 35-13, clinching a home play-in game this Friday.

“Our whole deal heading into this game was to try and get one more home game. We were so flat against Canby. We had no energy which was really disappointing so it felt good to go out and get another win,” coach Mike Fanger said.

Both the Lions and Pacers entered the game without a victory in the TRL, each having suffered some key injuries during the year.

West Linn had lost five straight games but its defense executed the game plan against a Lakeridge squad that is still dangerous offensively.

The Lions caught a break in the opening moments of the game. After receiving the opening kickoff, a fumble on the first play from scrimmage was called back because of an inadvertent whistle.

West Linn then steadily moved down the field, overcoming three penalties on its first drive and pounding the ball with Louie Germain.

Germain would eventually score on a one-yard run, the first of five touchdowns on the night for him.

While West Linn has been a pass-heavy team for much of the season, the Lions were aware of Lakeridge's struggles against the run game and they became the latest team to exploit that weakness.

“We definitely came out and wanted to pound the ball. That's what we practiced all week,” Germain said.

West Linn recorded a stop on Lakeridge's opening possession when the Pacers fumbled a pitch on fourth down.

An 18-yard catch by Germain set up an eight-yard run to make it 14-0 with 3:32 left in the first quarter.

Lakeridge moved the ball into West Linn territory on its next drive but the Lions came up with another stop on fourth down.

The Pacers shot themselves in the foot at times during the game. After stopping the Lions for the first time, Lakeridge muffed the punt and Joel Larson made a nice play on special teams to recover it.

However, West Linn failed to capitalize on that good field position.

Still, the Lions' defense stayed strong, dominating the line of scrimmage and containing mobile quarterback Eric Dungey in the pocket.

“The defense played great. Dungey can really run and do a lot of good things. We just wanted to keep him in the pocket because when he gets outside he's really dangerous,” Fanger said.

Midway through the second quarter, Germain broke a 62-yard run which set up a score from three yards out to make it 21-0.

Two plays later, Ellis Eaton nearly sacked Dungey whose pass was then intercepted by Larson.

The Lions drove to the five-yard-line but were stopped on fourth and goal. Still, West Linn led 21-0 at the half and had dominated the first two quarters.

Lakeridge fumbled on its first drive after getting into scoring range but the Lions returned the favor on the next drive when an errant snap gave the Pacer the ball at West Linn's four-yard-line.

However, the defense dug in its heels again. Lakeridge struggled to pick up yardage by running up the gut against the Lions and, after West Linn pushed Lakeridge backwards on three plays, an incomplete pass gave West Linn the ball back.

The Lions would then go 91 yards, aided by a 44-yard catch from Larson. Hayden Coppedge then hit Germain for a short pass that went for a 16-yard touchdown to make it 28-0.

Lakeridge continued to move the ball better in the second half but West Linn would sack Dungey three times to stop the drive. The last two sacks were on back-to-back plays and were both tallied by Ryan Anderson.

After West Linn went three-and-out, Anderson would tally his third straight sack but Lakeridge would respond by getting on the board with seven minutes to play in the game.

The Lions quickly answered. They recovered the onside kick attempt and then ran Germain five times for a touchdown to make it 35-6.

Lakeridge would score late in the game but it wasn't enough as the Lions snapped their losing streak at a very opportune time.

West Linn will host McKay this Friday at 7 p.m. for its play-in game. The Royal Scots were 3-6 this year and finished fourth in the Central Valley Conference.



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