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Skyhawks flex muscles, eliminate Lions


Southridge builds a big early lead and puts an end to West Linns season

by: MILES VANCE - Louie Germain tries to evade a pair of Southridge tacklers in the backfield during last week's playoff game against the Skyhawks. The West Linn football team was looking for a big upset.

Southridge was ready to show that it had earned its place among the state's best.

In the end, it was Southridge that got what it wanted, rolling past the Lions 59-14 at Southridge High School in the first round of the Class 6A state playoffs on Friday night. The No. 29 Lions, the fifth-place team from the Three Rivers League, ended their year at 4-7, while No. 4-ranked Metro League champion Southridge won for the sixth straight time and improved to 7-3. Next up, the Skyhawks will host Century at 7 p.m. Friday in the second round of the playoffs.

“We just wanted to go out and finish for the seniors,” said junior running back Louie Germain, who finished with 39 yards rushing and one touchdown on 15 carries, and also caught seven passes for 67 yards. “We knew, by the third quarter it was probably going to be their last game of the season, and for some of them the last game of the careers, so we just wanted to go out there and give it our all.”

“We did what we could. We just ended up on the short end of the stick,” added senior tight end/linebacker Colin Davis, who made three catches for 39 yards.

The Skyhawks just flat hit the ground running in Friday's frosty temperatures, scoring four first-quarter touchdowns in a span of just 6 minutes, 8 seconds to take control of the game early. After a quick stop by the Southridge defense at the start of the contest, running back Jake Pruit carried twice for 23 yards, and quarterback Reza Aleaziz then went to the air and hit Kevin McClean for a 35-yard touchdown.

Southridge forced another three-and-out with its “D,” then scored even more quickly, getting a 36-yard punt return by Justin Calo to set up Devin Martinez's three-yard scoring run on the next play. The Skyhawk defense got the ball back again just four plays later, and Southridge then scored on its third play from scrimmage, this a six-yard Pruit run set up by Aleaziz's 37-yard completion to Jordan Morgan.

Calo recovered a West Linn fumble on the Lions' next series and the Skyhawks hit paydirt on the very next play, making it 28-0 when Martinez went over the right side, broke and tackle and sped 36 yards to score.

The Lions rallied valiantly in the second quarter, though, cutting out Southridge's big plays and winning the period 14-7. They got their first score when Germain broke a 26-yard scoring run over the right side, a score set up by a 38-yard Hayden Coppedge-to-Germain completion earlier in the series.

Later, after Aleaziz connected with Alec Powell for a 38-yard TD, Coppedge hit Cameron Schmitz on a crossing pattern for an 11-yard score that cut Southridge's lead to 35-14 at the half. On that drive, an 89-yard march, Coppedge went 6-of-10 through the air, connecting with Davis twice for 29 yards and Germain two times for 18 more.

“It all starts with defense, and you could see when we got a couple stops and that's when the offense went out and put up some points,” Germain said. “The defense finally started showing better in the second quarter and that helped a lot.”

Southridge made sure the game got no closer, though, scoring twice more in the third and once again four plays in to the fourth to lead 52-14. Pruit got the first of those on a nine-yard TD run, Aleaziz scrambled for a six-yard score next, and Alex Beekman added a 41-yard field goal to cap that stretch.

The Skyhawks then tacked on a 27-yard TD run by Michael Parks midway through the fourth for the final margin.

Despite the loss, the Lions left proud of their efforts and hopeful for the future.

“As a team, we all played hard, every single down,” Davis said. “Louie ran the ball hard the whole game, Hayden threw the ball and the defense swarmed.”

“When we play together, we're a great team,” Germain added. “We're really looking forward to next year. We're going to work our butts off in the offseason and come out next year and be great.”

For West Linn, Coppedge went 17-of-29 for 170 yards, seven of those to Germain for 67 yards, but the Lions rushed for a total of minus-36 yards on 25 carries.

For Southridge, Martinez had 68 yards and two TDs on 11 carries, and Aleaziz went 9-of-12 passing for 197 yards, six of those to Jordan Morgan for 117 yards.