Lakeridge quarterback takes Southridge out in second round

by: TIMES PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Southridge running back Jake Pruit shakes off a pair of Lakeridge tacklers. Pruit scored two touchdowns on the ground and ran for 62 yards.

The Southridge-Jesuit rematch many were pining for in the 6A state football quarterfinals regretfully won't materialize after all.

Lakeridge's Eric Dungey saw to it that the Skyhawks wouldn't get a shot at retribution from the Crusaders as the junior quarterback tallied 275 yards of total offense in the second round of the 6A playoffs on Friday night. Dungey's individual undertaking, added to a pair of self-inflicted Skyhawk wounds equated to an early, 28-20, postseason exit for a Southridge team that had state championship ambition.

Because the bar was set so high prior to the season, with Southridge being ranked as high as No. 2 in the 6A poll, and players predicting a long playoff stay, the Lakeridge loss was especially tough to take. But, as head coach Doug Dean rallied his team together for the final time in the locker room after the defeat, he reminded them just how much football can apply to every day life.

“I told them I was proud of them, and sometimes things don't go like you want,” said Dean. “It hurts when they don't, but that's part of life. That's part of the learning process of being a young man, is understanding there are going to be ups and downs in anything that you do.”

Lakeridge and Southridge were two evenly matched teams with powerful, physical offenses in a quality high school football game, but Doug Dean said the Pacers just made a couple more big plays that swayed the contest.

Southridge led 13-7 at halftime after senior running back Jake Pruit ran for a 2-yard touchdown, and kicker Alex Beekman drilled two first-half field goals. Yet, Southridge's offense got somewhat sidetracked in the second half, while Dungey and Lakeridge began to find a rhythm.

“That really was the difference in the game,” said Dean. “They made some clutch plays in critical times while we just came up a little bit short. They won the first half, and we won the second half. That was kind of the story of the game.”

Two of the those big plays Dean referred to occurred on the same drive in the third quarter. After Lakeridge marched 68 yards and scored on a 1-yard touchdown to take a 21-20 advantage, Southridge fumbled on the ensuing kickoff. Then, after seemingly stopping the Pacers on third and long, Lakeridge pulled off a fake punt pass for 25 yards to extend the drive. Dungey plunged into the end zone for a 2-yard score to put the Pacers up with 8:16 to go in the fourth.

by: TIMES PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Southridge senior running back Devin Martinez ran for 99 yards on 26 carries during the Skyhawks 28-20 loss to Lakeridge.

Knowing Dungey and the Pacer offense were potent enough to pile up a lot of points, Southridge attempted to control the time of possession by banking on its two trusty running backs Pruit and Devin Martinez. Workhorses all season with the help of a cohesive offensive line, Pruit ran for 62 yards and two touchdowns while Martinez ran for 99 yards on 26 carries. The athletic Dungey — who's considered one of the best quarterbacks in the state — simply had a great night both on the ground and through the air.

Dungey's dual threat ability was detrimental to the Skyhawk defense, as the junior signal caller not only threw for 153 yards, but also ran for 104 yards and two scores. Dean said Southridge didn't play its best game defensively, but the Skyhawks played hard and with physicality.

“If you look at any level of football, a quarterback who can ran and throw effectively can put a lot of pressure on your defense,” said Dean. “That's why I felt like we needed to control the clock to have an opportunity because he's such an explosive player and make plays with his legs and his arm.”

Southridge finished the season 7-4 with quality wins over Sunset, Beaverton and West Linn — all teams that advanced to the first round of the 6A playoffs. The Skyhawks took second in the Metro League and were a fleeting play or two away from being right with Jesuit when the two rivals squared off in mid-October.

“I felt like we played really well at times,” said Dean. “I was proud of the kids for the successes they had on the field. You'd always like to have more, but sometimes those things just don't happen. You have to be able to take the good with the bad in those situations. I was proud of the effort our kids put in. Overall, I thought it was a successful season.”

by: TIMES PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Southridge wide receiver Jordan Morgan stiff arms a Lakeridge defender during the Skyhawks season-ending loss on Friday.

Martinez and Pruit were such a lethal one-two combination operating out of the backfield that opposing teams had to stack the box with extra defenders just to have a shot at stopping them. Offensive linemen like Jim Weber, Tyler Cox, Walker Lukens, Jeremiah Everett and Nicholas Stall were the engine that drove open holes for their talented rock-toters.

“We had the ingredients of being able to run the football well,” said Dean. “We did a good job of running it all season.”

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