Lakeridge can't quite keep pace with the Bulldogs whose star tailback runs for more than 300 yards

Lakeridge knew it was in for a stiff challenge as it took on West Albany and its vaunted running attack last Friday and, unfortunately for the Pacers, the Bulldogs were as good as advertised.

The game was a somewhat predictable track meet with both offenses having little trouble moving the ball. West Albany primarily stuck to the ground, running for 339 yards. Jake LaCoste had nearly all of those yards and carried the ball 50 times.

For the Pacers, the visitors attacked through the air with quarterback Eric Dungey having another strong game.

Dungey threw for 316 yards and had 28 yards plus a touchdown on the ground.

But, ultimately, West Salem simply had too much firepower and Lakeridge could never completely make up an early deficit in a 49-34 loss.

“I thought we'd be better against the run but we weren't. We just didn't tackle very well,” coach Tom Smythe said.

West Albany got on the board first but the Pacers were quick to answer with a 14-yard keeper from Dungey.

West Albany regained the lead with a long drive on the ground, culminating with a two-yard run by LaCoste.

After a stop by the Bulldogs' defense, West Albany broke the game open when LaCoste dropped back to pass and connected for an 84-yard touchdown which gave the Bulldogs a two-score advantage.

The rest of the game was a see-saw affair with the Pacers putting up gaudy offensive numbers but never being able to get the key defensive stop it needed to shift the momentum.

“We'd answer but we never got that big play that would have given us the ball with a chance to tie,” Smythe said.

West Albany led 28-14 at the half but Lakeridge continued to put the pressure on coming out of the locker room.

Dungey his J.R. McLaughlin for a 48-yard touchdown to trim the lead early in the third period.

McLaughlin was Dungey's favorite target all night and he hauled in seven catches for 194 yards.

“J.R. really stepped it up. He was our best player over the summer so it's really not a surprise,” Smythe said.

Still, the defense couldn't come up with a way to solve LaCoste. West Albany's passing attack was clutch as well and executed when it needed to. The Bulldogs' starting quarterback completed six of seven passes and threw for three touchdowns.

West Albany answered Lakeridge's score with another one of their own and would go up by three touchdowns early in the fourth quarter to all but put the game away.

Lakeridge battled hard in the final minutes, getting a quick answer on another long touchdown pass from Dungey to McLaughlin.

Just over a minute later, Lakeridge would inch closer, getting a touchdown run from Rick Hiller, but West Albany put the clamps down for the final seven minutes of the game to seal the win.

The Pacers now move on to face perhaps an even more vaunted running attack when they face Aloha and Thomas Tyner.

“We just went up against maybe the second best running back in the state and now we'll go against probably the best back in the nation,” Smythe said.

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