Lakeridge mounts a spirited rally but its quarterbacks season ends with a knee injury

by: VERN UYETAKE - Lakeridge's Madison Pihl look to shake a Lincoln tackler during last Friday's play-in victory over the Cardinals. Lakeridge takes on Central Catholic this week.The Lakeridge football team snapped its losing streak and kept its season alive last week with a come-from-behind 21-17 victory over Lincoln, but the Pacers lost star quarterback Eric Dungey in the process.

For the second year in a row, Lakeridge lost Dungey to a season-ending injury when he apparently tore his MCL on the final play of the third quarter.

“Unfortunately that's something that seems to be a common occurrence in our program,” coach Tom Smythe said.

It was a low point for the Pacers who were in the midst of a rally in their rematch with the Cardinals.

But Lakeridge responded, showing some fire in the second half where a valiant defensive effort helped the team advance into the 32-team tournament.

When Lakeridge squared off against Lincoln earlier in the year, the Cardinals were winless and had struggled greatly on defense.

But, after losing that game, Lincoln rallied with victories over Sunset and Centennial.

Lakeridge scored first in the game, marching down the field in less than 90 seconds, culminating with a 12-yard touchdown run by Nick Yun.

But Lincoln would control the rest of the half. The Cardinals got on the board with a 29-yard field goal and Lakeridge struggled making big plays through the air on a rainy evening.

Lincoln attacked primarily through the air but Lakeridge did a nice job limiting big plays. The Cardinals completed 22 passes in the game but for just 207 yards and the longest play from scrimmage was a 30-yard pass.

“We took away what they wanted to do and dropped eight or nine guys back to force them to make small passes,” Smythe said.

Lincoln would take the lead on the first play of the second quarter on an 11-yard run and would tack on another touchdown to go up 17-7 at the break. Lakeridge also hurt itself with 100 yards of penalties in the first half.

Lakeridge stuck to its game plan and rebounded in the second half. The Pacers had success running the ball against Lincoln earlier in the year and they did the same thing on Friday.

Yun ran for 131 yards on 21 carries and Alex Alamida had one of his best games of the year, picking up 92 yards on nine carries. As a team, Lakeridge rushed for 275 yards.

Lakeridge cut into the lead midway through the third quarter on another short touchdown run from Yun.

The defense did everything it could to give the Pacers a chance, making things difficult in the secondary for the Cardinals.

“For the first time since the Aloha game we really battled and fought and played with passion. I think they just got tired of losing and making mistakes,” Smythe said.

After Dungey went down with his injury, Mark Grothe replaced him at quarterback but Lakeridge continued to have success on the ground and Grothe didn't attempt a pass.

Midway through the fourth quarter, Lakeridge marched down the field on an impressive drive but, on fourth-and-goal, the Pacers came up inches short of the end zone.

However, on Lincoln's next possession, Alamida broke through the line for a sack and forced a fumble in the end zone. The ball squirted out to the two-yard line where the Pacers recovered it.

Yun then scored on the next play to put Lakeridge up for the first time in the game.

But there was still four minutes left for the Cardinals to mount a drive. Lincoln moved down the field, converting on fourth down to get into scoring range.

The Cardinals made a throw toward the end zone but Tyler Miller deflected it and Madison Pihl recorded an interception in the end zone to seal the win.

With the win, Lakeridge snapped a three-game losing streak and will take on No. 2 Central Catholic at Hillsboro Stadium this week.

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