No. 1 Lake Oswego scores early an often against a depleted West Linn squad

by: VERN UYETAKE - West Linn quarterback Hayden Coppedge runs away from a Lake Oswego defender while looking for an open receiver during last Friday's loss to the Lakers. A West Linn team that has suddenly been hit hard by injuries hosted the No. 1-ranked Lake Oswego Lakers on Friday and struggled to keep pace.

Lake Oswego looked every bit the part of the defending state champions and perhaps the favorites to repeat this year taking a 38-0 lead at the half en route to a 41-0 victory.

The Lions were missing one of the state's top linemen in Evan Voeller as well as one of their best linebackers in Colin Davis which proved to be two significant injuries.

West Linn opened the game with one of its better drives of the evening, getting across midfield before a penalty and a pair of incomplete passes forced the Lions to punt.

Lake Oswego didn't take long to capitalize. Heading into the game, the Lakers were questionable at the quarterback position due to injuries but starter Justen Ruppe looked solid.

On just the third play from scrimmage, Ruppe threaded a deep pass to Nick Palermini for a 57-yard touchdown strike and the Lakers were off and running.

Lake Oswego scored touchdowns on its first three possessions while the Lions turned the ball over twice and struggled to pick up yardage against perhaps the best defense in the state.

West Linn held the Lakers to a field goal early in the second quarter, pushing the lead to 24-0.

But Lake Oswego then picked off its second pass of the game and scored a few minutes later.

After another three-and-out, J.B. Holmes broke multiple tackles and went 60 yards for a touchdown to make it 38-0.

West Linn recorded its lone stop of the half in the closing minutes of the second quarter and moved into Lake Oswego territory again on a 17-yard run by Louie Germain but a sack ended the half.

Lake Oswego opened the third quarter with the ball and used its running game to get into scoring range again, ultimately connecting on a 37-yard field goal which would prove to be the final points of the contest.

West Linn's next drive started with a 29-yard run from Germain but ended when a pass was dropped on fourth-and-seven inside the red zone.

Germain was a bright spot for the Lions, running for 93 tough yards on 17 carries. However, West Linn was one-dimensional in the game, using three different quarterbacks and throwing for just 57 yards.

The Lions' night went from bad to worse in the second half as the team had multiple opportunities for big plays but couldn't come down with the completions.

West Linn will look to break up its two-game losing streak and grab its first league victory next week when it travels to Clackamas.

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