The Pacers football team routs Sunset, snaps its two-game losing streak
Lakeridge needed this one.
The Pacers football team, after suffering two tough losses in a row, came back in style on Thursday, Sept. 22, routing Sunset 42-14 in non-league play at Sunset High School.
According the Lakeridge coach Spencer Phillips, preparation was the key to Lakeridge’s return to the win column.
“We practiced really well this week,” Phillips said. “I thought our preparation this week was excellent, (both by) players and staff.”
With the win, the Pacers snapped their two-game losing streak and improved to 2-2 overall. Sunset, meanwhile, saw its one-game winning streak snapped and fell to 2-2 overall. Next up, the Pacers open Three Rivers League play when they host unbeaten Tualatin (4-0) — fourth-ranked in the latest Class 6A coaches poll — at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 29.
The Pacers got huge days from both senior quarterback Ryan Oliver and senior running back Chili Stephens against Sunset, with Oliver completing 40 of 54 throws for 351 yards with five touchdowns and no interceptions, while Stephens made 10 catches for 87 yards and three scores.
“Truth be told, Ryan called a lot of those plays on his own,” Phillips said. “I give him a lot of freedom to check to plays that he wants. I think this game, he really came into his own and the guys he got the ball to made plays.”
Regarding Stephens’ breakout performance, Phillips said “Chili is excellent receiver out of the backfield once he gets his hands on the ball. It was just a matter of time before he had a lot of success in a game.”
That said, the Apollos held their own in Thursday’s first quarter, with the Pacers getting a 7-yard TD pass from Oliver to Stephens, while Sunset scored on a 3-yard pass to tie the contest at 7-7.
The second quarter, however, was all Lakeridge. The Pacers scored four straight touchdowns in the period and used that explosion to take a commanding 35-14 lead into the half.
Oliver got things started with a 29-yard TD pass to junior tight end/wide receiver Joey Olsen. Next up came a 28-yard Oliver strike to Stephens that made it 21-7. Oliver went back to Olsen for the Pacers’ next score, a 12-yard TD strike, while freshman running back Ansu Sanoe added the fourth score on a 21-yard TD run for a 35-7 edge.
While the Apollos scored later in the second period to make it 35-14 at the break, but the Pacers responded with the lone score of the second half when Stephens hauled in a 10-yard throw from Oliver for the final 41-14 margin of victory.
On the defensive side of the football, the Pacers picked off three Sunset passes and recovered one Apollos fumble, with senior Baylor Corbin, senior Luke Brooks and freshman Yahkyll Noil getting the picks, and junior Jake Moleiro recovering the fumble. Senior linebacker Ethan Biondine led the Pacers with 18 tackles (nine solo and three for loss), while junior linebacker Tashi Crofut added 12 stops (three solo).
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