The Lions blow past the Pacers to stay unbeaten in the TRL
If anyone has any questions about the ability of the West Linn football team at this point of the season, they’re either not paying attention or just don’t know anything about football.
Lakeridge certainly has no questions, not after the Pacers dropped a 58-6 decision to the Lions at Lakeridge High School on Friday, Oct. 21.
“We are on a six-game win streak (and) we are improving each week so we feel good about where we are,” said West Linn coach Jon Eagle. “(We had a) solid effort in all three phases of the game.”
With the team’s sixth straight win, the Lions — No. 1 in the latest Class 6A coaches poll and No. 1 in the OSAA power rankings — improved to 4-0 in the Three Rivers League and 7-1 overall. Lakeridge, meanwhile, lost for the fourth straight time and fell to 0-4 in TRL play and 2-6 overall.
“They’re very good,” Lakeridge coach Spencer Phillips said of the Lions. “We are (just) trying to keep confidence.”
Next up, both teams close out regular-season play with their annual rivalry games. The Lions play Oregon City (the No. 19 Pioneers are 1-3 in TRL play and 4-4 overall) in the 102nd iteration of the Battle for the Bridge at Pioneer Memorial Stadium at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 28. The Pacers play Lake Oswego (the No. 5 Lakers are 3-1 in TRL play and 6-2 overall) in the annual Battle of the Lake at 7 p.m. Friday.
In the Lions’ win at Lakeridge, West Linn established its dominance early, racing out to a 16-0 lead at the end of the first quarter, then dropping a 35-point second-quarter bomb on the Pacers that extended their lead to 51-0 at the half.
The Lions’ first-half scores included: a 71-yard run by senior quarterback Sam Leavitt; a safety when the Pacers sent a punt snap out of the end zone; a 10-yard run by senior running back Ben Winjum; a 10-yard Leavitt pass to senior wide receiver Mark Hamper; a 12-yard Leavitt pass to senior wide receiver Jackson Shelstad; a 12-yard Leavitt pass to senior running back Koffi Kouame; a 40-yard interception return by sophomore linebacker Hudson Hardy; and a 20-yard Leavitt pass to Hamper.
Operating with a running clock in the second half, the Lions added a 60-yard blocked field goal return by Shelstad in the third quarter, while the Pacers got their lone score on an eight-yard pass from senior quarterback Ryan Oliver to junior tight end Tashi Crofut.
For the game, Leavitt carried twice for 77 yards and one TD, and completed 14 of 18 passes for 217 yards with four TDs. Hamper led West Linn receivers with eight catches for 146 yards and 2 TDs.
For Lakeridge, Oliver completed 10 of 20 throws for 107 yards with one TD and one interception, with Crofut making two catches for 13 yards and one touchdown. Senior Chili Stephens led Pacer rushers with 35 yards on eight carries.
“We limited Lakeridge to (125 yards in total) offense, so our defensive unit stepped up quite well,” Eagle said.
For his part, Phillips praised the efforts of junior linebacker Ethan Biondine and said his Pacers are continuing to work after losing five of six games to top-eight teams.
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