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Falcons eliminate Lions from race for fourth Northwest Oregon Conference state seed, 45-6

SPOTLIGHT PHOTO: JAKE MCNEAL - Lions junior quarterback Leif Nelson (16) fires downfield.SPOTLIGHT PHOTO: JAKE MCNEAL - Lions senior linebacker Dylan Kessinger (4) returns a third-quarter interception to the St. Helens 18-yard line.SPOTLIGHT PHOTO: JAKE MCNEAL - Lions junior tight end Jacob Klein (42) runs a fake punt up the left sideline.SPOTLIGHT PHOTO: JAKE MCNEAL - Lions senior defensive lineman Dylan Lobby (56) tackles La Salle Prep sophomore running back JaJaun Lane.SPOTLIGHT PHOTO: JAKE MCNEAL - St. Helens' Jacob Klein (42), Dylan Lobby (56), Caleb Carter (76), Caden Willaby (77), Ethan Armstrong (60), Dylan Kessinger (4) and St. Helens attempt to block La Salle Prep freshman Ian Carver's 27-yard third-quarter field goal.



Leif Nelson faked left and threw a three-yard touchdown to Shawn Lee in the right flat with 8:45 left Thursday, Oct. 12, at Doc Ackerson Stadium, and the juniors' feat helped the Homecoming Lions avoid their first shutout since their 42-0 Sept. 21, 2012 loss to Sherwood on the same field.

La Salle Prep junior quarterback Ethan Edgerly and senior wide receiver Tae Brooks, however, linked up for a pair of passing touchdowns and a keeper in a 45-6 win that eliminated St. Helens from the race for the Northwest Oregon Conference's fourth and final automatic Class 5A state qualification.

"I was a little worried on Monday [after falling 28-19 at No. 6 Sandy and 36-34 in Milwaukie in the last two weeks], but we blew any worry I had away," Falcons coach Aaron Hazel said. "The most important game of your life is always next week."

La Salle (4-3 overall, 3-2 Northwest Oregon) stayed hungry and tightened its grip on the fourth seed as they lead Putnam (3-4, 2-3 after its 51-6 loss Thursday in Sandy) by a game and a head-to-head tiebreaker with two games to play.

The Falcons, itching to make state for the first time since their Class 4A quarterfinal run in 2012 and to beat the Lions (1-6, 1-4) for the first time in their four-year conference rivalry, blocked Hayden Laughlin's punt and took over at the St. Helens 23-yard line with 8:51 in the first.

Sophomore running back JaJuan Lane's six-yard run up the middle and freshman Ian Carver's point-after sparked a 7-0 lead a minute and 21 seconds later.

Chase Parkhurst's fourth-down pass fell incomplete left at the Lions' 41, and Edgerly ran seven yards up the middle from the shotgun for six to put the Falcons up 14-0 after a quarter.

Senior running back JJ Menor lept up and over the pile for a three-yard touchdown run, and La Salle Prep led 21-0 with 10:16 to halftime.

The Lions chased Edgerly to his sideline, but he found Brooks on a comeback route in traffic and the all-conference talent cut 65 yards back up and across the middle of the field for six and a 28-0 advance with 5:32 to the break.

Edgerly let fly a 34-yard spiral for Brooks down the right side on their next drive, and Brooks reeled it in for a score and a 35-0 influence at intermission.

Dylan Kessinger picked Edgerly over the right hash of the St. Helens 10 and brought it back to the 18 two minutes into the third, and Jacob Klein ran a fake 4th-and-1 punt from his own 42 to the Falcons' 43.

La Salle picked Nelson, who spelled Parkhurst in the second half, however, and reached the La Salle 47.

The Falcons fumbled away a long run up the middle at the St. Helens 16, but the Lions lost it right back at their 18 eight seconds later.

Carver split the uprights with a 27-yard field goal and La Salle remained unblemished after a wacky third, 38-0.

Nelson's sleight of hand found Lee uncovered to his right and, though Falcons junior running back Isaac Calvert-Russell finished with a four-yard burst, St. Helens celebrated its boys in black and its Homecoming king and queen, Tyler Lyman and Sophia Estep.

"Have a fun, safe weekend," Lions coach Cory Young said, before his players answered, "Family."

St. Helens is scheduled to play at Putnam (3-4, 2-3) at 7 p.m. Friday.

LA SALLE PREP 45, ST. HELENS 6

Thursday, Oct. 12, at Doc Ackerson Stadium

Scoring

LS 14 21 13 7 -- 45

SH 0 0 0 6 -- 6

First quarter

LS JaJuan Lane 6-yard run (Ian Carver PAT), 7:30

LS Ethan Edgerly 7-yard run (Carver PAT), 2:23

Second quarter

LS JJ Menor 3-yard run (Carver PAT), 10:16

LS Tae Brooks 65-yard pass from Edgerly (Carver PAT), 5:32

LS Brooks 34-yard pass from Edgerly (Carver PAT), 1:25

Third quarter

LS Carver 27-yard field goal, 2:24

Fourth quarter

SH Shawn Lee 3-yard pass from Leif Nelson (Kyle Parnell PAT missed), 8:45

LS Isaac Calvert-Russell 4-yard run (Carver PAT), 2:54

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