West Linn comes back strong, routs Lakeridge 49-0
Let's be honest.
For the West Linn football team — the reigning state champs and a team that had gone 31-2 over the past 21/2 years — the past two weeks had been hell.
But the Lions put themselves on the road to redemption on Friday, crushing Lakeridge 49-0 in their homecoming game at West Linn High School and snapping their two-game losing streak in the process.
"We were just a way different team tonight," said senior running back Ahmir McGee, who racked up 118 yards in total offense and scored two touchdowns. "We had a good week of practice — the intensity level was high. We just came out and played better this week. I just feel like everything clicked for us this week."
"It was a great way to end my senior year at home," added senior defensive back Cody Fretwell, who picked off two Lakeridge passes and took them both back for touchdowns. "I think our preparation this week definitely stepped up. We realized that we had to go out and just hit each other, hit each other in the mouth, be as physical as we could be this week in practice."
With the win, the fourth-ranked Lions improved to 4-2 in Three Rivers League play and 6-2 overall, with just Friday's 7 p.m. game at Canby remaining in the regular season.
No. 21 Lakeridge, meanwhile, saw its two-game league winning streak snapped, and fell to 3-3 in league and 4-3 overall, with second-ranked Lake Oswego looming in its season finale, set for 7 p.m. Friday at Lakeridge.
"We just didn't come to play today. I'm really disappointed," said Lakeridge junior quarterback Charlie Maynes, who accounted for 141 total yards (43 rushing, 88 passing) in the loss. "We got stuff going, but we just had mental lapses and we didn't finish drives."
"I just think we came out slow," added sophomore running back Caiden Biege-Wetherbee, who finished with 42 yards rushing on 13 carries. "We just made a lot of mental errors in the game."
The Lions hit the ground running on Friday, taking the game's opening possession and driving 60 yards on six plays to score, with senior running back Tyler Good accounting for 24 of those, including a four-yard touchdown on a shuttle pass from junior quarterback Ethan Long.
Next up, it was the West Linn defense's turn to step up, with Fretwell picking off a first-down Maynes pass at the Pacers' 47 and taking it all the back to score and give his team — after a Hunter Scott extra point — a 14-0 lead just 4 minutes, 1 second into the game.
Lakeridge came up empty on its next two series — pushing 50 yards to the West Linn 24 on the first — and the Lions cashed in again early in the second when Long scrambled to his right, hit senior wide receiver Qawi Ntsasa in the middle of the field and he cut back toward the home sideline and turned his catch into an 85-yard score and a 21-0 lead just 1:01 into the second quarter.
The Lions were back in the end zone just 1:04 later, with Fretwell intercepting Maynes again and this time taking his interception back 56 yards to score for a 28-0 lead.
"I've never had (a game) like that," Fretwell said. "Nothing like that."
"Having the defense step up and putting some points on the board really helped out, really motivated the offense," said Ntsasa, who finished with seven catches for 178 yards and one TD.
Two series later — at the end of the half and following two more Pacer punts — the Lions took over near midfield after Lakeridge kicker Joe Marini's low punt bounced off a lineman. From there, Long ran once for 17 yards and went 3 of 4 passing for 31 yards, the final two of those to senior tight end Keishon Dawkins for the touchdown and a 35-0 lead that carried into the half.
West Linn kept the heat on early in the second half, too, scoring TDs on each of its first two possessions to put the game away. The first of those came on a 29-yard McGee run over right tackle, and the second on a Long completion to McGee in the middle of the field that McGee turned into a 66-yard score with 1:48 remaining in the third quarter for the final 49-0 margin.
Hamstrung by a running clock in the final period, the Pacers managed just one first down the rest of the way, though they did get a Ronin Murphy interception of a Colby Iverson pass down the stretch.
For the game, McGee led West Linn with 52 yards on four carries, and Long went 14 of 16 passing for 239 yards and three TDs. Will Scadden led Lakeridge with four catches for 44 yards.
"I think this is just a good way to bounce back off those two losses, going into the playoffs strong," McGee said. "Hopefully, getting one more next week and going into the playoffs strong."
For their part, the Pacers — who played for a second straight week without leading rushers Jalen John and Nick Hoddevik — believe they can come back.
"I'm really looking forward to next week," Maynes said. "We'll work on that this week and get back next week."
"Anything is possible," Biege-Wetherbee added. "That's just how football is."
Next up, West Linn closes out its regular season at Canby at 7 p.m. Friday, while Lakeridge hosts league-leading Lake Oswego at 7 p.m. Friday.