The Pacers football team wins for the first time in 17 league contests and 1,072 days

REVIEW PHOTO: MILES VANCE - Lakeridge sophomore running back Jalen John hurdles a defender during his team's 49-42 overtime win over Sherwood at Lakeridge High School on Friday.The last two winless seasons in the Three Rivers League were hard for the Lakeridge football team.

Dropping 17 straight games in the TRL over parts of four seasons was hard, too.

And playing in the TRL — home of giants such as West Linn, Tigard and Sherwood — has always been hard.

With all that as pretext, it almost makes sense that Friday — the night that Lakeridge broke that hated losing streak — was hard, too.

The Pacers, hosting Sherwood in the second week of the 2017 TRL season — also their Homecoming game — made all those hard times worth the wait, rallying from a two-score deficit to win 49-42 in overtime in front of a raucous Lakeridge crowd.

"Of course it has to be like this, huh? It can't be easy," said senior running back Nick Hoddevik, who finished the game with 21 carries for 213 yards and two touchdowns. "It's been three years. I'm a senior and I'm lost for words. Honestly, this is one of the greatest feelings I've ever had in football in my entire career."

"It feels amazing," said sophomore running back Jalen John, who added 204 yards and three TDs — including the game-winner in overtime — on 17 carries. "If we can play like that every game, we've got good things coming this year."

"it feels amazing. We definitely earned this one," added sophomore offensive lineman T.J. Jakmauh, who helped the Pacers rush for 435 yards as a team. "Our team, we wanted it more than anything. We needed it for our brothers, for our whole community. Our school needed this."

With the win, the Pacers evened their TRL mark at 1-1 and lifted their season record to 2-1, while the Bowmen lost for a third straight time and fell to 0-2 in league and 1-3 overall.

"We've just got to fix some things up as a team and we can compete with anybody out here," said Sherwood senior quarterback Wyatt Zettlemoyer, who went 7 for 12 passing for 95 yards and one TD, and added another 22 yards on the ground. "We expected to come out here and play better than we did, but it didn't turn out the way we wanted it to."

"This year, the TRL is a tough League," said senior running back/safety Zach Jenkins, who picked off one Lakeridge pass and returned it for a touchdown, threw a halfback pass for another score, and also caught a touchdown pass. "Anyone can win against anyone else on any given night. We wanted to win, we expected to win, but it didn't end that way."

Sherwood drew first blood on Friday when Jenkins picked off a Charlie Maynes pass in the right flat and took it back 25 yards for a touchdown with 5 minutes, 26 seconds left in the first quarter.

Lakeridge answered four plays later when John took a Maynes handoff over right tackle, cut to the sideline and left the Sherwood defense behind for a 67-yard TD that tied the game at 7-7.

Sherwood moved back in front on its next series, driving 65 yards on 10 plays — including four carries by Ben Baxter for 25 yards — with Baxter scoring from one yard out to make it 13-7 on the final play of the first quarter.

Two series later, John fumbled the ball away to Sherwood's Colin Anderson and gave the Bowmen possession at the Lakeridge 37. Sherwood scored six plays later when Ian Stormont went over left tackle untouched for a four-yard score and — following Kaedin Steindorf's extra point — a 19-7 lead with 36 seconds left in the first half.

The Pacers started fast in the third quarter, getting a 74-yard Hoddevik scoring run over the right side on the third play of the second half. But the Bowmen came right back, driving 66 yards in eight plays to score, capping that series on a 25-yard Zettlemoyer-to-Jenkins TD pass, with Jenkins making a leaping catch at the goal line to give his team a 26-14 edge with 5:43 remaining in the third.

Maynes and junior wide receiver Will Scadden stepped up on the next series, connecting twice for 34 yards, the second of those a lob to the left flag for a 13-yard score that cut their team's deficit to 26-20 with 2:55 left in the third.

Then, when the Pacer "D" forced a Sherwood punt after five plays, Lakeridge drove 80 yards in six plays to take its first lead of the game. John picked up 25 yards on two carries, Hoddevik added 11 more to the Bowmen 44, and from there, Hoddevik went over right tackle, broke free and raced 44 yards to score. Along with Ben DeVries' extra point, the Pacers led 27-26 with 10:17 remaining in the contest.

That lead, however, lasted just 18 seconds. On first down of the ensuing series, Jenkins took a Zettlemoyer pitch to the right side, pulled up and threw long to Jaret Scott for a 72-yard score and a 32-27 lead with 9:59 remaining.

After a Sherwood stop, the Bowmen tacked on a 26-yard Steindorf field goal to lead 35-27 with just 3:11 left to play — but Lakeridge did not blink.

The Pacers drove 76 yards in just five plays and 1:36 to score, with Maynes hitting Scadden on the left sideline where Scadden spun away from a defender and turned the catch into a 66-yard TD. John then went over left tackle on the conversion run to knot the score at 35-35 with 1:29 left in regulation.

In the remaining moments, the Bowmen drove 53 yards to the Lakeridge 12, misfired on a throw to the end zone, then sent Steindorf out to win the game on a 28-yard field goal attempt with five seconds left to play. But Steindorf's kick missed right — barely — and the game advanced to the Kansas Plan overtime.

There, John scored in two plays — a 19-yard run and a six-yard score — Rustin Williams answered with a four-yard TD on the ground for Sherwood, and John hit paydirt again — from two yards — to make it 49-42.

On Sherwood's final series, Stormont picked up two yards, Zettlemoyer threw an incompletion and then hit Baxter for four yards to the 19-yard line. There, facing a fourth-and-four, Zettlemoyer threw toward Sterling Goldstein on the left sideline, but the Pacers defended the play, saw the ball fall to the turf and could finally celebrate their first TRL win in 1,072 days.

"I feel like I'm on top of the world, honestly," said senior linebacker and team captain Hunter Paulson. "Our defense played great — we practiced against their offense all week. Our offense did what they could and our running game was amazing. I'm just loving everyone here."

"I always knew we were going to win," Jakmauh said. "But when the last pass fell incomplete, that was the best feeling I've ever had in my life."

On the other side of the field, the Bowmen left determined to get better and come back strong.

"They just had more energy in the second half than we did," Jenkins said. "They wanted it more."

"The whole time — they were in it, we were in it," Zettlemoyer said. "We just didn't execute at the very end."

For the game, Maynes went 6 of 14 passing for 125 yards, one TD and one interception, with Scadden making five catches for 120 yards and two scores. Baxter led Sherwood with 73 yards and one TD on six carries. Scott paced Sherwood receivers with two catches for 86 yards.

Next week, Lakeridge plays at Tigard at 7 p.m. Friday, while Sherwood hosts Canby at 7 p.m. Friday.

To see an additional slideshow of of the best Homecoming images, click here.

Contact Sports Editor Miles Vance at 503-330-0127 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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