The Pacers win a second Three Rivers League game for first time since the 2014 season

PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP PHOTO: TANNER RUSS - Lakeridge running back Jalen John broke free for 198 yards and two touchdowns in his team's Friday home win over Canby.Two weeks ago, the Lakeridge football team did something it hadn't done in four years — it won a Three Rivers League contest.

On Friday, the Pacers did something else new — they proved they're a competitor in the TRL.

Lakeridge rallied from a first-quarter deficit with four unanswered touchdowns and used that stretch to power past Canby 46-14 at Lakeridge High School.

"We just placed Pacer football," explained Lakeridge sophomore running back Jalen John, who finished with 198 yards and two touchdowns on 17 carries. "Our scout team did an amazing job showing us what their schemes were."

"I thought our kids came out with a lot of energy," said Pacers coach Elvis Akpla, whose team came back from a 48-19 loss to Tigard a week earlier. "They were really motivated after their performance against Tigard last week. I just challenged them to put together a complete game because we are a very good football team. Our kids just need to realize that and hone in on everything that they've been working towards and continue to get better and be more consistent. I think they did that tonight."

With the win, the No. 20 Pacers improved to 2-2 in TRL play and 3-2 overall, while 31st-ranked Canby fell to 1-3 in league and 2-4 overall.

The difference was "one guy (John)," Vaught said. "When it's third-and-12 and you hand the guy the ball and we can't tackle him ... I can't get on the kids at all. They were in position, they hit him, they wrapped him up, and he's just physically the most impressive back I've ever coached against, and I've been doing this 35 years."

After Lakeridge forced a punt on Canby's first series, the Pacers came back with an 80-yard scoring drive built on John's 71-yard run to the Canby two-yard line, and then, junior quarterback Charlie Maynes' four-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Will Scadden. While the extra point failed, the Pacers led 6-0.

Canby answered with its best drive of the game, marching 80 yards down the field on the backs of junior running backs Steven Dale and Elijah Donalson. Cougar quarterback Trent Wakefield then ran the ball in from 12 yards out after rolling to his right and seeing open field with 51.1 seconds left in the first quarter. Junior kicker Dalton Sherrill's point after attempt was good and Canby took its only lead of the game at 7-6.

Lakeridge responded with a dynamite second quarter that included three unanswered touchdowns and a 20-0 scoring edge that gave the Pacers a 26-7 edge at the half. Already driving when the first quarter ended, the Pacers scored their second touchdown of the night early in the second period when Maynes connected with sophomore Matt Peterson for a 57-yard TD pass that put Lakeridge back in the lead at 12-7.

After a Lakeridge stop and a trade of turnovers — Canby defensive back Joe Henry intercepted a Maynes pass and Lakeridge recovered a fumble after Sherrill bobbled a punt snap — the Pacers went back to John. This time, they marched 47 yards down the field to score, getting a TD on a one-yard John run for a 19-7 Lakeridge advantage.

On that drive, Sherrill — who also doubles as a defensive lineman — was helped off the field with what appeared to be an ACL injury.

For his part, John wasn't done for the night. With just 10.5 seconds remaining in the first half, the Lakeridge running back took the ball in from 13 yards out for his second touchdown of the night and sophomore kicker Ben De Varies added the point after to put the Pacers up 26-7 at the half.

To start the third quarter, the Lakeridge offense ate up a good portion of the clock, taking nearly five minutes to work its way 77 yards down the field and score. This time, Maynes ran the ball in from three yards out after scrambling away from several tacklers to make it 33-7 for Lakeridge.

Canby did show signs of life in the second half, utilizing Dale and Donalson on the ensuing drive to march 80 yards and score on a three-yard Dale touchdown run with 2:26 left in the third quarter to bring the Cougars within 33-14.

"It felt like we had so much momentum on the drive, I just wanted to finish it off," Dale said.

Lakeridge put Maynes to good use on the next series, as a series of Pacer passes brought them to the Canby 13-yard line. From there, another pass from Maynes to Scadden widened the Pacers' lead to 39-14.

The final scoring play of the game was a 13-yard Maynes TD pass to Lakeridge sophomore Xander Houck.

John "is consistently a big playmaker for us on offense," Akpla said. "He continues to pull off really incredible runs, and he's only going to get better as he starts to understand the intricacies of our offense. He's starting to read our linemen really well, and our linemen are getting better. They had a really improved week, and it's making (it) easier for Jalen to see things."

"I say we were just as good a team as them, but they had (John) and he threw us off," Dale added. "The turn came at about the end of the second quarter when they ran up the score."

For the game, Lakeridge racked up 443 yards in total offense, Maynes went 12 of 19 passing for 187 yards and three TDs, Petersen made five catches for 121 yards and one score, and Scadden had five catches for 49 yards and two scores.

Next up, the Pacers play at Newberg at 7 p.m. Friday, while Canby hosts Tualatin at 7 p.m. Friday.

— Miles Vance contributed to this story

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