With the Class 6A state football playoffs looming just over a week away, you could excuse Oregon's high school football teams if they looked ahead a little bit.
But that won't be happening in Lake Oswego.
That's because the annual Battle of the Lake — the yearly football game between the Lake Oswego and Lakeridge football teams — is set for 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 1, at Lakeridge High School and neither team is going to sleep on this one.
The contest features the second-ranked Lakers (currently 3-2 and third in Special District 5 and 6-2 overall) and the No. 21 Pacers (2-3 and fifth in SD5 and 3-5 overall) in a game that will give the winner momentum heading into the playoffs, a chance to bounce back from a Friday, Oct. 25, loss, as well as citywide bragging rights for the coming year.
And at this late stage of the year, each team knows pretty much what to expect from its crosstown rival.
"They'll do what they do best and we'll need to step up and go toe to toe with them," said Lakeridge's first-year head coach Forrest Sherman. "It will take a real solid team effort."
"We'll need to play our best game," said Lake Oswego's longtime head coach Steve Coury. "In a rival game like this, anything can happen and our kids are well aware of that."
The Lakers enter the game on the heels of a tough 35-8 loss to Tualatin a week ago, but have won the past five contests against the Pacers. Lakeridge, meanwhile, has lost two straight games and last beat the Lakers back in 2013 when they posted a 20-14 victory over LO.
The Lakers' offense is led by senior running back Casey Filkins, junior quarterback J.J. Woodin, senior wide receiver Joe Hutson, senior tight end Marshall McGuire and a line that includes senior Tiger Shanks, senior Cody Carlson, senior Niko Smith and junior Bailey Jaramillo.
Filkins, 5-foot-11, 195 pounds and a Cal-Berkeley commit, has rushed 146 times for 1,145 yards and 18 touchdowns this season, while also making 18 catches for 200 yards and another TD.
Woodin (6-4, 210) has completed 82 of 140 passes (59 percent) for 1,073 yards with 10 TDs and three interceptions. His favorite targets have been Hutson (6-1, 170) and junior wide receiver Malcolm Williams (6-1, 155), with Hutson making 28 catches for 320 yards and two TDs, and Williams 11 grabs for 224 yards and two TDs.
On defense, the Lakers are led by McGuire (6-3, 210) and Carlson (6-2, 255) on the line, and Williams (five interceptions) and Hutson (four picks) in the backfield.
The Pacers are no slouches offensively either, led by senior running back Jalen John (6-0, 215), senior quarterback Cooper Justice (6-6, 230), senior wide receivers Xander Houck and Bryson Corbin, and a line led by senior Keoni Hepa (6-3, 295), senior T.J. Jakmauh (6-5, 240), senior Eric Reilly (5-10, 217) and senior Kai Tinker (6-1, 250).
John, an Arizona commit, has rushed 116 times for 972 yards and nine TDs. Justice, in his first year as a starter, has completed 85 of 161 passes (53 percent) for 1,400 yards with 13 TDs and five interceptions. His top targets have been Houck (21 catches for 301 yards and two TDs) and Corbin (13 grabs for 292 yards and two TDs).
And on defense, Lakeridge looks to senior Ty Glumbik (6-0, 210) at inside linebacker (he leads his team with 85 tackles, 6.5 for loss), senior strong safety Caiden Biege-Wetherbee (6-0, 195 with 54 tackles), senior lineman Adrian Sandoval (6-3, 240 with a team-high 3.5 sacks) and junior defensive back Andrew Oliver (6-0, 190 with a team-high five interceptions).
"Offensively, we'll just have to execute, and on defense, we'll have to step up and be physical," Sherman said.
"We have to try and slow (John) down and eliminate big plays," Coury added. "We have respect for Lakeridge and their talent so we know it's going to be a fight."
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