It was the immovable object vs. the irresistible force.
It was Lake Oswego vs. Lakeridge.
And it was LO senior running back Casey Filkins vs. Pacer senior running back Jalen John.
In the end, it was Filkins and the Lakers who got their way, breaking open a three-point game by outscoring Lakeridge by three touchdowns over the game's final 2+ quarters to win 41-17 in the annual Battle of the Lake at Lakeridge High School on Friday, Nov. 1.
For the Lakers, Filkins and his offensive line were dominant throughout, with the Cal-Berkeley commit carrying 36 times for 251 yards and five touchdowns. On his side of the line, the Arizona commit John was nearly as good, rushing 25 times for 246 yards and two TDs of his own.
"It feels good. That's four wins against (Lakeridge)," Filkins said. "That doesn't happen all the time, especially against your rival team."
"It was a really good night. I'm feeling really good," said Lake Oswego senior tackle Tiger Shanks, who helped the Lakers rush for 347 yards in the game. "That was our game plan — 5 yards a pop. That's all you can really ask for."
With the win, the third-ranked Lakers shook off last week's disappointing loss to Tualatin and finished Special District 5 play in a second-place tie with Tualatin at 4-2 and at 7-2 overall. No. 22 Lakeridge, meanwhile, lost for the third straight time and finished SD5 play at 2-4 and 3-6 overall.
"I feel like on the first couple of drives, the 'O' line, we really had a motor and Jalen did as well," said Lakeridge senior lineman Keoni Hepa. "But we were just getting tired on (both sides of the ball) because we had guys playing both ways — that was a key at the end of the game."
"(Filkins is) a special player. We worked hard to defend against him, but sometimes it's just the way the cookie crumbles," said Lakeridge senior linebacker Brian Hamlin. "But we'll keep our heads up and move on to next week. We've got our eyes on the playoffs now."
That said, the Pacers hit the ground running on Friday night, with John taking a handoff over left tackle on the fourth play from scrimmage and racing 67 yards to score. Along with Ben DeVries' ensuing extra point, Lakeridge led 7-0 just 1 minute, 2 seconds into the contest.
The Lakers didn't blink, though, and answered on their first series with an 80-yard scoring drive that saw Filkins — operating much of the night as LO's quarterback — rush four times for 49 yards, including a 17-yard TD sprint around left end to tie the game at 7-7 with 6:14 to go in the first quarter.
While neither team scored again in the first quarter, the Lakers took over at the end of the period after forcing back-to-back Pacer punts. Beginning from its own 29, Lake Oswego scored nine plays later, with Filkins carrying seven times for 62 yards and the touchdown coming on a 10-yard run over the left side that — after Diyar Dezay's PAT was partially blocked — gave the Lakers a 13-7 lead with 8:23 left in the half.
The Pacers came back with one of their best drives of the game, marching 70 yards to the Laker 2-yard line behind John and his offensive line, but it all went wrong for Lakeridge there. John lost a yard on two carries, then had to leave the game on third-and-goal after his helmet got ripped off on second down. Hamlin then got stopped for no gain on third down and the Pacers were forced to settle for a 20-yard DeVries field goal and a 13-10 deficit with 2:56 to go in the half.
In addition to the victory of preventing a touchdown, the Lakers made Lakeridge pay in the remaining minutes of the half, driving 65 yards in 10 plays to score again, with Filkins carrying eight straight times for 48 yards and quarterback J.J. Woodin hitting wide receiver Jonas Hunter over the left side for a 9-yard score and a 20-10 lead with just 12 seconds to go in the half.
The Lakers then carried that momentum into the second half big-time. They took their opening series of the third quarter and drove 65 yards for their fourth TD, with Filkins adding another 10 carries for 51 yards and scoring over the right side on a 4-yard run for a 27-10 edge midway through the period.
Things got worse for the Pacers after that, too. Lakeridge punted the ball away after one first down on its next series, and this time, the Lakers needed just five plays and 1:42 to score, with running back Gabe Olvera carrying twice for 17 yards and Filkins doing the rest. He rushed three times for 24 yards, with the TD coming on a 3-yard run over the left side for a 34-10 lead with 3:02 to go in the quarter.
While Lakeridge quarterback Cooper Justice connected with Xander Houck for a 47-yard completion on their next series, they short-circuited at the Laker 38-yard line and Lake Oswego added the final nail in the Pacers' coffin after that.
Starting from their own 14, the Lakers powered down the field behind their "O" line, with Filkins carrying three times for 19 yards before leaving the game at the start of the fourth quarter and Olvera taking over from there. After Filkins' exit, Olvera carried seven straight times for 55 yards, including a 1-yard TD run over the left side that boosted his team's lead to 41-10.
"Lots of credit to our line — they've just gotten better each game," Filkins said. "They've just gotten better this entire year."
"We just tried to make sure that we had every hole filled because we know that (Filkins is) a great running back and he just needs a little gap to get to the end zone so we really focused on making sure our alignment was right," Hepa said.
The Pacers had one more lightning bolt in their quiver, responding with a 99-yard drive that ended when John took a dive up the middle and broke it for a 77-yard TD run with 5:36 to go.
"Jalen is an explosive player," Shanks said. "If you let him catch the edge, he's going for six."
For the game, Olvera rushed 15 times for 85 yards, and Filkins and Woodin completed 5 of 7 passes for 47 yards, with Joe Hutson catching three balls for 29 yards.
For Lakeridge, Justice went 3 of 11 passing for 63 yards, with Houck catching two for 57 yards.
Next up, Lake Oswego will host No. 30 Grants Pass (4-5 after finishing fourth in the Special District 7) on Friday, Nov. 8, in the first round of the Class 6A state playoffs. The start time for that game has not yet been announced.
Lakeridge, meanwhile, will play at No. 11 Beaverton (7-2 after tying for second place in Soecial District 2) at 7 p.m. Friday in its playoff opener.
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