It's the playoffs.
There are going to be challenges.
And the Lake Oswego football team definitely got that on Friday, Nov. 15.
The Lakers, hosting West Salem in the second round of the Class 6A state playoffs, fell behind the Titans by two touchdowns early in the third quarter, but outscored them by 18 points the rest of the way to win 42-31 at Lake Oswego High School.
"The game definitely was tough," said senior running back Casey Filkins, who led his team with 24 carries for 232 yards and five touchdowns. "We started off strong, but they are a good team and they battled back — they made us make some mistakes. Credit to them for sure. But we hung in there the entire game and battled through adversity like we have the entire year."
"They were a good team. They rode the momentum for sure," said Lake Oswego senior receiver/defensive back Joe Hutson, who finished with four catches for 58 yards and one TD. "There were a couple times when we hurt ourselves with turnovers."
"I wouldn't say we were taking them lightly, but they definitely got some momentum on their side and they were definitely riding it for a while," said Lake Oswego senior lineman Tiger Shanks, who helped lead the way for Filkins' big day on the ground. "But once we regrouped and figured out what we were going to do after halftime, we implemented our plans and we were fine."
With the victory, the third-ranked Lakers won for the third straight time and lifted their season record to 9-2 after tying for second in Special District 5 play. The victory also set up a quarterfinal battle with crosstown rival Lakeridge in a game set for 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 22, at Lake Oswego High School. For more on that matchup, see the accompanying story.
No. 19 West Salem, meanwhile, saw its two-game winning streak snapped and ended its year at 6-5 after placing second in Special District 6.
While there were big challenges later on, the Lakers started quickly against the Titans, getting a pair of Filkins touchdown runs in the first quarter — the first from 59 yards and the second from 6 yards — to lead West Salem 14-0.
The Titans took over in the second quarter, though. While the Lakers struggled on offense — they lost three fumbles on the night — West Salem got a 17-yard TD pass from Jackson Lowery to Nick Paslay, a 23-yard Nathan Garcia scoring run, and later, a 3-yard Garcia TD run to take a 21-14 lead into halftime.
Things got worse for Lake Oswego before they got better, too. The Lakers put the ball on the ground again at the start of the third quarter, and this time, West Salem's Josiah Martin took it back 60 yards for the score and a 28-14 lead.
The Lakers, however, didn't panic. They got the ball back, they went to their powerful running game and got a 5-yard Filkins TD. Then, after a stop by the Laker "D," Filkins scored again, this time on a 3-yard run to tie the game 28-28 at the end of the period.
While West Salem kicker Cooper Johnson helped his team re-take the lead at 31-28 on a 32-yard field goal, the Titans wouldn't score again and the Lakers just kept coming.
Filkins connected with Hutson for a 31-yard scoring strike that put Lake Oswego back in front at 35-31, the Lakers' defense came through again, and finally, Filkins tacked on his fifth TD — a 14-yard run — for the final 42-31 margin.
"They were definitely riding the momentum and we faced some adversity, but we were able to come together," Hutson said. "It didn't really faze us. We balled out at the end."
"The key to winning was our team dynamic," Filkins added. "When things get tough, we get closer. I think that's the difference with us. We embraced the adversity we faced and made plays down the stretch."
Filkins also completed 3 of 6 passes for 53 yards and one TD, while sophomore Jack Layne hit 4 of 7 throws for 45 yards. While the Lakers lost three fumbles, they also recovered two by West Salem — by senior Jonas Hunter and freshman Zach Mahan.
For West Salem, Garcia carried 28 times for 108 yards and Lowery 14 times for 85 more. Lowery completed 11 of 23 throws for 159 yards, with Paslay making six catches for 124 yards and one score.
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