It's Lakeridge vs. Lake Oswego one more time in football quarterfinals
It just doesn't get any better than this.
If you love high school football, then you've got to be excited about the Lakeridge vs. Lake Oswego matchup coming up in the Class 6A state quarterfinals on Friday, Nov. 22.
The game — set for 7 p.m. Friday at Lake Oswego High School — has pretty much everything going for it.
• It's a battle between two longtime, crosstown rivals.
• It's a game that features two of the state's best running backs — Stanford-bound Lake Oswego senior Casey Filkins and Arizona-bound Lakeridge senior Jalen John.
• It's a David vs. Goliath matchup that features No. 22 Lakeridge — a team that lost its former head coach just three weeks before the start of the season and went 3-6 before the playoffs — vs. third-ranked defending state champion Lake Oswego, one of the state's premier programs.
• And finally, it's a contest that rewards the winner with a coveted state semifinal berth and the chance to keep their state-title hopes alive.
To suggest that the Pacers and Lakers are excited about the game would qualify as a massive understatement.
"We're going to do what we do every week — every week, we play a higher-ranked team than us and we've got to play with a little chip on our shoulder," said Lakeridge senior quarterback Cooper Justice. "We're going to come out and we're going to punch them in the mouth."
"It's definitely crazy that we play Lakeridge again," Filkins said. "I think it'll be the first time we've played them in the playoffs."
Coming into the game, the third-ranked Lakers carry a three-game winning streak as well as a 9-2 season record after tying for second in Special District 5 play. The Pacers, meanwhile, enter the contest with two straight playoff wins and a 5-6 overall mark after finishing fifth in Special District 5.
The Pacers are led on offense by John (he's rushed for 1,899 yards and 19 touchdowns on 208 carries), Justice (he's thrown for 1,761 yards and 16 TDs with six interceptions on 55 percent passing, along with 337 rushing yards and eight TDs), senior wide receiver Bryson Corbin (24 catches for 453 yards and five TDs) and linemen T.J. Jakmauh, Keoni Hepa and Kai Tinker.
For Lake Oswego, the Lakers look to Filkins, and look to him a lot. The reigning Oregon Offensive Player of the Year has rushed for 1,927 yards and 31 TDs on 222 carries, and down the stretch, has increasingly run the Laker offense out of the wildcat formation, also throwing two TD passes.
Beyond Filkins, the Lakers' offense looks to sophomore running back Gabe Olvera (403 yards and four TDs), senior wide receiver Joe Hutson (38 catches for 444 yards and three TDs), senior tight end Marshall McGuire and linemen Tiger Shanks, Cody Carlson, Niko Smith and Bailey Jaramillo.
"I think it's just going to be us… just executing, doing our jobs, staying disciplined and taking care of the ball," John said.
"They're going to come out and try to stop the run, just like every other team. We have to expect it," said Shanks, a senior. "I feel like we have some game-planning things that are going to help with that so it's the same thing as last time."
On "D," the Lakers have allowed just over 24 points per game and feature one of the deepest and best backfields in the state, that group led by Hutson (two interceptions) and senior Jonas Hunter at cornerback, and junior Malcolm Williams, Filkins, senior Thomas Dukart and junior sophomore Dylan Layne at safety.
Up front, the Lakers look to senior Cody Carlson, senior Marshall McGuire and junior Julian Lopez, that group aided at linebacker by senior Connor Willihnganz and junior Ty Miller.
"I think we've just got to do the same thing as last time," Shanks said. "Keep it rolling."
For Lakeridge, senior linebacker Ty Glumbik (107 tackles with 7.5 for loss) and senior safety Caiden Biege-Wetherbee (81 tackles, two interceptions) lead the way, with Hepa, Jakmauh, senior Adrian Sandoval (3.5 sacks) and junior Barrett Bevacqua on the line, sophomore Zac Waible at linebacker, and junior Andrew Oliver (six interceptions) and junior Tyeson Thomas at cornerback.
"If we come out with the mentality we had (against Aloha), we can beat them," Sandoval said. "We're being doubted, but all we can say is 'Good.'"
"I think we can (win) it if we take it out the right way," Jakmauh added.
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