Lake Oswego beats Oregon City 42-20 in long-awaited opener
On the plus side, the 2019 Lake Oswego football team played longer and later into the '19 season than all but one high school team in the state of Oregon.
On the negative side, however, because of a COVID-19 outbreak at Lake Oswego High School, the 2020 version of the Lakers — the ones playing early in '21 — opened the current season later than all but one other high school football team in the entire state.
With all that as pretext — the Lakers' first two games had been canceled due to the outbreak — Lake Oswego made the most of its opener, racing past Oregon City 42-20 at Lake Oswego High School on Friday, March 19.
"I was very excited for the season to come," said Lake Oswego junior running back Gabe Olvera, who rushed 11 times for 141 yards and three touchdowns, and also caught three passes for 64 yards. "With the two canceled games at the beginning of the season, it was kind of tough, but we bounced back, and we were ready for them tonight."
"It was time to get back on the field with my teammates and everything was just a lot of fun," said Laker senior running back/defensive end Zach Mahan, who rushed 16 times for 75 yards and two TDs, and also knocked down two Oregon City passes and had a sack. "Yeah, the last two Fridays were kind of tough. … Knowing that we wouldn't have a game, you just had to sit in your house and kind of watch. It was pretty frustrating, but I think we kind of showed today that we were fired up and we can play."
With the win, the Lakers improved to 1-0 in Three Rivers League play and 1-0 overall, while the Pioneers fell to 0-3 in TRL play and 0-3 overall.
"You know, it sucks that we lost, but I think the good thing is that last year at the half, it was the mercy rule and a running clock," said Oregon City senior quarterback Trey Martin, who went 22 of 41 passing for 266 yards and two touchdowns. "I'm just proud of the way our line played."
"I'm just so thankful to be out here playing football with all my friends," said senior running back/defensive back Logan West Peyton, who rushed 10 times for 16 yards and one touchdown and also made an interception. "It's basically a brotherhood out here, and even though we (haven't gotten) the outcomes we want recently, we're just all happy to be out here on the field again."
The Lakers were certainly happy to be out there for the first time in '21, taking the game's opening possession and driving 71 yards to score in just six plays and 1 minute, 46 seconds. Junior quarterback Jack Layne hit Olvera twice for 49 yards, sophomore Calvin Macy ran for 14 yards and Olvera did the rest on the ground, eventually bashing into the end zone from a yard out for a 7-0 lead.
Then, after a quick stop by the LO defense, the Lakers marched 85 yards to score again, with Layne hitting four straight passes for 37 yards, Macy picking up 22 yards on two carries, and Mahan handling the rest, carrying five times for 19 yards including a 2-yard dive for a 14-0 lead with 1:43 left in the first quarter.
After a trade of punts, the Pioneers stepped up to score and close within 14-7, driving 80 yards behind Martin, who completed 6 of 8 passes for 77 yards, including a 13-yard scoring strike to junior wide receiver Joey Shaw with 6:25 to go in the half.
"I believe that we have one of the best receiving corps in the state," Martin said. "So being able to exploit them and being able to throw the ball to them is … a layer to our offense that ... I don't think anybody really expects."
The Pioneers had a chance to get even closer, too, and saw that chance come almost immediately. Just three plays later — with the Lakers facing a first-and-10 from their own 33-yard line — Peyton picked off a Layne pass in the left flat and returned it all the way to the LO 2-yard line.
But there, just 2 yards away from a tie game, Oregon City imploded. The Pioneers incurred back-to-back penalties to retreat 10 yards, saw Mahan knock down a Martin pass, and on fourth down, saw senior Christian Ferreyra's 29-yard field goal miss right.
But Oregon City recovered from that, got a stop, then scored in just three plays. Martin hit junior James Carter for 9 yards, scrambled to set up a 20-yard completion to senior Jahleel Heath, then went back to Heath for a 16-yard TD connection at the right flag. Ferreyra's extra point was blocked by LO junior Gavin McGuire to keep the Lakers' lead at 14-13 with 3:06 remaining in the half.
The Lakers responded big-time from there, cranking out an 82-yard scoring drive in just 1:27, with Olvera providing the highlights. First, Olvera had a 45-yard burst up the middle, and two plays later, a 13-yard jaunt that gave his team a 21-13 edge at the half.
Lake Oswego duplicated that feat early in the third quarter, with Olvera doing the scoring honors again, this time on a stop-and-go, make the "D" miss 11-yard TD run for a 28-13 lead 2:11 into the half.
"The line was creating holes for us and pushing the defense back," Olvera said. "(They) made great areas for me to run in. Overall, (it was) just a great effort by them."
Then, after an OC punt, the Lakers needed just one play to score, with Macy taking a fly sweep around left end, spinning past one defender, cutting back and racing 79 yards to score and extend the LO lead to 35-13.
Then, after McGuire's sack ended the next OC possession on fourth down, Mahan and the LO line — Cole Leeper, Tylen Gustaff, Austin Leykam, Jacob Johnstone and McGuire — drove 56 yards to score again. Mahan carried seven times on that drive for 33 yards, including a 1-yard TD plunge that gave the Lakers a 42-13 edge with 9:58 left in the game.
The Pioneers came back with an 83-yard scoring march highlighted by Martin's 53-yard completion to Heath and capped by Peyton's 3-yard run for the final 42-20 margin.
Macy added five carries for 117 yards, while Layne went 11 of 21 passing for 140 yards with one interception. For OC, Heath caught eight passes for 139 yards and junior Cade Heitschmidt seven for 47.
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