Lakeridge football team punishes Newberg's mistakes in 36-0 rout
Leading Newberg 14-0, the Lakeridge football team could have been content to hit the locker room with a two-score advantage when it took over at its own 21-yard line with 1:30 remaining in the second quarter.
Many teams would have packed it in after nearly throwing an interception on first down, but the Pacers didn't waiver, as junior quarterback Charlie Maynes promptly connected with wide receiver Andre Martinez for a 34-yard gain on the next play.
Facing third and 14 at the Tigers 49-yard line, Maynes and Martinez hooked up again, this time for a 32-yard reception with less than 30 seconds to play. Two plays later, Maynes found Will Scadden in the left corner of the end zone for a 3-yard touchdown pass that made it 21-0 with 6.5 seconds on the clock and significantly changed the complexion of the game.
The successful two-minute drill proved to be quite the boost for Lakeridge, which picked up where it left off in the third quarter, adding a pair of scores en route to a 36-0 road win Friday night at Loran Douglas Field.
"We really wanted that touchdown to put us at ease," Maynes said. "We don't really like a two-touchdown lead. We want a three-touchdown lead, you know, the more the merrier. Our offense was struggling a little bit, just with penalties, and I think that touchdown leading us into half really got our minds focused."
On the flip side, the late score deflated Newberg, which had pretty much been its own worst enemy in the first half.
The Tigers fumbled three times, the first of which set up the Pacers at the Newberg 25-yard line, with Maynes eventually scoring on a 4-yard run to make it 7-0 just 2:42 into the game.
First-year head coach Kevin Hastin's team moved the ball well on its next drive, marching to the Lakeridge 36-yard line, but a botched handoff nullified that possession.
Newberg then forced a punt and appeared poised to tie the game after driving 61 yards to the Pacers' 22-yard line, but senior defensive back Connor Hilts forced a third fumble with a jarring hit on Tigers quarterback Garrett Meyers, who had broken into the second level before Hilts put his helmet on the ball, with T.J. Jakmauh pouncing on it for the recovery.
"I feel like if we would have held on to the football in the first half and stayed healthy, I think it would have been a dog fight," Hastin said. "But they happened. We had to overcome them and we couldn't."
Newberg forced another punt, but saw it's ensuing drive into Lakeridge territory fizzle after a personal foul penalty.
The Pacers broke through three plays later, as Maynes found Scadden open over the middle for what looked like a 20-yard gain before the junior shook off a couple of tacklers and rumbled the rest of the way to the end zone for a 62-yard score with 2:59 left before the half.
Lakeridge then forced a Newberg punt to set up the game-changing drive just before halftime. The Pacers then sabotaged the Tigers' first drive of the second half with an 11-yard sack on second down.
They also got great field position following a short punt and Maynes scored on a 24-yard run to squash any hopes of a Newberg comeback, though the extra point failed leaving the score 27-0 with 7:52 left in the third.
"The biggest thing we wanted to do was make sure we played better as a team," Pacers head coach Elvis Akpla said. "So when our defense makes a play, our offense responded. Then when our offense scores, our defense plays a lot better because they want to protect that."
The Tigers were already without their top two running backs, Byron Morris and Jack Evans, both of whom are also starters in the secondary. Newberg then had one of its safeties knocked out of the game with a possible concussion and also lost Myers to a pulled groin in the second quarter, so junior Gage Wright stepped in at quarterback in the second half.
The offense had success at times after the break, but was not consistent enough to sustain many drives and following the second Tigers punt of the quarter, Caiden Biege-Wetherbee, who is also Lakeridge's third-string running back but started due to injuries, added a four-yard touchdown run to make it 33-0 late in the third.
Defensive back Jared Bartunek then thwarted another promising Newberg drive by making a leaping interception in the end zone with 1:01 to play in the third. Kicker Johnny Rodas-Hills added a 34-yard field goal in the fourth quarter to cap the scoring.
"Our defense was lights out," Maynes said. "A goose egg the whole game is pretty impressive in any TRL game, so big props to them."
The Pacers (4-2, 3-2 Three Rivers League) have now won back-to-back conference games for the first time since the 2014 season and moved into a three-way tie for third-place along with West Linn and Tualatin (5-2 overall) with two games to go. Although it certainly needs to address its discipline after committing 16 penalties for 145 yards, Lakeridge will be riding high heading into next week's road game versus the Lions (5-2), who have now lost two straight.
"It's real big for us," Maynes said of the win over Newberg. "We just came off a win versus Canby and it just leads us right into West Linn next week. We're on a roll right now and we hope to keep it going."
The Tigers (2-5, 0-5) have now lost five in a row and will travel next week to play Lake Oswego (6-1, 4-1), which has won four straight after tipping the Lions 21-20 Friday night.
"We're staying positive and keeping our spirit up, but we can't be okay with losses like these," Hastin said. "We had a great week of practice. They competed and had fun. There was a lot of energy, but we have to find a way."