Fired-up Lake Oswego rallies past Tualatin
TUALATIN — The Tualatin High School football team was fired up from the start.
The Timberwolves, in their game with Lake Oswego, jumped out to a quick 14-0 lead and they went on to claim a 21-13 advantage at the end of the second quarter.
That put the Lakers in a position they haven't been in all season — on the losing end of the score at halftime.
They didn't like it, and they did something about it.
The motivated Lake Oswego squad came up with big plays on both sides of the ball in the second half, as it rallied to score a 28-21 win over the Timberwolves in a Three Rivers League battle played Friday at Tualatin High School.
"This was huge," said Lake Oswego junior Joe Hutson, who had a key fourth-quarter interception. "We came out kind of slow, but we picked it up after halftime. Coach (Steve) Coury got us going. He's a really good coach. At halftime, he gave us a speech, and we all rallied."
"It didn't go our way in the first half," said Laker junior Thomas Dukart, who had a 99-yard touchdown reception. "I think we took them kind of lightly, because they lost to West Linn and we beat West Linn. But, in the second half, we got fired up. Coach Coury got us all fired up at halftime. We were fired up."
"It was a great game," said Lake Oswego junior Casey Filkins, who rushed for 138 yards and three touchdowns. "We came out a little flat in the first half. I don't want to repeat the halftime talk, but it got us going. After halftime, our sideline was jumping around and that also got us going. I don't think they understand how big that is for us to watch from the field."
With the win, Lake Oswego improved to 4-0 in TRL games (7-1 overall), keeping the Lakers alone atop the league standings.
"It was intense. Tualatin is a great team, a top TRL team, and they're competitive and physical, and you get that in the TRL every week," Filkins said. "It was great to play against them, and now we have another tough one next week."
Tualatin which was hampered by turnovers for the second straight week, moved to 1-2 in TRL play, and to 6-2 on the season with the setback.
"I thought we played a great game, a great first half," Tualatin senior running back Kyle Kamp said. "We came out flying. And then it was just turnovers in the second half that held us back."
"It was a good game. We came out on fire," said Tualatin junior John Miller, who scored a pair of touchdowns in the contest. "We tried to finish it, but it didn't work out, we didn't take care of the ball. It's just little things that we need to work on in practice. It's fixable, but it sucks that we've done it two weeks in a row. That cost us the game."
"It was a pretty good game," Tualatin senior lineman Quinn McCarthy said. "We just have to fix the mental mistakes and hold on to the ball. We'll come out next week and kick some butt."
The Timberwolves, fired up at the beginning, got off to a fast start to Friday's game. On their first possession, with junior quarterback Blake Jackson leading the offense, they quickly moved down the field. A 27-yard pass from Jackson to junior Luke Marion helped set up Miller's 1-yard touchdown run.
Miller's TD capped off a 14-play, 70-yard drive and gave Tualatin a 7-0 lead with 5 minutes and 59 seconds left to play in the first quarter.
The Timberwolf defense then forced the Lakers into a three-and-out. Marion then blocked the ensuing Lake Oswego punt, with the ball being recovered on the Laker 3-yard line. Two plays later, Tualatin senior Dominque Loggins scored on a 1-yard run, upping the Wolves' lead to 14-0 with 3:41 remaining in the first quarter.
The Lakers were able to answer back, with Filkins, after taking a direct snap, scored on a 32-yard run, cutting the Tualatin lead to 14-7 with 1:02 left to play in the opening period.
In the second quarter, after a Timberwolf drive stalled, Tualatin senior Kyle Dernedde had a 45-yard punt downed at the Lake Oswego 1-yard line.
On the very next play, Lake Oswego senior quarterback Jackson Laurent threw the ball to Dukart on the left side of the field. Dukart, after going up high to wrestle the ball away from a Tualatin defender, came down and then took off down the left sideline for a 99-yard touchdown pass play.
"I've never had a longer touchdown before. It felt great," Dukart said with a smile. "It was a bit of a jump ball. I went over the top and took it, and ultimately scored a touchdown. It was the best, feeling the wind going past you when you're running down the sideline."
The extra point failed following the long touchdown, leaving Tualatin with a 14-13 lead with 8:11 remaining before halftime. The Wolves would then be able to add onto their lead.
A 37-yard run by Kamp moved the ball down to the Lake Oswego 8-yard line.
"(Tualatin senior lineman) Dane Norlin told me right before the play that the hole was going to be open," Kamp said. "He knew it. He had our O-line ready for it. Our O-line did great all night."
Two plays later, Miller scored on a 4-yard run, upping the Timberwolf lead to 21-13 with 50 seconds left to play in the first half.
Soon after, the Lakers went to halftime trailing at the break for the first time this season, and shaking their heads.
"Going into the locker room, we were talking about how we just can't quit," Dukart said. "We have to come out ready to play, always."
And the Lakers certainly seemed ready to play as the second half began.
In the first possession of the third quarter, Lake Oswego moved 66 yards in 11 plays. An 18-yard pass from Laurent to Dukart helped set up Filkins' 3-yard touchdown run. A successful 2-point conversion pass from Laurent to junior tight end Marshall McGuire tied the game at 21-21, with 6:08 left to play in the third quarter.
The next time the Lakers had the ball, they put together another scoring drive. A pair of passes from Laurent to Hutson helped set up an 8-yard TD run by Filkins, giving Lake Oswego its first lead of the game, at 28-21, with 11:17 left to play in the contest.
Now, it was Tualatin's turn to try and rally back. Jackson completed passes of 27 yards to senior Jake Anderson and 20 yards to Miller, moving the ball deep into Lake Oswego territory. But, on first-down play from the Laker 6-yard line, the Wolves fumbled at the three, with Laker senior linebacker Bryson Breeze recovering the loose ball.
Lake Oswego then moved the ball into Tualatin territory, but Filkins fumbled, with Tualatin junior Cody Van Meter recovering the ball at the Timberwolf 31-yard line with 2:58 left to play in the game.
But, on the very next play, Tualatin, trying a pass off a reverse, had the ball intercepted by Hutson in Laker territory.
"I saw the reverse, and I knew they were doing a fake play, because that's how they are, they like their fake plays," Hutson said. "I saw the other receiver run across the field, and I saw our other guy, Matthew Sebolsky covering him really well, and I came underneath and I saw the ball short, so I just came up and grabbed it."
Tualatin, still battling, forced Lake Oswego to punt following the turnover, and the Wolves took over on their own 24-yard line with no timeouts and 2:14 left in the game.
A 28-yard pass from Jackson to Miller moved the ball to the Laker 48-yard line. But Tualatin, with four straight incomplete passes, turned the ball over on downs. Lake Oswego then ran out the clock, getting the hard-fought 28-21 win.
"The second half was a completely different story. In the second half, we were running the ball really well, which we didn't get to do very much in the first half, and we capitalized," Filkins said. "The first half, I'm not going to lie, it wasn't so fun. In the second half, when things were clicking a little more, it was more fun. We were motivated. Honestly, I (was getting upset), because I was fumbling all over the place, but my team picked me up. Joe saved me, and we live to see another win."
"It was very intense," Hutson said. "It's always fun playing in a game like this. This was really fun. I'm stoked. This was great."
"This was probably the most intense game we've played so far," Dukart said.
Filkins picked up his 138 rushing yards on 21 carries. Laurent completed 14 of 21 pass attempts for 237 yards. Dukart had four catches for 132 yards. Hutson had four receptions for 55 yards.
For the Lake Oswego defense, senior Miles Lewis had a quarterback sack for forced fumble. Senior Mario Pronnarongvat and Breeze each had a fumble recovery. Hutson had an interception and McGuire had a quarterback sack.
For Tualatin, Jackson completed 10 of 21 pass attempts for 158 yards. He also led the Wolves in rushing with 67 yards on 18 carries. Loggins added 45 rushing yards on 12 carries and Kamp had 41 yards on three carries. Miller had three catches for 50 yards. Senior receiver Jett Searle had two receptions for 29 yards.
For the Tualatin defense, Miller and Van Meter each had a fumble recovery. McCarthy had a tackle for a loss and Marion had a blocked punt.
"This was absolutely a fun game, but it wasn't how we wanted it to end," Kamp said. "We're going to have to take care of the ball. The last two games, ball security has been a big decider for us."
"They're probably the best team in the state right now, and we came out here and fought really well, and it was a playoff atmosphere," McCarthy said. "We had a good week of practice. We have to step it up and have an even better week next week."
"They are a great team, No. 2 team in the state," Miller said. "They're one of the best teams we could play right now, and we gave them a fight, and they gave us a fight. They were beatable, but we didn't capitalize on it."
Both teams will finish their regular-season schedules on Friday. Tualatin will host Tigard and Lake Oswego will be home to face Lakeridge in rivalry games set to start at 7 p.m.