Jesuit outlasts top-seeded Lake Oswego 56-49 in state football quarterfinal
Jesuit made a couple more plays, a couple fewer mistakes, and in the end one more touchdown en route to a 56-49 upset win over top-seeded Lake Oswego in a state quarterfinal game Friday night, Nov. 19, at Lake Oswego High School.
Michael Rincon rushed 27 times for 213 yards and five touchdowns, but it wasn't until the Crusaders recovered a last minute onside kick that the visiting Jesuit faithful could celebrate what was an undoubtedly hard-earned road win.
"We persevered and played hard form the very beginning to the very end," Jesuit head coach Ken Potter said. "Sure, you make some mistakes and you get lucky once in a while, but if you play hard, good things will happen."
While Rincon did the heavy lifting, Jesuit (11-1) got inspired play from defenders like Johnny Miller, sophomore Jace Burton, and Tyree Blake. Quarterback Jacob Hutchinson, tight end Spencer McKelligon â€“ who caught two balls for 111 yards and a touchdown â€“ and running back Noah Staley. And their entire offensive line, which paved the way for Rincon from start to finish.
"It was a great team effort," Potter said. "Everybody from the scout team during the week of practice, to the guys on the field tonight. A lot of guys contributed and it was a total team effort."
Jesuit opened the scoring when after Rincon ran the opening kickoff back to Lake Oswego's 32 yard line, Staley went 22 yards on the game's fourth play from scrimmage to put the visitors ahead 7-0.
The Lakers (10-2) answered with a Jack Layne 3-yard score, then took a 14-7 lead when standout receiver Justius Lowe caught a 7-yard throw from Layne with 25 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
The Crusaders tied it 14-14 on their ensuing possession when Burton caught a 6-yard pass from Hutchinson, and after Lowe caught his second scoring pass of the night â€“ a 23-yard back-shoulder throw from Layne â€“ to again give the Lakers the lead, Jesuit caught a break when McKelligon caught a tipped pass in stride and went 52 yards with but a second remaining on the first half clock to send the two teams to the locker room tied 21-21.
"That was a big play, no doubt about it," Lake Oswego head coach Steve Coury said. "You get plays like that sometimes when you win games, and sometimes they go against you when you lose."
There was little luck about the way the Crusaders played in the second half, in fact they were on the wrong end of a block-in-the-back penalty that nullified a 90-yard Rincon kickoff return for a touchdown after the Lakers had taken a 28-21 lead on the opening drive of the second half. But while mistakes like that can often come back to haunt you, it wasn't the case on this night, for Jesuit stayed the course, ultimately going 90 yards in five plays on the back of a 59 yard catch-and-run by McKelligon, setting up a 7-yard Rincon scoring run that again tied the score 28-28.
Lake Oswego took back the lead less than four minutes later when Layne â€“ who threw for 398 yards and six touchdowns on the night â€“ found Zach Jarrett on a 25-yard fade route, but again the Crusaders answered, going 69 yards in six plays, capping the drive with â€“ you name it â€“ another Rincon touchdown to even the score 35-35.
The next four minutes were all Jesuit, and primarily Rincon, who scored twice more to put the visitors ahead 49-35 and later 56-42 before a late Lakers score pulled the home team within seven before an unsuccessful onside kick ended the game and Lake Oswego's season.
"It's unfortunate because someone has to lose, but we've been on this end before and we've been on the other end a lot," Coury said. "But there's no shame in losing to that team, they played well, they're well-coached, and our kids fought to the end. I was proud of them."
Lowe, who's one of the state's best players, took the loss hard, but like his coach had nothing but good things to say about his teammates and their opponent in defeat.
"One thing I learned about this program is that everybody's family," Lowe said. "I'm so proud of these guys and we played a heck of a game against a great team. And while we fought to the end, they won and they deserved it."
Hutchinson, the sophomore quarterback for the Crusaders who threw sparingly, completing 9-of-14 pass attempts for 208 yards and two scores, wanted little to do with any credit for the win afterwards, pointing instead to his teammates who he had nothing but respect for.
"I'm such a small piece of this big machine and without my teammates none of this would be possible," Hutchinson said. "Our line does an amazing job every game, getting off the ball, opening huge holes for the running backs which opens up the passing game for me, they're just amazing."
Now the Crusaders are off to the state semifinals where they'll face No. 4-seeded Central Catholic. And while Potter â€“ and Hutchinson â€“ are excited at the prospect of advancing, the coach is relishing a role that Jesuit infrequently finds itself in â€“ underdog.
"The kids have worked so hard this year and no one counted on us being very good this year," Potter said. "From the very beginning the headlines read Sunset and Westview would be vying for the Metro League title, but we're still playing so I'm just proud of these kids."
In addition to Rincon, Hutchinson and McKelligon, Jesuit was led by Staley who carried five times for 56 yards and a touchdown, along with Tyree Blake who caught two balls for 47 yards.
Lake Oswego was led by Layne who finished 27-for-39 for 398 yards and 6 TDs, along with Lowe, Gabe Olvera who had a 175 total yards and a touchdown, and Owen West who caught nine balls for 112 yards and two touchdowns.
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