West Linn football wins Battle for the Bridge over Oregon City 52-7
The annual Battle for the Bridge football game has often turned into a war.
Faced with that matchup again on Friday, Nov. 1 — the 99th iteration of the series — West Linn knew just what to do. The Lions dropped an absolute bomb on the Pioneers.
West Linn piled up a seven-touchdown lead in the first half and rolled to a one-sided 52-7 victory at West Linn High School, the team's sixth straight in the series and seventh in a row overall.
"When we play intelligently and execute clean, we're a good football team," said West Linn coach Chris Miller, who has gone unbeaten against Oregon City during his six seasons as Lions' coach.
With the win, the fifth-ranked Lions bounced back from an Oct. 25 loss to top-ranked Tigard, finished the Special District 5 season in fourth place at 3-2 and lifted their overall record to 6-3.
The victory also helps set the table for what West Linn hopes is another long playoff run. The Lions open the second season when they host No. 28 Roosevelt (5-4 overall after finishing second in the Portland Interscholastic League) at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 8. West Linn has reached at least the state quarterfinals in all five years of Miller's leadership, advancing to the semifinals and final in both 2015-16, and winning the Class 6A title in '16.
"Momentum and confidence are both important entering the playoffs," Miller said. "We need to (play intelligently and execute clean) in the playoffs and we'll have a successful run."
No. 31 Oregon City, meanwhile, finished SD5 play at 0-6 and saw its season record drop to 2-7. The Pioneers return to action at 7 p.m. Friday when they play No. 2 Jesuit (7-2 overall after winning the Metro League) at Jesuit High School.
In Friday's contest at West Linn, the Lions did just about everything right, scoring two unanswered touchdowns in the first quarter to lead 14-0, then dropping a 35-point second-quarter bomb on OC to extend their lead to 49-0 at the half.
"Starting fast, no turnovers on offense and shutting them out on defense were our three points of emphasis (and) we did that," Miller said.
In the opening quarter, West Linn got a 1-yard TD run from junior Gavin Haines and a 37-yard scoring strike from senior quarterback Ethan Coleman to senior tight end Damiko Tidmore.
Then, in the game's watershed second period, Tidmore scored on a 3-yard reception, Haines converted a 47-yard run, senior Ethan Loun returned a Pioneers' punt 49 yards for another score, Haines cashed in an 8-yard run and junior Clay Masters hauled in a 25-yard TD pass from Coleman. Along with junior Ben Siegel's seven extra points, the Lions led 49-0 at the half.
The Lions lifted their foot off the accelerator in the second half, adding a 29-yard Siegel field goal late in the third quarter to boost their lead to 52-0. Oregon City then notched its lone score when senior Indy Daniel returned the ensuing kickoff 99 yards to erase the shutout.
For the game, the Lions' defense limited Oregon City to just three first downs and 59 total yards, while West Linn collected 19 first downs and 490 yards.
Individually, Haines carried eight times for 124 yards and three scores, Coleman hit on 15 of 20 passes for 210 yards and three scores, with senior Casey Tawa making six catches for 85 yards and Tidmore three for 55 with two scores.
On defense, the Lions saw senior Treyten Burke lead the way with seven tackles while junior teammate Cole Peters made six stops.
For Oregon City, senior Austin Canchola rushed 14 times for 43 yards, three OC quarterbacks completed 3 of 12 passes for 17 yards.
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