High school football: West Linn dominant in 49-0 win over Lakers
West Linn quarterback Sam Leavitt and the Lions' offense flexed their muscles Friday night against the Lake Oswego Lakers.
The West Linn defense looked sharp, too.
Leavitt passed for 256 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 74 yards and another score as the Lions celebrated homecoming Sept. 30 with a 49-0 rout over the Lakers in the Three Rivers League opener for both teams.
West Linn (4-1, 1-0 Three Rivers) limited Lake Oswego to five first downs and 133 yards of total offense. But the star of the night was Leavitt, the 6-foot-2, 200-pound senior who guided the Lions to touchdowns the first four times they touched the ball to make it 28-0 before halftime.
Leavitt also scored on a 59-yard run on the opening drive of the second half to extend the lead to 35-0 and put the game away with 10:15 remaining in the third quarter.
"Any day you beat a league opponent and a rival, it's a pretty good day for us," Lions coach Jon Eagle said. "We just wanted to get the quick pass game going and try to run the ball, if we could, against that defense.
West Linn's quick start hinged on the play of the offensive line — left tackle Jake Normoyle, left guard Hunter Harding, center Ridge Huot, right guard Eric Murtaugh, and right tackle Stephen Del Giudice. They first created some holes for tailback Koffi Kouame and then kept the heat off Leavitt when the time came for the Lions to throw the ball.
"Our offensive line set the tone from the start," Leavitt said. "They've been steadily improving since Week 1, and that's all you can ask for is to see progress every single week. That's one of the best signs of a championship-caliber team, and our O-line is just going to keep getting better and better."
Lake Oswego took the opening kickoff and went 31 yards in three plays before West Linn linebacker Mark Hamper stripped the ball from Lakers quarterback Liam Davis, giving the Lions the ball at the LO 46-yard line.
Three plays later, the Lions were in the end zone, with Leavitt connecting with Hamper on a 36-yard touchdown pass for the game's first score.
The second time West Linn got the ball, the Lions went 80 yards in 10 plays, taking a 14-0 lead after Kouame scored on a six-yard run with 1:31 to play in the first quarter.
The third drive: 94 yards in eight plays, ending with Leavitt finding Jackson Shelstad open deep down the middle. That pushed the lead to 21-0 with 5:48 to play in the second quarter.
And the fourth drive: 77 yards in three plays, as a 64-yard, Leavitt-to-Wiley Donnerberg pass set up Ben Winjum's two-yard touchdown run with 3:29 left in the first half.
At that point, Leavitt had completed 13 of 14 passes for 245 yards, throwing to seven different receivers.
"In my opinion, Sam is the best quarterback in the state, maybe the best quarterback in the Northwest," said Hamper, who had a team-high five receptions for 61 yards — all before halftime. "I haven't seen a quarterback that can run and pass like he does. I think he's the best of the best, and he proves it week in and week out.
"Sam is the hardest worker I know … and it pays off every Friday night. It's good to see the guys are following his lead, for sure, and we're just getting better week after week. It's going to be exciting to see how far this team goes."
Eagle liked what he saw from his quarterback, too.
"Sam is as good as anybody I've coached, for sure," said Eagle, who won a pair of Washington state championships in 13 seasons at Camas before taking over at West Linn this season. "The ball comes out so quick and so accurate, and those guys he's throwing to aren't too bad, either."
Leavitt, who plans to sign with Washington State when the time comes, rated his own performance a "B-plus" after the game.
"We just executed the game plan and I got the ball into my receivers' hands and let them do their thing," he said. "I made a couple of highlight plays, but there were multiple opportunities that I missed. There were a couple of reads that I misread, and obviously, those are plays you'd like to take back. But, overall, I played pretty well."
Lake Oswego (3-2, 0-1) had the ball in West Linn territory on five of its first six possessions. Two of the drives ended with turnovers and the only one to reach the red zone ended when the Lakers failed to convert on fourth-and-one from inside the Lions' 6 with 8:34 to play in the second quarter.
"We were just overmatched," Lakers coach Steve Coury said. "No disgrace. The score ended up being a little worse than we wanted it to be, but it doesn't really matter."
Was there anything Lake Oswego could have done differently to produce a different result?
"We'd have to get lucky and make some plays," Coury said. "We did some things. West Linn is just better than us, and we're trying to climb that ladder to get to where they are.
"We had some chances just to make it interesting, you know what I mean? They're just a very good football team. I don't think anybody will beat them unless they have an off night."
After Leavitt's 56-yard touchdown run made it 35-0, the Lions' backups mopped up with a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns. Danny Wideman scored first on a 46-yard pass from Nick Sakys as the running clock ticked under seven minutes. Hudson Hardy then scored on a 45-yard run in the final two minutes.
Davis, the Lakers' sophomore quarterback, completed 5 of 17 passes for 131 yards, including throws of 35 yards to Ethan Park, 29 yards to Dylan Heitzel, and 26 yards to Stevie Mooney. Calvin Macy led the ground game with eight carries for 20 yards.
West Linn finished with 512 yards of total offense — 302 yards passing and 210 yards rushing. Leavitt completed 14 of 20 passes for 256 yards with two touchdowns and rushed for another 74 yards and a score on three carries. Donnerberg caught three passes for 96 yards. Kouame added 46 yards on 10 carries.
"It was great to see a team that blitzed a ton, bringing pressure, and having our receivers have to go one-on-one and make plays," Leavitt said. "Overall, I'm happy, but I'm not content. We're looking to get better week to week. That's the goal. Just one week at a time."
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