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Lakers stun Tornado

Lake Oswego takes advantage of North Medford's offensive woes in the first half to steal the victory

The Lake Oswego High football team was 270 miles from home and playing the No. 1-ranked team in the state.

But that didn't phase the Lakers in the least.

The visitors from the north burst to a 21-0 halftime lead and parlayed it into a 21-14 upset victory over North Medford before a stunned crowd of about 6,000 at Spiegelberg Stadium on Friday night.

— Senior quarterback Mike Stutes completed 13 of 21 passes for 191 yards, including a 58-yard touchdown pass to Ryan Hilliard, to spark the fifth-ranked Lakers to their second victory in as many games.

The Black Tornado fell to 2-1.

We wanted to shock the state ' and we did, said Lake Oswego tailback Jeff Jackson, who gained 65 hard-earned yards on 26 carries and scored the game's first touchdown. We were really excited to play these guys. We prepared for this game like it was a playoff game.

The Lakers dominated North Medford in the first half. They took a 7-0 lead on Jackson's 2-yard run in the first quarter, extended it to 14-0 on Stutes' long touchdown pass to Hilliard midway through the second period and pushed their advantage to 21-0 on Kyle Waletich's 2-yard burst with 2:35 remaining before the intermission.

The Black Tornado couldn't even manage a first down until the 1:07 mark of the second quarter, when quarterback Beau Hovland finally began to find his rhythm.

Hovland drove North Medford from its own 4-yard line to the Lake Oswego 1, completing five straight passes along the way, but the Tornado ran out of time before it could cross the goal line.

We came out and played a horrible first half, North Medford coach John Beck said. We couldn't do anything offensively, and they ran the ball on us.

We didn't have a good week of practice, and it carried over. It was all about effort. They had it, and we didn't.

The outcome was a reversal of last season, when the Black Tornado posted a 13-12 victory on the Lakers' home field.

We got a little caught up in the hype last season ' this time we came out more prepared, Stutes said.

And our line came out fired-up. We matched them physically. That was huge.

North Medford finally got on the board late in the third quarter following a fumble recovery by Russ Vandell at the Lake Oswego 28.

Trent Driskell gained 13 yards on a reverse, and two plays later, Hovland lofted an 18-yard touchdown pass to Driskell on a corner route.

Nick Taylor's PAT kick made it 21-7 with 32.3 seconds remaining in the third.

On the Tornado's next possession, Folsom dashed 62 yards with a screen pass to the Lake Oswego 8, only to have it nullified by a holding penalty.

On the following play, Folsom ran 70 yards for an apparent touchdown after taking an option pitch form Hovland 9 yards upfield, but the officials ruled Hovland down before he got rid of the ball.

North Medford was still able to move the ball deep into Lake Oswego territory on the drive, but Folsom fumbled it away at the 7 as he fought for extra yardage.

I've got to do a better job of covering the ball up, said Folsom, who also lost a fumble in the first half. You don't lose the ball inside the 20. Plays like that just killed us tonight.

The Tornado scored on its next possession when Folsom sprinted 36 yards to paydirt on a busted play.

Taylor's extra-point kick made it 21-14 with 4:41 remaining in the game, but North Medford was unable to recover an ensuing onside kick.

Lake Oswego then drove from its own 47 to the North Medford 1, where the game ended.

They kind of died in the fourth quarter ' we had chances to come back and win the game, said Folsom, the game's top rusher with 78 yards on 10 carries. But we just made too many mistakes.

Hilliard, the Lakers' 6-foot-3, 190-pound junior receiver, burned the Tornado for 139 yards on six catches, and had a 95-yard touchdown reception called back.

We got the big lead and then fought through some adversity in the second half, said Lake Oswego coach Steve Coury, whose team finished as the state runner-up last season. We're thrilled to come into this stadium and win this game.

But North Medford is still a great team. They'll be a factor in the playoffs, and I wouldn't be surprised if we see them again down the road.

Lake Oswego running back Jeff Jackson (25) gets wrapped up by North Medford defenders Brian Jimenez, left, and Russ Vandell (25) in Friday?s game. Mail Tribune / Roy Musitelli - Mail Tribune Roy Musitelli