Top-seeded Lake Oswego football falls to Jesuit 56-49
A couple more plays.
A couple fewer mistakes.
And in the end, one more touchdown — that's what made the difference in ninth-ranked Jesuit's 56-49 upset win over top-seeded Lake Oswego in a Class 6A state quarterfinal on Friday, Nov. 19, at Lake Oswego High School.
Jesuit senior 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 Crusader faithful could celebrate their hard-earned road win.
"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," Lake Oswego coach Steve 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."
For Lake Oswego's players, Friday's loss was a bitter pill to swallow, but one best shared among teammates and friends.
"One thing I learned about this program is that everybody's family," said Lake Oswego senior wide receiver/defensive back Justius Lowe. "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."
The loss snapped top-ranked Lake Oswego's three-game winning streak and ended its year at 10-2 after sharing the Special District 5 championship.
No. 9 Jesuit, meanwhile, won for the 11th straight time and improved to 11-1 overall after winning Special District 2. Next up, the Crusaders will face No. 4 Central Catholic — a 63-21 winner over No. 21 Sherwood in its Friday quarterfinal — on Friday, Nov. 26, at Hillsboro Stadium.
"We persevered and played hard from the very beginning to the very end," Jesuit 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."
"I'm such a small piece of this big machine, and without my teammates, none of this would be possible," said sophomore quarterback Jacob Hutchinson, who completed 9 of 14 passes for 208 yards and two touchdowns.
While Rincon did the heavy lifting, Jesuit got inspired play from defenders including senior Johnny Miller, sophomore Jace Burton and senior Tyree Blake, along with Hutchinson, senior tight end Spencer McKelligon (who caught two balls for 111 yards and a touchdown), junior running back Noah Staley and their entire offensive line.
"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 after Rincon ran the opening kickoff back to Lake Oswego's 32-yard line. From there, Staley went 22 yards on the game's fourth play from scrimmage and put the visitors ahead 7-0.
The Lakers answered with a 3-yard score by senior quarterback Jack Layne, then took a 14-7 lead when 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 give the Lakers the lead again, Jesuit caught a break when McKelligon caught a tipped pass in stride and went 52 yards with just a second remaining in the first half to send the two teams to the locker room tied 21-21.
"That was a big play, no doubt about it," 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 be costly, it wasn't the case this night. Jesuit stayed the course, ultimately going 90 yards in five plays on the back of a 59 yard catch-and-run by McKelligon that set up a 7-yard Rincon scoring run to tie the score again at 28-28.
Lake Oswego took the lead again less than four minutes later when Layne â€“ he threw for 398 yards and six touchdowns on the night â€“ found senior Zach Jarrett on a 25-yard fade route. But again, the Crusaders answered, going 69 yards in six plays and capping the drive with 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.
"Our line does an amazing job every game, getting off the ball (and) opening huge holes for the running backs, which opens up the passing game for me," Hutchinson said. "They're just amazing."
Next up, 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, 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 Blake who caught two balls for 47 yards.
Lake Oswego was led by Layne who finished 27 of 39 passing for 398 yards and six TDs, along with Lowe, senior Gabe Olvera (he had 175 total yards and a touchdown) and junior Owen West, who caught nine balls for 112 yards and two touchdowns.
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