LHS football

Lakeview High School running back Gavin Patterson struggles to gain yards against multiple Bandon defenders. The quarterfinal game was a hard fought game by both sides, and the Honkers pulled away in the final seconds of the game.

For the first time in over a decade the Lakeview High School (LHS) football team is playing in the semifinals after defeating Bandon in the quarterfinals on Friday, Nov. 12, 27-26.

Over the past several games, ever since the Honkers lost to Sutherlin, LHS has dominated its opponents — winning each game handily. Earlier in the season the Honkers were in close contests, generally having to stage a comeback in the second half. LHS defeated Bandon earlier in the season on the final play of the game and Bandon was looking for revenge when they came to visit Lakeview.

The two halves of the game were decidedly different, with Lakeview struggling to find its offense in the first half. Bandon was able to pressure quarterback Benny Alves and to close the running lanes for running back Gavin Patterson. This did not allow the Honkers to find their normal offensive rhythm of Patterson pounding the other team, and Alves throwing it deep.

The pressure on Alves forced him to continually move out of the pocket and made throws more difficult. The Honkers also struggled to sustain their blocks. At the same time in the first half the Honkers had trouble stopping Bandon’s air attack, as the visiting Tigers used a dual quarterback system.

“We struggled on the offensive and defensive lines overall to sustain blocks and help our quarterback and running backs to have a chance to execute the offense,” said Head Coach Ryan Moss.

At halftime the Honkers were behind 14-6, the first time in several games they had faced a halftime deficit. Moss said at halftime the team switched some personnel on the offensive line to provide better protection for Alves and to open up running lanes for Patterson.

“We emphasized that the score was 0-0. The second half was an opportunity to play a new football game,” said Moss.

After halftime both teams ratcheted up their offense and defense firepower, and both teams struggled with controversial calls from the referees and turnovers that both teams do not typically commit.

Throwing lanes opened for Alves in the second half, and he was able to connect the throws. Patterson and Morgan Ludwig started to chew up both the clock and the yards on the ground against Bandon.

But things were not all smooth sailing, as Bandon was able to score a touchdown on kickoff return and return an interception Alves threw; Alves ended up throwing two interceptions.

With newfound energy both teams traded turnovers, scores, and drives on an increasingly wet and muddy field. A large squad of parents and Bandon supporters made the trip to Lakeview, and the resulting crowd noise made for a raucous atmosphere, especially in the second half as the scores became closer and closer.

The final part of the game was one in which both teams turned the ball over, and really came down to who would have it last. After being forced to punt late in the game, LHS was trying to stop Bandon and still have time on the clock. But a fumble by the Bandon quarterback Reef Barry deep in the Honker end of the field gave the Honkers a short field and a chance to tie or take the lead, as they were behind 26-20 at that time.

Even with his passing difficulties, Alves threw a perfect pass to Max Graham in the final seconds of the quarter. That left a little over 20 seconds on the clock for Bandon to try to get within field goal range, but the team could not manage it, so LHS walked away with the win.

At the end of the game students came onto the field and sang the LHS fight song with the football team and the celebrated a hard fought game and one in which LHS faced adversity — something the team has not contended with for some time.

Looking ahead to the semifinals, Moss noted, “Kennedy is a good football team. Coach Joe Panuke has developed a team with discipline and a culture of football in Mt. Angel. In order to win we will need to control the ball on the offense in order to keep their offense off the field and win one down at a time.”

The football playoffs now move to a neutral location, and the Honkers will not have the home field crowd advantage like they have had the first two rounds.

The game will take place at Grants Pass High School on Saturday, Nov. 20 with kick off at 5 p.m. against Kennedy High School out of Mt. Angel. Both teams have the same exact record, and both teams had their only loss of the season early in the year.

Kennedy is ranked number two in the stat; LHS is ranked number three. People can watch the game online through the NFHS Network, or listen to the game on KORV 93.5. Tickets can only be purchased online at osaa.org/tickets.

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