Lake Oswego beats West Linn 20-17 on Casey Filkins' last-second TD
There's no better way to describe the Lake Oswego football team's 20-17 win over West Linn at West Linn High School on Friday, Oct. 11.
The Lakers, trailing the Lions by three points when they took control of the ball at their own 20-yard line with 2 minutes, 58 seconds left to play, just simply refused to lose.
They drove the length of the field behind junior quarterback J.J. Woodin, senior wide receiver Joe Hutson and senior running back Casey Filkins, eventually advancing to the West Linn 2-yard line when Woodin hit Hutson over the right side in the game's waning seconds.
There, the Lakers — facing a fourth-and-goal with no timeouts remaining — rushed up to the line of scrimmage in hopes of getting to run one more play. With LO's coaching staff shouting instructions from the sideline, Filkins provided the leadership that the Lakers needed.
"I just looked at J.J. and I was just 'Hand it off,' and he handed the ball off and we got a great push off the right side," Filkins said. "That's my (line) guys."
Filkins barreled two yards over the right side, tumbled into the end zone and scored to beat the Lions 20-17 on the night's final play and set off a wild celebration by the Lakers and their fans.
"That was one of the greatest games I've played in in my life," said Hutson, who made six catches for 71 yards on the final drive and finished with 12 grabs for 135 yards. "I'm hyped about that."
"I think that was probably one of the most stressful drives and plays that I've been in since I started," said Lake Oswego senior right guard Cody Carlson. "We always go out there and play for each other, we're always preaching playing all 48 minutes and we play for each other because we have a great program and want to represent the coaching staff and everyone."
With the win, the Lakers' second straight, No. 2 Lake Oswego improved to 2-1 in Special District 5 play and 5-1 overall. No. 13 West Linn, meanwhile, saw its four-game winning streak snapped and fell to 1-1 in SD5 play and 4-2 overall.
After leading the Lakers for 26:45 — from the time senior quarterback Ethan Coleman hit senior wide receiver Casey Tawa for a 25-yard TD with 2:46 to go in the first half until the game's final second — Friday's loss was extraordinarily painful.
"It's just kind of shocking. It's so, so disappointing," said Tawa, who made five catches for 89 yards and two touchdowns. "To lose a game in that sort of way, it's going to be kind of crushing for a little bit."
"We knew who they were going to and we knew where it was going to go," West Linn sophomore linebacker Cole Peters said of the final play. "It's times like that where we've really got to step it up. Coach (Chris) Miller said it at the end — there's got to be someone who makes that play at the end and they were the ones who ended up making it so they're the ones who walked away with the win."
Until that final drive, Friday's game had been a tumultuous, back-and-forth affair that alternated between bouts of defensive dominance and bursts of big plays. The Lakers stopped the Lions on each of their first two series, and Lake Oswego then grabbed a 7-0 lead late in the first quarter by driving 54 yards behinds Filkins — he had five carries for 46 yards — and his offensive line, capping that drive when Filkins ran up the middle out of the wildcat formation for a 17-yard touchdown with 3:50 left in the period. Senior Diyar Dezay added the extra point that gave the Lakers their 7-0 lead.
While West Linn misfired on its next drive as well, the Lions' defense stepped up to end the Lakers' ensuing possession, getting a sack of Woodin from senior Ryan Seth and junior Kyle Sullivan to force a punt.
After that, the Lions drove 78 yards on 12 plays to score, with Coleman completing 5 of 11 passes for 77 yards, including a 22-yard TD strike to Tawa, who made an over-the-shoulder catch at the right flag on fourth-and-two. Along with Ben Siegel's extra point, West Linn tied Lake Oswego 7-7 with 6:54 to go in the half.
Next, after allowing LO just one first down and forcing a punt, West Linn junior Zyion Nelson blocked the kick by Lake Oswego sophomore Thomas Rainey and the Lions took over at the LO 38-yard line.
Four plays later, Coleman went back to Tawa for a 25-yard TD, this one another running catch at the right flag that helped give West Linn a 14-7 edge with 2:46 left in the half.
The Lions got the ball back just 18 seconds later when Clay Masters stripped the ball away from Hutson after a 20-yard completion and Seth recovered for West Linn at the Laker 41. Six plays after that, Siegel drilled a 30-yard field goal that boosted the Lion lead to 17-7 with 1:40 to go before halftime.
The first half excitement wasn't over, though.
After taking over at midfield thanks to a 15-yard West Linn penalty, the Lakers drove 50 yards in seven plays to score. Along the way, Hutson caught two passes for 26 yards and Woodin threw 18 yards to junior Malcolm Williams in the right corner of the end zone for the TD with 12 seconds left in the half and a 17-14 West Linn lead at the break.
"I just knew my job was to get past him and see the ball, and if I could make a play on it, make the best play I could," Williams said. "As soon as I saw it, I wanted to get it — it was anything I could do to go get it."
The third quarter was the exact opposite of the second, with both defenses holding the upper hand. The Lakers lost a fumble and punted on their two series, while the Lions short-circuited on both their possessions (the second of those ending 2:12 into the fourth).
Then, after a trade of possessions that took 5:50 off the clock, Lake Oswego got the ball back at its own 20 with 2:58 to play. From there, Filkins ran three times for 12 yards, Woodin hit Williams for 14 more, and Woodin connected with Hutson six times for 71 yards over the drive's 18 plays, the last of those a slant to the right side that Hutson cut back to the 2.
From there, the Lakers sped to the line, gave the ball to Filkins and he followed Carlson and senior Tigers Shanks over the right side to score as time expired.
"Half the coaches were screaming 'Spike it,' but it was fourth down, and the other half was saying 'There's no time for a field goal,' so Casey was like 'Give it to me,'" Hutson said. "46 lead. Touchdown. That was history."
"It's great to win a game like this. Obviously, it feels great," said Filkins, who finished with 176 yards rushing and two TDs on 30 carries. "It's huge for our confidence."
That final play had exactly the opposite effect on the Lions.
"I think offensively, we made a lot of mistakes," said West Linn senior tight end Damiko Tidmore, who made one catch for 15 yards and also recovered an LO fumble. "(And) defensively, I feel like we held our own, keeping them scoreless all of the second half except for that last touchdown. We just need to go to film and fix up those mistakes."
"(Filkins) is a great player, but I don't think it should have gotten to that point," Peters said. "We really gave up a lot of opportunities to close that one out, but they made plays late in the game to win it and we didn't so that's on us."
For the game, Woodin went 17 of 25 passing for 188 yards and one TD, with Williams making four catches for 33 yards and one score. Coleman connected on 21 of 43 throws for 253 yards and two TDs, with senior Chase Fletcher making four catches for 50 yards, and junior Clay Masters seven for 74 yards.
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