Lakeridge sophomore Ansu Sanoe breaks loose for a 32-yard run in the third quarter of Friday's 27-7 win. (Photo by Jon Olson)
Lakeridge sophomore Ansu Sanoe breaks loose for a 32-yard run in the third quarter of Friday's 27-7 win. (Photo by Jon Olson)

LAKE OSWEGO – The passing of senior Gabe Motschenbacher, the running of sophomore Ansu Sanoe and a stout defense was more than enough for No. 7 Lakeridge against visiting Oregon City in a 6A Three Rivers League football game Friday night.

Motschenbacher completed 26 of 38 passes for 325 yards and two touchdowns, Sanoe ran for 105 yards and one score on 20 carries and the defense came up with two interceptions and a key goal-line stand as the Pacers turned back the Pioneers 27-7.

It was a complete effort for Lakeridge (6-1, 2-1) as it prepares to take on No. 1 West Linn (7-0, 3-0) next week.

“I thought we played great just as a team,” Pacers senior tight end Joey Olsen said. “We really came out and we did everything on every level that we need to. The score shows that we really came out and we took it to them. We didn't give them an inch all game.”

The left-handed Motschenbacher was on target from the start, connecting on 6 of 7 passes on a game-opening touchdown drive, finishing it off with an 11-yard scoring strike to the USC-bound Olsen. Motschenbacher also tossed an eight-yard touchdown pass to senior Tashi Crofut in the third quarter to open a 17-0 lead.

For the season, Motschenbacher has passed for 1,689 yards and 15 touchdowns with one interception in taking over the starting role after playing behind former standout Ryan Oliver.

“His arm is so smooth,” Crofut said. “He can throw off-balance, on the run, set up in the pocket. He creates plays for our offense, and that's really where our offense starts, with our quarterback.”

Junior Zyon Floyd caught 10 passes for 143 yards and Olsen had five catches for 90 yards and his team-leading ninth touchdown grab of the season. The passing game had Oregon City off balance for much of the night.

“It's on another level at this point,” Crofut said. “We have so many weapons, so many different spots on the field. We're all interchangeable. We know every single route concept. It's evolved a lot since Week 1, and I think tonight was a very good example.”

Lakeridge is playing with a lot of confidence in the 6-foot-1, 195-pound Motschenbacher.

“I've always had the utmost faith in Gabe,” Olsen said. “He's been my quarterback since the fourth grade. I just know his mentality. Physically he's there and he's ready to play football.”

Motschenbacher has setttled into a groove.

“We definitely know what we're capable of, and I feel like this year we're really hitting on all cylinders,” Motschenbacher said. “We believe that we can hang with anyone in the state. And going into postseason, that's definitely our belief.”

Lakeridge senior Keaton Emmett showed off his strong leg by easily drilling field goals of 40 yards yards in the second quarter and 37 yards in the fourth quarter.

The Pacers were ahead 10-0 after Emmett's first field goal when Oregon City put together its best drive on the game. The Pioneers marched 95 yards in 19 plays to the Lakeridge 1-yard line, but the Pacers stopped them on third-and-goal as time expired in the first half. Senior linebacker Charlie McPhee and junior defensive back Kayce Tinner led the charge.

“That was a huge deal,” said Crofut, who also plays defensive back. “They were kind of picking us apart, and our interior came up with a huge stop. Just bullied them up front.”

Crofut caught an eight-yard touchdown pass to make iut 17-0 early in the third quarter. Oregon City quickly answered when junior quarterback Ben Schneider threw a 45-yard touchdown pass to 6-3 senior receiver Clayton Martineau, who shrugged off three defenders in the last 20 yards.

The Pioneers wouldn't score again, though, as two of their final three possessions ended on interceptions by junior David Moore and Crofut. Sanoe ran for a two-yard touchdown late in the third quarter to extend the lead to 24-7.

Lakeridge had a 431-292 edge in total yards. The Pacers were able to put away Oregon City, learning a lesson from their only loss of the season, a 31-24 defeat at No. 5 Tualatin in which they led 17-0 at half.

“Even though we got a lead, just learning not to stop, keep on going, no matter what the scoreboard looks like,” Sanoe said. “Just worry about the next play.”

Oregon City's Schneider completed 22 of 36 passes for 257 yards with two interceptions and the touchdown to Martineau, who had nine catches for 110 yards.

It was the second consecutive loss for Oregon City after its first 5-0 start since 1996. The Pioneers were coming off a 20-12 loss to No. 4 Lake Oswego.

“I think it's a lot closer game than the scoreboard shows,” Martineau said. “There were a couple times we got in the red zone and we just didn't convert. They're a great team. A few of the big plays didn't go our way. I still feel like we had a chance at this game. I think if we played again, the score would be a lot closer.”

Lakeridge, which won at Oregon City 35-14 last season in the quarterfinals of the Columbia Cup before falling to Westview in the semifinals, is zeroing in on a 6A playoff berth this season.

But first, the Pacers must play at powerhouse West Linn next week. No team has come closer than 19 points against the Lions this season.

“I feel like we can hang with any team,” Olsen said. “I feel like we have the offense to do it. The brotherhood of this team, it's really unmatched from the teams I've been on here. I have faith in us that we can do a lot.”

Crofut said he likes the Pacers' chances against West Linn.

“We might be a little bit smaller than them, but we can bully any team, and we proved that tonight,” Crofut said. “We can bully them up front.

“They're a very talented team. They've got ballers across the board. We've got ballers across the board, too. It will be a really good match-up. It won't be an early thing. We've got that fight in us.”