A special team: Lake Oswego heads to semis with win over Jesuit

Lake Oswego forced 6 turnovers in the second half

Steve Coury talks to his Lake Oswego team after the Lakers beat Jesuit 48-17 on Nov. 17, 2017 (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — After Friday night’s quarterfinal playoff win, Steve Coury looked out at his Lake Oswego team and told them a love story.

It began in the summer, and it happened at first sight. There was a feeling so genuine, so unique, that captured Coury’s heart. He insists he knew right away that the 2017 version of Lake Oswego had the potential to be something special. There were no recognizable egos, but rather an instantaneous team mentality.

“We have been way above that,” Coury said. “It’s been the opposite. And that’s one of the reasons we’re here: they’re good kids. Good, talented kids.”

Those talented kids are now just one step away from playing for a state title. Lake Oswego, led by a defense that forced 6 second-half turnovers, shut out Jesuit in the second half on Friday en route to a 48-17 victory.

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“We beat a really good team and we beat them soundly,” Coury said. “It was impressive — i’m even impressed the way we did it.”

The Lakers will face South Medford next week in the 6A semifinals.

For Coury, it didn’t take long to fall in love with his team’s intangibles. It also didn’t take him long to see his team’s talent. He knew had one of the best quarterbacks in the state with Jake Dukart, who’ll play for Oregon State next season. Coury also knew he had plenty of weapons for Dukart to use. All those were on display on Friday night.

The backfield combination of Collin Bracken and Alex Bassett ran through the Jesuit defense, scoring 4 touchdowns. Dukart tossed 2 touchdowns and ran 1 in, as well.

“We’re tough to stop. We’ve got a lot of weapons and our quarterback is playing lights out … he’s been unbelievable,” Coury said.

Bracken added: “I feel like that’s the best we’ve played.”

Still, even with that offense, Lake Oswego had to play catch-up in the beginning. That’s because Jesuit running back Trey Lowe started the game doing Trey Lowe things. Lowe, who’s committed to Washington, ran wild the first 3 drives, scoring 1 touchdown and setting up another on a series of long first quarter runs.

“They took the ball the first two times they had it and they shoved it down our throats,” Coury said. “I thought, ‘Wow, this is going to be a long game.'”

Then, after some minor adjustments — and way less Lowe carries in the second half — the Lake Oswego defense started clicking. They forced one turnover on Jesuit’s first second half drive. The feeling, said Bryson Breeze — who had an interception — became contagious. The Lakers would force 5 more while shutting out the Crusaders after halftime.

“It was almost like the Miami defense,” Breeze said.

But what about the turnover chain, Bryson?

“We’re thinking about getting one,” he said. Maybe next year.”

Now, the team that Coury thought had the potential to be great is knocking on the door of greatness. Regardless of what happens, Coury’s feeling about the team has been set in stone for a while.

“I’ve loved this team from the get-go,” Coury said. “I really have.”

Scores and highlights 

First half

Second half

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