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Lions spoil Milwaukie's faint playoff hopes

Behind an unstoppable rushing game and an aggressive defense, St. Helens puts up a staggering 58 points on Milwaukie


Though they wouldn’t make the playoffs themselves, the Lions got the chance to play spoiler on Friday night, though not in a way anyone expected. St. Helens (3-6, 1-5 NWOC) was looking for their first league win, and Milwaukie (1-8, 1-6 NWOC) was in search of a post-season berth under the most unlikely of circumstances. By the end of the evening, the Lions had asserted themselves, flattening Milwaukie 53-13 to claim the seventh spot in the conference as the season comes to a close.

St. Helens looked like the Lions of old, rushing for 390 yards and throwing for just 169 yards. Much of the dominant rushing game was at the hands of senior running back Tanner Long, who carried the ball just four times for 161 yards and two touchdowns.

For the first time all season, senior quarterback Gage Bumgardner wasn’t in the three rushers for the Lions. Those spots were held by Long, and seniors Chris Gray (12 carries, 69 yards) and Ryan Jensen (five carries, 65 yards).

The rout didn’t take long to get started. A little less than three minutes in, Long busted free and raced 74 yards downfield to open the scoring. The Bumgardner brothers, Bryce and Gage, came down with a pick-six apiece in the first quarter, which ended with the Lions leading 28-0.

It wasn’t until late in the second quarter that the Lions stumbled. Broncos’ linebacker Griffin Johnson scooped up a fumble on the Lions’ eight yard line and took it the distance, and a few moments later, the Broncos scored again on a 28-yard pass from quarterback Aaron Walston. The pass was one of a precious few for Walston, who was picked-off a total of five times in the game.

At halftime, the score was far out of hand for the visiting Broncos. St. Helens led 48-13, and by the time the second quarter was over, they had found another weapon. Junior Drake Laughlin hadn’t kicked all season long before Friday night, and he had missed his first two attempts, but after Long’s longest touchdown run of the evening - 82 yards - the coaching staff decided to give him another try.

Laughlin stepped up and made the extra point, and when the Lions scored on a big pass play near the end of the second half, he was perfect again. The next scoring drive ended in a field goal for senior Jacob Zartman, his first of the season, but when the Lions found the end zone midway through the fourth quarter, Laughlin improved his streak of made extra points to three - the total for the first eight games of the season.

All in all, it was a good note to end on for the Lions, who have faced their fair share of hardships these past two seasons. The win over Milwaukie was the first league win since 2011, and though the Lions will lose a host of senior talent, they have a bright future ahead of them.

For Milwaukie, a bright ray of sunshine had opened up when Wilsonville was forced to forfeit the game the teams had played earlier this season. They sat on the bubble for a post-season berth at 23rd in the rankings, but the loss to St. Helens was enough to knock them out of contention.

The game also closed the door on the last season in which the Lions will have to face Sherwood, as the Bowmen will depart for Class 6A with the completion of the 2013-14 school year.

Milwaukie 0 - 13 - 0 - 0 -- 13

St. Helens 28 - 20 - 3 - 7 -- 58

Scoring:

1st Quarter

SH – 9:22 Tanner Long 74 run (kick failed)

SH – 4:50 Justin Helgerson 1 pass from Gage Bumgardner (run failed)

SH – 4:33 Bryce Bumgardner 10 INT return (G. Bumgardner run)

SH – 3:28 G. Bumgardner 47 INT return (Myles Terry pass from G. Bumgardner)

2nd Quarter

SH – 10:17 G. Bumgarder 7 run (kick failed)

SH – 4:46 Long 82 run (Drake Laughlin kick)

M – 2:43 Griffin Johnson 92 fumble return (run failed)

M – 2:33 Tyler Spencer 28 pass from Aaron Walston (Edgar Pantoja kick)

SH – :33 Helgerson 46 pass from G. Bumgardner (Laughlin kick)

3rd Quarter

SH – 1:52 Jacob Zartman 22 field goal

4th Quarter

SH – 6:48 B. Bumgardner 8 run (Laughlin kick)