As the clock ran out and Lakes watched its season end in a 28-25 loss to No. 9 O’Dea on Saturday night at Memorial Stadium in Seattle, coach Dave Miller walked off the field thinking this game was an accurate summary of the Lancers’ season.
A lot of talent, but a lot of inconsistency.
The Lancers spent the first three quarters shooting themselves in the foot with mistakes and missed opportunities before roaring back with three touchdowns in the fourth quarter.
But the greatness Lakes displayed in the final quarter wasn’t enough to overcome its struggles during the rest of the game. For the first time in nine years, Lakes will not be competing in the Class 3A state playoffs.
“This game was so similar to our season,” Miller said. “We show flashes of brilliance and then at other times we make mistakes. The inconsistencies we had tonight just didn’t allow us to get over the hump.”
Lakes quarterback Rhys Gervais led the fourth quarter comeback from a 21-6 deficit with a 64-yard TD pass to Marquin Russell. Lakes did not convert the two-point conversion. Gervais finished the game with 266 yards and two touchdowns passing.
The Lancers then caught O’Dea off guard with a perfectly placed pooch kick to the right sideline that was picked up by Chris Young. Gervais hit Russell for another big gain before keeping it himself from 10 yards out to cut the Irish’s lead to 21-19 with more than seven minutes to play.
O’Dea scored another touchdown the ensuing possession, but Gervais led the Lancers to another score with 2:08 to play on another TD pass to Russell, this time from 28 yards out.
But O’Dea quarterback Pierre Ledorze earned big gains against the Lakes defense all night – rushing for 185 yards and two touchdowns – and he capped it off with a 16-yard gain on third-and-6 that allowed the Fighting Irish to run out the clock.
O’Dea coach Monte Kohler has a simple answer for how his team was able to hold off the surging Lancers.
“The clock ended,” Kohler said. “I don’t know if we could have held them off if it hadn’t.”
The Fighting Irish advance to the state playoffs for the 19th consecutive season, but Miller was adamant that this 3A district winner-to-state matchup was every bit a state matchup.
“Those were two of the best 3A teams in the state playing tonight,” Miller said. “I find it hard to believe we aren’t one of the top eight teams.”
Lakes certainly had a chance to earn its ninth straight trip to state. But two blocked extra points, its inability to score on first-and-goal from the 5 and third-and-goal from the 1 late in the third quarter – a score that would have potentially tied the game at 14 – a second-half snap that sailed over the punter’s head and allowed O’Dea to pad its lead, and more and 100 yards in penalties all contributed to the Lancers’ season ending.
“If we played the whole game like we did the fourth quarter, there isn’t any team that would have stopped us,” Gervais said. “But you can’t go forward saying ‘What would have happened?’ It’s over now.”