“I’m so ready [to play against the Lakers]. My sophomore year, we lost to them in the quarterfinals. And then, last year, we lost to them in state. That’s the only team I’ve lost to,” said Sheldon Irish quarterback Taylor Alie, prior to his game against the Lake Oswego Lakers today. “I want to get revenge. All of us do.”
Coach Lane Johnson and the Irish stood atop the pack this year, as they defeated the Lakers in their state championship rematch at Jeld-Wen Field. Going into the game, the Irish were undefeated, at 13-0, and kept the streak alive with their win over the Lakers.
The Irish capitalized on five Laker turnovers, much like the Lakers did, against the Irish, last year. The hard-fought battle brought the 2012 season to an end for 6A, the score ending at 13-6.
The game started out in a lull for both teams, neither one putting six to seven points on the scoreboard. The only series to put points on the board in the first half came from an interception by Sheldon Irish wide receiver Dylan Lewis, with 1:26 left in the first half. Lewis’s pick set up an Irish field goal.
“It feels incredible. All of the work that we’ve put in for four years, and we finally get one. It just feels amazing; it’s indescribable,” said Lewis, with tears in his eyes.
The Irish were ahead, 3-0, to start the third quarter. After another standstill for the first two series, the Lake Oswego Lakers earned their first and only score of the game. On Sheldon ball, wide receiver Connor Strahm proceeded play on a wildcat formation, only to fumble. Though the fumble was controversial, – some believed Strahm was down before the ball popped out – the Lakers advanced on the turnover. With 5:08 left in the third quarter, Lakers quarterback Justen Ruppe threw a laser pass to wide receiver Jack Anderson for the score. The PAT was blocked by Sheldon Irish linebacker Ivan Faulhaber, putting the Lakers ahead in the third quarter, 6-3.
On the next Irish possession, quarterback Taylor Alie threw notable passes and handoffs to wide receivers Connor Strahm and Ivan Faulhaber, and running back Mitch Lewis. Moments later, to start the fourth quarter, Sheldon wide receiver Strahm went in on a wildcat formation, to add six points to the Irish’s score.
Strahm said, “Our coaches put us in great positions to make plays, and when we get in that position, we need to make them. And we made them.”
On the Lakers’ next possession, quarterback Justen Ruppe threw a pass right into the arms of defensive back Connor Strahm for an Irish interception. Strahm’s pick set up the next and last Irish field goal of the night.
In the fourth quarter, as the final seconds on the scoreboard ran down, Sheldon Irish defensive lineman Liam Talty leaped in the air, and came down with the ball in his hands. The interception sealed the win for a very hopeful, and vengeful Sheldon Irish football team.
Looking to his fellow teammates, Talty said, “I feel amazing. I can’t even believe this. I’ve always dreamed of this, and I can’t even tell you what this feels like.”