Open in App
Scorebook Live

Is West Linn the best high school football team in the Northwest? Lions look the part vs. Lake Stevens

By Todd Milles, SBLive Sports,


LAKE STEVENS, Wash. - The first round as respective state contenders went to West Linn High School.

And the rematch as reigning state champions — the Lions as Class 6A champions of Oregon and Lake Stevens the Class 4A champions of Washington — took place Friday night on the Vikings' turf.

The result was the same — a 49-30 Lions victory .

Cade Johnson scored a career-best three touchdown runs, and West Linn cashed in on three red-zone turnovers, turning them into touchdowns. The Lions forced five turnovers in the game.

View the original article to see embedded media.

Quarterback Baird Gilroy threw for 325 yards and a touchdown, and he had a rushing score.

It was Lake Stevens' first home loss since losing in the Class 4A quarterfinals to Mount Si in 2019.

"I am very proud of our guys," West Linn coach Jon Eagle said. "This was a great challenge."

Here are three takeaways from the game:



Photo by Glen Moffitt

The top team in Oregon lost a big piece of its offensive puzzle last week when standout tailback Hudson Hardy suffered a season-ending knee injury.

"It gives everybody the sense of sadness," Cade Johnson said, "but it also brings out the feeling of responsibility."

The responsibility of leading this backfield now belongs to Johnson and Oregon State University baseball commit Ryan VandenBrink, who combined for four touchdowns Friday.

VandenBrink got it started on the second play from scrimmage with his 10-yard touchdown run just 29 seconds into the game that gave the Lions a 7-0 lead.

Johnson's scores came from 27, 3 and 2 yards. The duo combined for nearly 150 rushing yards.

"They are just soldiers and they came in and were effective and ran hard," Eagle said. "I thought they did a great job."



Eagle laughs when the big guys approach him about playing tight end.

And then he points to Gus Donnerberg, a 6-foot-4, 210-pound recent University of Idaho commit who personifies how a tight end should play.

"He is a big guy that can run," Eagle said.

Hence his most popular nickname — "Gus the Bus."

He certainly was that Friday night on his 80-yard touchdown catch and run in the team's big second quarter that built a 35-10 halftime lead.

"I just want to keep my feet moving," Donnerberg said. "Looking at the end zone the whole play, that is all I can think about."

Donnerberg also had receptions of 37 and 26 yards, and he registered an interception at linebacker.



Photo by Glen Moffitt

Tom Tri saw a few good things from his group Friday — a big game from David Brown (three touchdown catches at wide receiver, two interceptions at defensive back), a gutsy effort from quarterback Kolton Matson (21 of 45, 283 yards, four total TDs) and a get-your-attention comeback to start the second half.

Lake Stevens scored twice in a 2 1/2-minute span — Matson rushing and throwing touchdowns — to cut it to 35-24 at the 5:32 mark of the third quarter.

But a muffed punt return at the Vikings' 12 killed all momentum as West Linn immediately scored.

"We didn’t executive very well — too many turnovers, and too many blown coverages gave them some momentum early in the game," Tri said.



(Photos by Glen Moffitt)

Expand All
Comments / 0
Add a Comment
Local Oregon State newsLocal Oregon State
Most Popular newsMost Popular

Comments / 0