Fired-up Sherwood surprises Tigard
TIGARD — The Sherwood High School football team needed something to get its season back on track.
The Bowmen were in desperate need to have something big happen.
They were fired up and ready to get it.
And they got it — wow, did they get it.
The Sherwood squad, playing physical and with enthusiasm from start to finish, powered their way to a 25-16 win over league-leading Tigard in a Three Rivers League game played Friday at Tigard High School.
"Oh, this is the biggest win of the year so far," said Sherwood senior quarterback Wyatt Zettlemoyer, who scored on a pair of one-yard runs in the victory. "We wanted this so bad. We really needed this. This is going to turn around our season."
"This is huge, especially after losing to Lake Oswego," said Sherwood senior running back/linebacker Rustin Williams. "Before the game, the coaches got us fired up. We were really pumped. We were the underdog, and that motivated us."
"Oh, this is really big. We really needed this," said Bowmen junior lineman Carter Atkins, who had one of the key plays of the game by blocking a Tigard punt. "This is amazing. It's exciting. This game was really important to us. This will give us our confidence back, and we'll keep it going."
With the win, the Bowmen improved to 2-3 in TRL play (3-4 overall), putting them in sixth place in the league standings.
"This was big after we lost last week," Williams said. "This will help us get back up there in the seedings for the playoffs."
"Our record doesn't show the character of our team," Zettlemoyer said. "We're better than what our record is, and we showed that tonight. It was a huge win. This shows that we can play with anyone."
Tigard, which brought a five-game winning streak into the contest, moved to 4-1 in TRL games (5-2 overall), putting the Tigers in a tie with Lake Oswego for first place in the league standings.
"You know, I thought we played tough, but I feel like we played a really good team," said Tigard senior defensive back Micah O'Donnell, who had an interception in the contest. "And, to beat a great team, you have to play your best."
"I thought we played pretty well," said Tigard senior running back/linebacker Jake Leavitt, who had a fumble recovery in the game. "But they were ready to play. They were more competitive, and they wanted it more. But we'll learn from this, and I'm confident we'll come back."
The game might have cost the Tigers more than just a loss in the standings, as Tigard standout senior receiver/defensive back Braden Lenzy, a University of Oregon commit, went down with a right knee injury just past the midway point of the second quarter.
"When Braden went down, it shocked us," Leavitt said. "We'll have to find a new cog in our offense, but when one of your leaders goes down, you have to fight back."
Lenzy, a scoring threat every time he touches the ball, gave Tigard an early lead in Friday's game, as he gained 26 yards on a swing pass from freshman quarterback Drew Carter and then scored on a 13-yard run out of the wildcat formation, making the score 7-0 with 7 minutes and 36 seconds left to play in the first quarter.
Sherwood tried to answer back right away, getting a 44-yard halfback pass play from senior Zach Jenkins to junior Jacob Reuter. But, on the very next play, the Bowmen fumbled, with Leavitt recovering the ball on the Tigard 29-yard line.
However, thanks to Atkins, it didn't take long for the Bowmen to grab momentum.
In the ensuing Tiger drive following the turnover, Atkins had a tackle for a loss and then a quarterback sack, forcing the Tigers to punt from their own 22-yard line. Atkins then blocked the punt, with Jenkins picking up the ball and advancing it to the Tigard 3-yard line.
"I was surprised. They were so close to the goal line, and I came in unblocked," Atkins said. "I said 'I'm going to get this.' After that, I knew we were going to win. I know our team, and when something like that happens, it gets us all going."
"The blocked punt was the turning point," Williams said.
Three plays later, Zettlemoyer scored his first touchdown of the game. Then, following a Tigard penalty, Jenkins ran in a two-point conversion, giving the Bowmen an 8-7 lead with 3:57 left to play in the first quarter.
The Tigers would regain the lead, at 10-8, when sophomore Jackson Cleaver booted a 33-yard field goal with 9:49 left to play in the second quarter.
Sherwood again answered back. A 41-yard pass play from Zettlemoyer to Reuter set up Reuter's 17-yard touchdown run, which gave the Bowmen a 15-10 advantage with 5:40 left to play before halftime.
Then, just four plays after Lenzy went down with an injury, Sherwood senior Takumi Kammerzell recovered a Tiger fumble at the Sherwood 26-yard line, and the Bowmen were back in business.
Sherwood took advantage of the turnover, putting together a 12-play, 74-yard drive, that ended with Zettlemoyer scoring on a one-yard sneak with just 18 seconds left to play in the second quarter.
"When we get down that close, we have to get it in," Zettlemoyer said. "Of course, I want the ball."
The touchdown gave Sherwood a 22-10 lead, which it took to halftime — and that's where the Bowmen's enthusiasm picked up even more.
"At halftime, it was so loud in the locker room that I had to step outside," Zettlemoyer said.
"We were so excited," Atkins said. "We were just shouting."
The Bowmen struck again in the third quarter, taking advantage of another turnover. Williams recovered a loose ball on a Tigard backward pass, giving Sherwood the ball at the Tigard 35-yard line.
That helped set up a 33-yard field goal by sophomore Kaedin Steindorf, upping the Bowmen lead to 25-10 with 2:52 remaining in the period.
Tigard, still fighting, tried to battle back. The Tigers got an interception by senior Spencer Smith, giving the home team the ball at the Sherwood 36-yard line. From there, a pass interference call on the Bowmen and a 21-yard pass from Carter to junior Carter Dennis helped set up a one-yard touchdown run by Tiger junior Malcolm Stockdale.
However, Tigard misfired on the extra-point attempt, leaving Sherwood with a 25-16 lead with 6:02 left to play.
And that's all the Bowmen needed.
On its ensuing possession, Sherwood, running the ball 11 straight times, ran out the clock, wrapping up the victory.
"We love burning the clock and pounding it down their throats," Williams said.
"Our line did a heck of a job up front," Zettlemoyer said, referring to the group that included senior Matt Seitz, junior Jakob McCreery, junior Jackson Barton and senior Spencer Shadbolt as well as senior tight ends Zane Sands and Sterling Goldstein. "And our defense did a great job filling the holes."
The Bowmen limited Tigard to 203 yards on 45 offensive plays. Sherwood gained 286 yards on 56 plays.
Junior Ben Baxter led a balanced Bowmen rushing attack with 62 yards on 15 carries. Williams ran for 42 yards on seven carries and Jenkins had 38 yards on seven carries.
Zettlemoyer completed six of 11 pass attempts for 74 yards. Reuter had two catches for 85 yards.
For the Bowmen defense, Atkins had a tackle for a loss, a sack and a blocked punt — all coming in one defensive series. Williams had a fumble recovery and a tackle for a loss and Kammerzell and senior Kian Coleman-Lopez each had a fumble recovery.
"This was the greatest game," Williams said with a smile.
"This was one of the funnest games I've ever been in," Zettlemoyer said.
For Tigard, Lenzy rushed for 38 yards on eight carries, had two catches for 19 yards and threw a 21-yard pass prior to his injury.
Stockdale rushed for 38 yards on 14 carries. Carter completed eight of 12 pass attempts for 86 yards. Dennis had two catches for 28 yards.
For the Tigard defense, Leavitt had a fumble recovery and a tackle for a loss. Smith had an interception and a tackle for a loss. O'Donnell had an interception and sophomore Max Lenzy had a tackle for a loss.
"Next week, we'll bounce back for sure," O'Donnell said. "Adversity will make us better."
"We learned that we have to show up for every game, and keep our heads in it," Leavitt said. "We have to tip our hats to them tonight."
Both teams will be back in action on Friday. Sherwood will face another big test as it will host Tualatin. Tigard will be home to face Canby. Both of those games are set to start at 7 p.m.