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The Valiants end their year at 1-7, while the Cheesemakers move to fourth in the Cowapa League



TIMES PHOTO: MILES VANCE - Tillamook quarterback Tilor Hurliman tries to makes a throw while pursued by Valley Catholic's Jakob Pruitt during the Cheesemakers' 20-0 win at Valley Catholic on Friday. This was not how Valley Catholic wanted to go out.

The Valiants — they hosted Tillamook on Friday in their 2015 season finale — wanted to send their seniors out on a high note and wanted to send head coach Doug Ierardi out with a win in his final game.

But five turnovers and a handful of big plays by Tillamook meant that those desires would go unsatisfied. The Cheesemakers scored three touchdowns in a span of 8 minutes, 45 seconds of the second quarter and used that burst to beat Valley Catholic 20-0 at Valley Catholic High School.

“We didn't come out very strong in the first half,” said Valley Catholic junior defensive back Joey Braun, who made a third-quarter interception in the game. “We wanted to try and get the 'W' for them. We love these guys. I love all our seniors a lot.”

“Tonight, we were hoping that we could will ourselves to a victory,” added senior linebacker Tucker Chisolm, who made several key defensive plays in the loss. “It didn't work out, but everyone left all they had on the field and that's what's most important.”

The loss ended No. 32 Valley Catholic's Cowapa League season at 0-5 (1-7 overall), and also marked the final game of Ierardi's five-year tenure — he will give up his coaching job when he becomes VC's principal next fall. No. 26 Tillamook, meanwhile, moved to 2-3 and fourth place in Cowapa play (3-5 overall).

“All the thanks in the world goes to (Ierardi),” said senior lineman Jakob Pruitt, who made a number of tackles behind the line of scrimmage on Friday. “He brought this program up from pretty much the ground and it's been great to watch and I thank him.”

Neither team got much done offensively in Friday's first quarter, but when Valley Catholic turned the ball over for the first time, it opened the door for Tillamook to take control.

That first giveaway came after the VC defense made its fourth consecutive stop against the Cheesemakers and forced a punt. But Tillamook stripped the ball away from Valley running back Kevin Eckrosh on first down and took over at the Valiants' 10-yard line. Two plays later, Cheesemakers quarterback Tilor Hurliman went up the middle for five yards to score and give his team a 6-0 lead with 9:08 left in the first half.

Tillamook's “D” then forced a three-and-out and got the ball back at midfield. From there, running back Kaler Moore ran five times for 13 yards and Hurliman finished the deal with a 26-yard scoring strike down the right seam to Jaxsen Johnson that extended the Cheesemakers' lead to 12-0 with 2:59 remaining in the half.

The Valiants tried to respond on their ensuing series, getting a 26-yard completion on the left side from quarterback Aidan Welsh to Avery Jones, but Jones fumbled the ball away at the end of the play and Tillamook took over at its own 41-yard line.

On the fourth play of the following drive, Hurliman pitched the ball to Moore and Moore then threw long to Zach Macias for a 35-yard pickup to the VC four-yard line. Three plays later, Moore went up the middle for a two-yard scoring run that — along with Hurliman's conversion run — boosted their team's lead to 20-0 with just 23 seconds remaining in the period.

“They got one (touchdown) off a turnover on the short field, and besides that, they busted a few big ones,” Chisolm said.

Welsh tried to bring his team back in the remaining seconds, getting a 35-yard completion to Alex Hyland that took them to the Tillamook 16-yard line with 14 seconds left in the half. But Welsh misfired on his next two throws, then went to the left corner of the end zone on the final play of the half only to see Tillamook's Calder Prulhiere intercept a pass intended for Ben Robbins.

The second half had its highlights to be sure, but no more scoring as the two teams' defenses held the upper hand throughout the final two periods.

Valley Catholic got an interception from Braun and forced two more turnovers via Tillamook fumbles, but could not capitalize on any of those opportunities. Indeed, the Valiants managed just four first downs in the second half, advanced into Cheesemakers' territory just twice in the final two quarters, and fumbled the ball away on their deepest push, with Jones losing the football at Tillamook's 20 at the end of a 40-yard run.

Despite the lopsided final score, the Valiants left proud of their efforts and grateful for their teammates.

“I have a newfound respect for all the guys on the team, just how hard they worked,” Pruitt said. “It's just been amazing.”

“We were playing for the seniors tonight. They did a great job,” Braun added. “It wasn't the best ending but it was still a great game.”

For the game, Moore ran 24 times for 108 yards and a TD, while Hurliman completed 11 of 23 passes for 163 yards, one touchdown and one interception, with Johnson making four catches for 75 yards and one score.

For Valley, Welsh — who was hampered by a number of dropped throws — went 7 for 25 passing for 113 yards and two interceptions. Johnson led Valley rushers with 40 yards on his lone carry.TIMES PHOTO: MILES VANCE - Valley Catholic senior Jakob Pruitt pauses after making a tackle behind the line of scrimmage during the Valiants' 20-0 home loss to Tillamook on Friday.

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