This is why they play the games.
A week ago, the second-ranked Tualatin football team had been taken apart on its own home field, while at the same time, Lake Oswego had rolled to its third straight win and ascended to the No. 2 ranking in the state.
On Friday, Oct. 25, the two teams traded roles, with the Timberwolves stepping up to smack the Lakers 35-8 on their home field, with Tualatin racking up 380 yards in total offense while holding Lake Oswego to just 220.
"It felt great," said Tualatin senior running back Kainoa Sayre, who led his team with 22 carries for 133 yards and three touchdowns. "After last week's game, we had a good week of practice and we just felt like we had to turn it around. ... We felt like we needed to bounce back and that's what we did."
"I think we were hungry to show everybody in the state that we are who we are — we're the Tualatin Timberwolves and we can play ball," said senior wide receiver Luke Marion, who finished with 56 yards in total offense and one receiving touchdown.
With the win, Tualatin improved to 4-1 in Special District 5 play — a game behind district-leading Tigard — and 7-1 overall. Lake Oswego, meanwhile, saw its three-game winning streak snapped, suffered its worst loss of the year and fell to 3-2 in SD5 play and 6-2 overall.
"We needed to do more and I think a big part of it was intensity," said Lake Oswego junior Malcolm Williams, who caught three passes for 27 yards and also recorded the game's only turnover with a second-quarter interception. "We just didn't come out the way we should have. We fought, but we didn't fight hard enough."
"We've just got to get better," added LO senior wide receiver/defensive back Joe Hutson who led his team with three catches for 35 yards.
A week after struggling offensively against West Linn, the Timberwolves came back strong and proved themselves right from the game's opening possession. Tualatin took the night's first kickoff and marched 79 yards in 15 plays to score, with Marion carrying twice for 20 yards, quarterback Blake Jackson completing 3 of 4 throws for 22 yards, and Sayre carrying four times for 21 yards, including a 7-yard touchdown run around the left end. Dominic Borges added the first of his five extra points to give the Wolves a 7-0 lead.
The Lakers, however, answered with their own scoring drive — it turned out to be their only scoring drive of the game — on the ensuing possession. LO went 65 yards on nine plays, with junior quarterback J.J. Woodin going 3 for 3 passing for 35 yards (two to Williams for 20 yards) and senior running back Casey Filkins rushing five times for 26 yards, including an 8-yard dive over right guard with 3 minutes, 36 seconds remaining in the first quarter. Then, Filkins took the snap as holder for the ensuing extra point and ran it in to score for an 8-7 Lake Oswego lead.
That, however, turned out to be the end of the Lakers' offensive highlights for the night. On Lake Oswego's final eight offensive series, Tualatin's defense forced four three-and-outs, allowed just four first downs and a total of just 155 yards in the game's final 39:36.
The Timberwolves said that their line play on both sides of the ball played a huge part in the win.
"They make everything possible," Sayre said of his line. "Without them, I wouldn't be able to do anything that I did tonight. I'm proud of them. They stepped up in a big way tonight."
"Last week, we didn't do as great as we wanted to, but we just fixed that in practice and we did all the work," said Tualatin senior lineman Sonny Edward. "This week, we were really focused all week. It feels great."
"We've heard that the line's too small and stuff like that year-in and year-out, but those guys have got a lot of grit and a lot of effort and I think that's what won the game tonight," Marion added.
Following the Lakers' lone touchdown, the Timberwolves came back to score again on their second series and take the lead for good. This time, Tualatin drove 73 yards in nine plays, overcoming a personal foul with a 28-yard completion from Jackson to senior John Miller, and scoring when sophomore Malik Ross went around right for 14 yards on the second play of the second quarter to make it 14-8.
Neither team scored again in the opening half, the Lakers managing just one first down on their remaining four first-half series, while the Wolves punted twice and saw their other series stopped when Williams picked off a Jackson pass.
While only up six points at the break, Tualatin took control big-time in the second half. After Filkins broke a 37-yard run on the opening play from scrimmage in the third quarter, the Timberwolves stopped the Lakers on a fourth-and-6 at the Tualatin 27-yard line.
From there, Tualatin went to the running game for its next score, with Jackson rushing three times for 49 yards and Sayre adding another 11 on four carries, including a 5-yard burst over right guard that — along with Borges' PAT — extended the Tualatin lead to 20-8 with 5:17 to go in the third quarter.
Then, after the Tualatin "D" forced another Laker punt, the Wolves drove 61 yards in six plays to score again, the capper a 37-yard Sayre sprint up the middle of the field that boosted his team's advantage to 27-8 on the second play of the fourth quarter.
Lake Oswego short-circuited on its next series, too, and punted after one first down. Starting from its own 48, Tualatin scored in just three plays, with Jackson hitting Marion over the middle for a 31-yard score that put the game out of reach at 34-8 with 7:01 left in the contest.
From there, the Lakers suffered another three-and-out, Tualatin ran more than 5 minutes off the clock on its ensuing series, and Lake Oswego was left with just one more play at the end of the game.
"They beat us with their intensity and their game plan was good," Williams added. "We just didn't come prepared. This is definitely another wake-up call, something we just have to come back from even stronger."
For the game, Jackson rushed eight times for 78 yards and completed 9 of 13 passes for 111 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Marion led Tualatin receivers with one catch for 31 yards, Miller caught two passes for 30 yards and Ross two for 28.
For Lake Oswego, Filkins rushed 20 times for 143 yards and one touchdown, and Woodin went 12 of 20 passing for 70 yards.
Next up, Tualatin plays at Tigard at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 7, while Lake Oswego plays at Lakeridge at 7 p.m. Friday.
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.