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The Tigers improve to 7-0 on the season with their 41-14 Three Rivers League victory

PMG PHOTO: DAN BROOD - Lakeridge High School senior receiver Matt Petersen (6) is tackled by Tigard senior Tyler Penn after making a reception in Friday's Three Rivers League game.The first half was definitely a battle.

And it was a battle that left the Tigard and Lakeridge high school football teams tied going into the halftime break.

The Pacers were pretty happy about that. The Tigers, well, not so much.

The second half was a different story, though, and Tigard was happy about that.

The top-ranked Tigers, following the first-half deadlock, scored 28 unanswered points in the second half on their way to a 41-14 win over Lakeridge in a Special District 5 game played Friday, Oct. 18, at Lakeridge High School.

"I think, in the first half, we really locked in," said Pacer senior quarterback Cooper Justice, who had a touchdown run and a touchdown pass in the contest. "In the second half, I think we lost a little bit of the momentum that we had. And I think they came back and made some adjustments. That's a really great team over there, but we've got a great team over here. I think you saw that with some of our plays. We've just got to keep that locked in for a full game and then there's really no limits to what this team can do."

"That first half, we came out and we were firing on all cylinders," said Lakeridge senior tight end/linebacker Ty Glumbik, who had a TD catch in the game. "We talked about punching them in the mouth first, and I think we did that. Right from the get-go, in that first half, we came out there and gave it our all. We just need to work on finishing. We need to go in the second half with that same mentality."

With the loss, No. 20 Lakeridge saw its two-game winning streak snapped and fell to 2-4 in Special District 5 play and 3-4 overall, putting the Pacers in fifth place in the district standings. No. 1 Tigard, meanwhile, won for the seventh straight time and improved to 4-0 in TRL play and 7-0 overall.

"It was good. We prepared all week, but I don't think we took them as seriously that we should have," said Tigard junior offensive lineman/linebacker Aden Murphy, who had a quarterback sack in the win. "In the second half, we came out and played how we should have. In the first half, we didn't execute like we wanted to. In the second half, we knew we had to fire off, and that's what we did."

"We started slow. We shot ourselves in the foot all game with penalties," said Tigard senior Hunter Gilbert, who scored four rushing touchdowns in the contest. "But, overall, we still played hard. We had great blocking. It was a good team win."

Tigard, in its first offensive possession of the contest, committed four penalties, including three holding calls. That would turn out to be a theme for the Tigers in the first half of the contest.

Still, the Tigers took the early lead.

On its second possession, Tigard moved 61 yards in seven plays, capping off the drive with a 5-yard touchdown run by Gilbert that gave the Tigers a 7-0 lead with 11 minutes and 52 seconds left to play in the second quarter.

The determined Lakeridge squad answered right back on its ensuing possession and tied the score at 7-7 with 8:09 remaining in the second quarter. First, the Pacers got a 30-yard run by senior Jalen John, then a 28-yard competion from Justice to senior Carson Mike, and 10-yarder from Justice to senior Matt Petersen that set up a 6-yard touchdown run by Justice.

Neither team was able to score in the remainder of the period, with both squads' defenses stepping up to keep the score at 7-7 going into halftime.

But the Tigers came out fired up for the second half and showed it right away. Tigard opened the third quarter by putting together another 69-yard scoring drive, getting a 16-yard pass from junior quarterback Drew Carter to senior Max Lenzy and a 14-yard run by Lenzy to set up Gilbert's 9-yard touchdown run, which upped the Tiger lead to 14-7 with 7:45 left in the period.

"We got our focus a little more, changed a couple of things, and finished it off," Gilbert said.

On Tigard's next possession, a 17-yard run by senior Josh Burns set the table for Carter to score on a 15-yard run, extending the margin to 21-7 with 4:52 remaining in the third quarter.

The Tigers stuck again quickly the next time they had the ball, with Carter and Lenzy teaming up for a 27-yard touchdown on a play-action pass that boosted their lead to 28-7 with 4.5 seconds left in the third quarter.

"It was a great call," Lenzy said. "We were running it down their throats. They were running cover-2 and we got behind them. The line had some great blocking and it was a good play all around."

The Tigers, continuing their second-half scoring spree, then got a 12-yard touchdown run by Gilbert to make it 35-7 with 10:09 left to play in the contest.

Lakeridge, still fighting, came back with a 65-yard scoring drive, which ended with a 15-yard touchdown pass from Justice to Glumbik, who made a scooping catch while falling backward at the goal line, a score that cut the Tigard lead to 35-14 with 7:29 left in the game.

"That was the first touchdown of my high school career, so that's pretty cool," Glumbik said. "It feels great. It was a low catch, but I knew it was my one chance to get a touchdown, so I made sure to pull that in."

"That's what I love about this team," Justice said. "We don't quit, no matter what the scoreboard says. We give up some big plays, but we don't quit. We want to keep fighting. We want to punch you in the mouth."

Gilbert's fourth touchdown run of the game, this one a 1-yard blast with 2:31 left to play in the game, capped off the Tigers' 41-14 win.

"That feels good," Gilbert said of his four-touchdown night. "It was just great blocking all around."

For the game, Gilbert ran for 197 yards on 32 carries, with 142 of those yards in the decisive second half. Burns added 54 yards on seven carries. Carter completed 11 of 16 pass attempts for 140 yards and a touchdown, with Lenzy making three catches for 74 yards. Andrew Carter, senior Cole Scott and Gilbert had two catches apiece.

The Tigard defense limited Lakeridge to just 49 yards of offense in the second half and had seven quarterback sacks in the contest, three by Kamryn Hosley, while junior Hewitt Sullivan had an interception.

For Lakeridge, John rushed for 117 yards on 20 carries. Justice completed 4 of 12 pass attempts for 57 yards, in addition to rushing for a touchdown. Mike, Petersen, Glumbik and senior Xander Houck had one catch apiece.

"I really love these guys. I'm really proud of them, and it was a good game," Justice said. "We all know how good this team can be, and we're excited to work this week."

"We're looking at this as a positive. That first half, we were right there with them," Glumbik said. "We just have to work on keep fighting in the second half. We have to work on playing all four quarters."

Next up, Tigard will host West Linn at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 25, while Lakeridge will travel to Bend for a non-league game at 7 p.m. Friday.

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