Tualatin football gets back on track with 43-7 win over Newberg
TUALATIN — Coming off back-to-back losses, the Tualatin football team very much needed to hit the reset button Friday night versus Newberg.
The Timberwolves certainly did that, dominating the Tigers from the opening whistle to post a decisive 43-7 home victory.
"We just came ready to play tonight," Noland said. "It was a tough couple of weeks and we came out hungry for this one. It being senior night and homecoming, we felt like we had a lot to play for. We came out firing on all cylinders and everybody had their head screwed on right."
After the Tualatin defense forced a Newberg punt to open the game, sophomore quarterback Blake Jackson tossed a swing pass to Kainoa Sayre on the Timberwolves' second play from scrimmage and the junior running back went around the end for a 74-yard touchdown 3:32 into the first quarter.
Newberg responded by driving deep into Tualatin territory, but dropped a touchdown pass in the end zone before ultimately turning the ball over on downs.
If that wasn't a tough enough pill to swallow, the Tigers also lost star running back Byron Morris to a knee injury late in the drive.
"He's our big-play guy and when he goes down it's deflating," Newberg head coach Kevin Hastin said. "But we have to find a way to rally and pick up the slack. We've got the guys to do that."
The Timberwolves also did their part to take the wind out of the visitors' sails, driving 72 yards in nine plays to make it 13-0 on a 2-yard touchdown run by senior Lucas Noland near the end of the first quarter.
The Tualatin defense forced a three and out on Newberg's next possession and Ryan Anderson quickly flipped the field on a 46-yard run, with Jackson eventually scoring on an 8-yard keeper on fourth down and 2 to make it 19-0 with 9:53 to go until halftime.
All the momentum was with the home side in the second quarter, as the Timberwolves recovered a Tigers fumble right after Newberg had converted a first down. Jackson promptly hit senior wide receiver Jackson Willig for a 47-yard touchdown pass on the next play to make it 26-0.
Tualatin added a 30-yard Andrew Malinowksi field goal and a 74-yard touchdown run by junior Dominique Loggins to push the advantage to 37-0 at the break.
"There were wide holes all day," Loggins said. "We got a lot of pancakes. I love our O-line."
While the Timberwolves racked up 435 yards of offense in the first half, the defense was equally impressive in limiting the Tigers to just 78.
"They run a lot of misdirection stuff, so it was linebackers reading the guards and just doing your job," Noland said. "Everybody's got a person to follow and we did that well tonight."
Senior running back Nathan Marx added a 4-yard scoring run in the third quarter to make it 43-0 and Jack Evans broke a few tackles to score from 20 yards out to put Newberg on the board with 5:43 to play.
While the Timberwolves snapped a two-game skid, Friday's loss was the Tigers' fourth in a row and second by a large margin after getting shut out by West Linn the previous week. Newberg (2-4, 0-4 Three Rivers League) will return home next week to host Lakeridge (3-2, 2-2).
"We have to find a way to compete again," Hastin said. "We have to practice harder and keep our spirits high. We played a physical football team that is probably invested quite a bit and to beat a good team like that we've got to compete in practice every day and just perform better. Football reveals character and we have to stay positive and find a solution."
Meanwhile, Tualatin (3-2, 4-2) is very much in the postseason chase with three games to go and will travel to Canby (2-4, 1-3) next week.
"Those two losses were really big losses because we could have won both games," Loggins said. "We brought it back together, put it in the past and kept looking forward, looking at the bigger picture and that's the playoffs."