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Tigers lose 35-14 on Friday evening and drop to 1-1 in league play as Bowmen assume the top position in the conference

GRAPHIC PHOTO: GARY ALLEN - Newberg's defense faced a formidable Sherwood offense on Friday evening at home in a key Pacific Conference football game.

There was plenty to prove for the Newberg and Sherwood football teams as they faced off Friday night at Loran Douglas Field and it was the Bowmen who delivered a statement. Sherwood ran away with a 35-14 road victory thanks to a strong second half, seizing control of the Pacific Conference in the process.

The Bowmen (5-2, 2-0) sit atop the league standings while the Tigers (5-2, 1-1) are left with an uphill climb to their first league title in recent memory.

With bouts of heavy rain falling in spurts throughout the night, the run game was prominently featured for both teams. It would have been anyway, given both squads' penchants for pounding the ball and running plenty of misdirection plays.

A Newberg three-and-out on the opening drive, followed by a shanked punt, placed Sherwood at the opposing 25 on its first offensive possession. That ended with a seven-yard touchdown run by junior running back Clay Peden to make it 7-0 Bowmen early.GRAPHIC PHOTO: GARY ALLEN - Sophomore quarterback Levi Durrell hands off to sophomore running back Price Pothier in the Tigers' 35-14 loss to Sherwood at home on Friday evening.

Sherwood maintained its superior physicality on its second drive, picking up chunk plays en route to a one-yard run by senior back Brody Stevens. Through one quarter, it was 14-0 in favor of the road team.

After the Bowmen missed a chip shot field goal, it appeared momentum was shifting toward the Tigers late in the second quarter. A spectacular catch by junior wideout Owen Hawley on a long pass – where he stretched out and hauled it in between two defenders – set up a red zone opportunity for Newberg that resulted in a rushing touchdown from sophomore Price Pothier.

The Tigers held up on defense to send the game to half with Sherwood up 14-7.

But the Bowmen came out of the half strong. On a critical third down, senior running back Lucas Voss caught a short pass and scampered 70 yards for the touchdown – a back-breaking play for the Tiger defense that made it 21-7 Sherwood.GRAPHIC PHOTO: GARY ALLEN - The Sherwood defense rushes Newberg quarterback Levi Durrell during the Bowmen's win over the Tigers on Friday evening.

Just under four minutes later, the Tigers responded with a six-yard rushing touchdown by Justin Holtan on fourth down to bring the game back to a one-score margin. An interception by junior Gabe Ramos minutes later seemed like a potential turning point, but Newberg's offense fizzled and its special teams unit had trouble snapping the ball to its punter.

The result of those mistakes was a two-yard touchdown run by Voss to cap Sherwood's offensive drive; the extra point was blocked to make it 27-14 Bowmen through three.

In the fourth quarter, Voss tacked on another touchdown with a two-yard run and senior quarterback Gavin Evans executed the two-point conversion. The game was well out of reach for the Tigers as they cycled their backups into the game, slapping helmets and applauding the effort of many of their starters as the rain continued to pour.

The Tigers will look to regroup after a difficult loss and will head out on the road to McMinnville on Oct. 25. Sherwood, meanwhile, is headed back home to face reigning league champion Liberty. Both games kick off at 7 p.m.

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