The unbeaten Tigers roll to a big victory against the rival Timberwolves

by: DAN BROOD - FULL SPEED -- Tigard senior Manu Rasmussen (10), running  behind the block of senior A.J. Hotchkins, is on his way to scoring on a 63-yard run.TUALATIN — The Tigers insist it was just another game on their schedule.

Just another chance to improve.

Maybe so.

But their postgame smiles certainly seemed to be a bit bigger and brighter than normal.

With good reason — because they scored a super-impressive win over their crosstown rivals.

The Tigard High School football team remained unbeaten on the season, moving to 6-0, after it roared to a 62-7 win over rival Tualatin in a Pacific Conference football game played Friday in front of a large, loud crowd at Tualatin High School.

“It was just game No. 6 on the schedule for us,” Tigard senior lineman Janak Ward said after the contest. “But it’s still personal. We’ve played against these guys since pee wee. It’s huge. But, for the season, it’s just another game.”

“It’s game No. 6 for us,” said Tigard senior fullback/linebacker A.J. Hotchkins, who rushed for a touchdown on offense and had a quarterback sack on defense. “But it’s a pretty big win.”

“It’s our senior year, and our last chance to play them,” said Tigard senior receiver Daren Rodrigues, who had six catches for 138 yards.

“That was motivation,” Tigard senior running back Manu Rasmussen added with a smile.

by: DAN BROOD - PLAYING HARD -- Tualatin senior receiver Robbie Ellis looks to pull away from Tigard senior Justin Alvarizares in Friday's game.With the victory, the Tigers improved to 4-0 in Pacific Conference play, keeping them alone atop the conference standings.

Tualatin moved to 3-3 on the season and to 2-2 in conference games, putting the Timberwolves in a tie with Newberg and McMinnville for third place in the standings. The setback may also have lit a fire under the Tualatin squad.

“We’ll definitely come back from this,” said Tualatin junior running back Eli Robinson, who led the Wolves with 81 rushing yards in Friday’s game. “This will be motivation.”

“This will make us come together more as a team,” Tualatin senior safety Connor McCullough said.

The Tigers seemed to be plenty motivated right from the start of Friday’s game. On their first possession of the game, they quickly moved 80 yards in three plays, getting a 63-yard touchdown run by Rasmussen to take a 7-0 lead just 49 seconds into the game.

by: DAN BROOD - NICE CATCH -- Tigard High School senior receiver Daren Rodrigues (right) pulls in the football on his way to scoring on a 47-yard pass play in Friday's game at Tualatin. “Our line did a great job blocking,” Rasmussen said.

After the Tigard defense forced a three-and-out, the explosive Tiger offense quickly struck again. A 47-yard touchdown pass from Tigard senior quarterback Jett Even to Rodrigues upped the lead to 14-0 with 9:26 left in the opening period.

Tigard kept its foot on the accelerator from there. A 38-yard punt return by senior Bruin Campbell set up Rasmussen’s 5-yard touchdown run, which made the score 20-0 with 6:38 left in the first quarter.

Tigard added on a 3-yard touchdown run by junior Landon Floyd to push its lead to 27-0 at the end of the period.

The Tigers kept on rolling on the second quarter. A 6-yard touchdown pass from Even to Campbell upped the margin to 34-0 with 7:56 left in the period.

“Jett threw a perfect ball, and it hit me in the chest,” Campbell said.

Tigard added on a 10-yard TD run by Rasmussen to claim a 41-0 lead at the end of the first half.

And what a first half it was for the Tigers. The rolled to 374 yards of total offense in the half while holding the Wolves to 17 first-half yards.

“We were very fired up,” Campbell said.

“It was our crosstown rival,” Hotchkins said. “We came out pretty fired up and we played really hard.”

Tigard quickly struck again early in the second half. After a high snap on a Tualatin fourth-down play gave the Tigers prime field position, Even threw a 15-yard TD pass to Rasmussen on a quick flare toss to the right.

by: DAN BROOD - FOLLOW THE BOUNCING BALL -- Players from both teams go after a loose ball during Friday's clash between Tigard and Tualatin. On Tigard’s next possession, Hotchkins powered his way into the end zone from 15 yards out to give Tigard a 55-0 lead with 7:22 left to play in the third quarter.

But Tualatin kept battling.

The Timberwolves put together an eight-play, 80-yard drive, which included a 20-yard run by Robinson. Tualatin capped off the drive with a 25-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Brandon Shroyer to senior receiver Nick Hines, coming on a fourth-and-four play with 3:30 remaining in the third quarter.

“We kept playing hard,” Shroyer said. “We knew that they were good, and that they were going to score, but we never gave up. We played all four quarters.”

“We never quit, no matter what,” Robinson said.

Tigard capped off the scoring with a 3-yard run by junior Tyler Walker, coming with 1:44 left in the third quarter, making the final score 62-7.

“It was good,” Campbell said of the win. “We were physical and we executed our game on offense. It was extremely fun.”

“We prepared well and did what we needed to do,” Hotchkins said.

“It was another week for us to get better,” Rasmussen said.

“We came out and executed,” Ward said. “And we were like family. Football is an 11-man game and we all did it.”

by: DAN BROOD - ROLLING OUT -- Tigard senior quarterback Jett Even looks for a receiver during Friday's game at Tualatin.“We have a team,” Tigard coach Craig Ruecker said. “Our defense always sets the tone. We had good balance on offense and our special teams were fantastic. We pride ourselves in playing hard and fast. I’m very proud of our young men.”

Tigard, operating behind an offensive line that included Ward, senior Byron Hammick Jr., senior Nathan Wick, sophomore Conner Crist and senior Alex Anohkin, among others, had 576 yards of total offense in the win — running for 310 yards and passing for 266.

“I think we did a great job up front,” Ward said. “We’ve put in a lot of work and commitment.”

Rasmussen led the Tiger rushing attack with 160 yards on 12 carries. Senior Justin Alvarizares had 55 yards on five carries and Hotchkins ran for 49 yards on four carries.

Even completed 11 of 13 pass attempts for 200 yards. In addition to Rodrigues’ big night catching the ball, junior Brady McGetrick had two catches for 89 yards.

For the Tigard defense, senior Jake Biglow had a pair of quarterback sacks while Hotchkins and senior Jacob Mullen added one sack apiece. Senior defensive end Nick Duron had two tackles for losses. Senior Joe Lobbato also had a tackle for a loss.

by: DAN BROOD - RUNNING STRONG -- Tualatin junior Eli Robinson looks to head up field during Friday's game.Tualatin had 197 yards of offense in the contest. Robinson picked up his 81 rushing yards on 18 carries. Sophomore Dante Reid added 35 yards on three carries. Shroyer completed six of 18 pass attempts for 77 yards. Hines had three catches for 38 yards and senior Robbie Ellis had three receptions for 26 yards.

For the Timberwolf defense, seniors Ryan Wisner and Franklin Giannone each had a quarterback sack and senior Nique Reid recovered a Tigard fumble. Senior Jason Porter had a tackle for a loss.

by: DAN BROOD - TD TOSS -- Tigard senior receiver Bruin Campbell (left) is about to catch a 6-yard touchdown pass from senior Jett Even.“We have to execute our plays better,” Shroyer said. “And we need to get healthy. They’re pretty good, but we could have done better.”

Both teams will be back in action next Friday. Tigard will face Hillsboro at Hare Field and Tualatin will travel to McMinnville for 7 p.m. conference games.

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