TIGARD — There are good wins.
There are nice wins. There are big wins.
But this win was absolutely, positively huge.
And the Tigard High School football team is pretty darn happy with it.
The Tigers, in a dominating performance, powered their way to a 31-7 victory over defending Class 6A state champion Lake Oswego in a Three Rivers League showdown played Friday at Tigard High School.
"I love my brothers for this. This is the greatest win of my life," Tigard senior tight end/linebacker Andrew Carter said after the game. "It's that big. We're not satisfied yet. This is just a step, and we're going bigger. For right now, this is great, and we're having fun."
"Oh, this is huge," said Tiger senior Max Lenzy, who had a 99-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. "We didn't get to play them last year, and it was great to play them. They're a great team, and this was a great team win for us."
"This is huge for us. It boosts our confidence and we're going to come together and really see what we can do as a team," said Tigard senior linebacker Kamryn Hosley, who had two of the Tigers' eight quarterback sacks in the win. "We came prepared. We knew that we were the underdogs, and we were mentally there. We brought everything we had."
With the win, Tigard improved to 2-0 in TRL play (4-0 overall), putting the Tigers in a tie with Tualatin for first place in the league standings.
"We were really hyped up and ready for this," said Tigard senior receiver Tyler Penn, who had a 48-yard touchdown catch in the win. "We let them do their trash talking, but we like to stay within ourselves and work on what we do."
"This is really big," Tigard senior lineman Bryce Goetz said. "We wanted to play as hard as we can. We wanted to be united, compete and believe in each other."
Lake Oswego moved to 1-1 in Three Rivers League play, and to 3-1 on the season with the setback, which ended the Lakers' 13-game winning streak, dating back to the 2018 season.
"It didn't go as we planned, obviously," Lake Oswego senior running back Casey Filkins said. "We came into it super fired up. So it's a total letdown to come into this and have the result be what it is, but it's also a learning opportunity. We played Clackamas tough last year, and ended up losing that game, and we ended up getting the result that we did. So, we're fine when we face adversity, and we're going to learn as a team."
"It didn't go the best," Lake Oswego junior quarterback JJ Woodin said. "We had to battle through a lot of adversity, but there are no excuses. We're just going to watch fill and get better. We're going to get better every single day, and get ready for Clackamas."
Tigard, while shining in all aspects of the game in Friday's win, seemed to step up in a big way on defense. The Tigers limited the potent Laker attack to just 164 yards of total offense in the contest, including just 14 yards in the second half.
"We all trust each other on defense," Lenzy said. "They only scored seven points, and that was a great feeling."
"It was really good," Tigard senior lineman Johnny Nomani said. "We had a game plan to stop Casey Filkins. We wanted to shut down the gaps and stop the run."
"We had a great game plan by (defensive coordinator) coach (Shane) Kessler. That guy's a genius," Carter said. "And we came out and played hard every play. They started to break apart, and we came together as a team. I've never seen a team play like that in all my years."
Tigard took a 3-0 lead in Friday's game, following a 43-yard field goal by senior Jackson Cleaver, coming with 1 minute and 47 seconds left to play in the first quarter.
The Lakers came roaring back. Woodin completed passes for 17 and 54 yards to junior receiver Malcolm Williams, moving the ball to the Tigard 5-yard line. Two plays later, Lake Oswego junior Tyler Miller powered his way into the end zone from a yard out, giving the Lakers a 7-3 lead with 11:58 left in the second quarter.
"It was a great feeling, but we have to do that a lot more," Woodin said of the touchdown drive.
It didn't take the Tigers — and Lenzy — long to answer back. Lenzy returned the ensuing kickoff following the Laker score 99 yards for a touchdown, giving Tigard a 10-7 lead with 11:42 left to play before halftime.
"There was great blocking, and a great set-up by my teammates, and it was just a great return all together," Lenzy said. "It really changed the momentum of the game."
It certainly did.
The Tigers got another touchdown later in the period, when junior quarterback Drew Carter connected with Penn on a 48-yard TD pass play, upping the Tigard lead to 17-7 with 2:01 left before the intermission.
"I had a post, and I set (the defensive back) up and hit it, and Drew Carter threw a perfect ball," Penn said. "It was awesome. It felt amazing. It was surreal."
Tigard took its 10-point lead to halftime, but there seemed to be no letdown after the break — just the opposite.
The Tigers, in the opening possession of the third quarter, steadily moved the ball upfield behind the running of senior Hunter Gilbert and the passing, and running, of Drew Carter. Tigard put together a 78-yard, 16-play drive, which was capped off with a 3-yard touchdown run by senior Josh Burns.
The touchdown, ending a march that took 6:38 off the clock, gave Tigard a 24-7 lead with 5:22 left in the period.
Gilbert, showing his speed and elusiveness, had the final touchdown of the night, running 56 yards to the end zone, upping the margin to 31-7 with 7:06 left to play in the contest.
Soon after, Tigard was celebrating a victory over the defending state champions.
"Of all my life, this has to be No. 1. This is the most fun we've ever had," Andrew Carter said. "This is all practice. This is the hardest I've ever seen a team practice, and I'm just blown away by how hard we played today."
"This is really big for us," Nomani said. "We came out Monday with the mentality that we needed to work our butts off. This meant a lot to us."
"This was great," Hosley said. "It was amazing."
"It was just great," Lenzy said. "We had a great game plan, and it was a great team win altogether. It just all really came together today."
"This was so fun. It's such a great feeling," Goetz said. "We worked hard all summer and all season. We worked so hard this week in practice, and to have this happen is just crazy to us. We're just so proud of ourselves."
For the Tigard defense, senior linebacker Cole Scott, Hosley and senior lineman Brayden Zolkoske each had two quarterback sacks. Goetz and junior Aden Murphy each had one sack. Goetz, Andrew Carter, Gilbert and Nomani each had a tackle for a loss.
"It wasn't really in the game plan, but, when the opportunity came, we took it," Hosley said of the quarterback sacks.
"Andrew Carter, Kamryn Hosley, Bryce Goetz, we all work as a team and make stuff happen," Nomani said.
Gilbert led the offensive attack, rushing for 156 yards on 25 carries. Burns added 44 yards on seven carries and Drew Carter ran for 25 yards on seven carries.
Drew Carter also completed six of 16 pass attempts for 119 yards. Lenzy had three catches for 58 yards and Penn had two catches for 56 yards.
For Lake Oswego, Filkins ran for 33 yards on 10 carries. Woodin completed eight of 20 passes for 153 yards. Williams had three catches for 108 yards and Filkins had three receptions for 18 yards.
For the Laker defense, senior Cody Carlson and senior Hayden Hilliker each had a tackle for a loss.
"I think this loss will humble us, and we're going to get ready to go," Woodin said. "Our line played a great game. The receivers played a good game. Everyone played a good game, but we just have to come out and get better."
"There's so much to learn from this game. I think the coaches can say that, and we can say that as players," Filkins said. "We just have to get better overall. It's something that can motivate us. This whole season, people have been patting us on the back, now we have a chip on our shoulder, and that can be a good thing."
Both teams will be back in action on Friday. Tigard will be home to face Sprague, and Lake Oswego will host Clackamas in non-league games starting at 7 p.m.
Quality local journalism takes time and money, which comes, in part, from paying readers. If you enjoy articles like this one, please consider supporting us.
(It costs just a few cents a day.)